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The security guard who became a legal eagle Determination and a passion for law saw Nokulunga succeed NONDUMISO MBUYAZI


S A YOUNG girl Nokulunga Ndlovu knew she wanted to become a lawyer after writing her matric examinations. However, because of financial constraints, the 43-year-old Amanzimtoti woman had to settle for taking up a job as a security guard at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. “I was grateful to have a job and I did it to the best of my ability, but I still had a passion for law,” she said. Although it took her more than a decade, Ndlovu said her dream to one day attain a law degree did not die and it finally became real last week when she graduated from the university with a law diploma, majoring in forensic investigation and criminal justice. “I’ve always been fascinated by law,” said the mother of two boys, who now has three different qualifications under her belt. Speaking about her earliest memories at the university, an emotional Ndlovu – who works for the university’s risk management service department – said she started her career as a security guard in the early 1990s after completing her matric. While she passed her matric with “flying colours” Ndlovu said her family did not have the finances for her to further her studies. She was the second eldest of six children. “My family just did not have the money to put me through university as my older sister was already studying at the time,” she said, speaking about her sister, Snegugu Duma, who is a professor at the University of Cape Town. After several years of working as a security guard at UKZN’s library, Ndlovu said her long-time dream was rekindled when she saw students studying at the library. She knew she had to pursue her goal and started reading books from the library. “I eventually approached the university asking them if I could

study part-time,” she recalled, laughing. After seeing her matric results, the university agreed to pay for her studies and she began studying part time from 6pm to 8pm every day. Ndlovu obtained her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Public Administration degrees simultaneously and was subsequently employed by the university. Although she had the two qualifications, Ndlovu said she still yearned for the law degree and enrolled for a diploma. “Law has always been my first love,” she said. After working as a security guard for several years, the self-confessed bookworm said she started taking an interest in the profession, prompting her to enrol for a national diploma in security and risk management through Unisa. She will graduate in July. Her success, she said, did not come easy as she had to juggle work, family life and her studies. “Even though it was tough working during the day, attending evening classes, going to Amanzimtoti after classes and arriving home late at night, I never gave up,” she said. Her family, especially her husband, Mbongeni, a teacher whom she met at the university, had kept her motivated throughout her journey. “Most of my fondest memories are at the university. Not only did I get awarded this rare opportunity to further my studies but I met my husband there,” she said with a mischievous giggle. On her future plans, Ndlovu said she now wanted to study towards her doctorate. To motivate her, Ndlovu’s sister, Duma, left her red doctorate gown in her wardrobe. “It is a daily reminder and inspiration. I know that I will soon also have my own red gown,” she said, adding that through hard work, passion and determination, dreams can come true. “Don’t let your circumstances, background or financial status stand in the way of your dreams or determine your future,” she said.

LAW LADY: Nokulunga Ndlovu, a former security guard at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, has graduated from the university with a law diploma. The 43-year-old mother of two boys has three qualifications under her belt and is proof that through hard work, passion and determination, dreams can come true.

Mesh frame keeps wayward monkeys at bay ARTHI SANPATH THEY come in through the narrow burglar guards. They use nearby trees to access windows on the first floor. And they’ve raided the vegetable gardens. Westville resident Peter Ring, 83, said it was not burglars who have infiltrated his home and caused such mayhem, but monkeys that regularly invade his yard and home, causing expensive destruction. “I have had enough of the monkeys coming into the yard and destroying everything I have inside and outside my home, and I have now had to devise a system to stop them from, at the very least, entering my home,” said Ring, a retired

electronic engineering lecturer. Ring has made a specially designed frame that sits flush against his window, and which incorporates a fly screen and chicken mesh wire. This frame contraption is latched to the inside of his windows and doors. He has been having monkey problems since he moved into the area, situated near a nature reserve, in 2005. “They come in troops of up to 13 with a strong male, and kept coming into the house. When I made the first design they quickly squashed their way through, so I made these sturdier frames, and for now they have deterred the animals from coming inside,” said Ring.

He has had to cut down all his pawpaw trees, is not able to grow cherry tomatoes anymore and cannot attract birds to his home as the monkeys broke seven bird feeders by jumping on to them. “They also broke my late wife’s Swarovski crystal ornaments bought from Europe and valued at about R24 000, and they broke one of a pair of genuine Dutch Gouda vases valued at R14 000 when they dashed inside from the dining room window,” he said. Ring said that part of the problem was that people were feeding monkeys and attracting them to the suburbs. “While people may enjoy feeding the animals, they do cause problems. However, they have been

given instincts to enable them to forage for themselves,” he said. Steve Smit, from Monkey Helpline, said shooting monkeys was illegal, and people needed to know that there were other very successful methods to deter monkeys from entering homes. “Keeping fruit and other food concealed when monkeys are about and keeping doors and windows shut are some of the ways to stop monkeys from entering the house,” said Smit. He said using mesh or insectproof screens were also good. “Many companies have started doing this… so there is no need to take any malicious action against monkeys,” said Smit.

ENOUGH!: Westville resident Peter Ring has had his yard and home invaded several times a day, every day, by vervet monkeys. PICTURE: LAUREN RAWLINS

THE INDEPENDENT on Saturday 27 April 2013

Two free-spirited cartoonists hit on a novel ‘free’ idea SIHLE MTHEMBU THE CONCEPT is simple. Take a poster for a local pub event and tell everyone there will be free beer. Only there isn’t free beer. Not in the actual sense, because Free Beer is a comic. This was the inside joke that first brought Alistair Laird and Warren Raysdorf notoriety in the Durban cultural scene as something of a pair of subversive cartoonists. Speaking about how Free Beer was founded, 28-year-old Raysdorf notes that it was a casual joke between himself and collaborator Laird. “Free Beer started out as a joke and was created by myself along with Creepy Steve and Alastair. We haven’t really discussed who actually came up with the idea but I think it was me,” said Raysdorf. “Tommy Guerrero, a member of the former San Francisco skate punk band ‘Free Beer’, would play a show and have their names on the poster attracting hundreds of people. This was brought up in casual conversation and about a week later we were plotting to have ‘Free Beer’ at The Winston Pub. But this time it would not be a band but rather a comic.” Although Laird, who has been making comics since he was three, agrees that the cartoon industry is on a rapid decline, mainly because of digital pressures, he still believes that there is room for this sort of outlandish and humorous art. “You can do things with comics you can’t do on TV or just in a regular novel. They’re very what-you-see-iswhat-you-get,” said Laird. “The artist’s hand is recognisable. The type of stuff where you notice that there is a conscious individual illustration style of one’s own is, to me the best. It’s like handwriting, or a fingerprint and is unique.” What makes Free Beer different from other comics is that it focuses on the lives, attitudes and mannerisms of some of Durban’s best young artists from film-maker Similo Gobingca to regular bands from the Winston pub to the now defunct Unit 11. Free Beer has also opened up its submissions to younger cartoonists wanting to get into the business as well as collaborating with international cartoonists. Speaking about why this is an important part of the publication, Raysdorf acknowledges that this is, in part, their way of documenting the often slow arts scene in Durban. “We have so much potential here in Durban yet we prefer to only take part in projects only if they are already cool or if there is some sort of financial gain. I wish there was more going on in this town. I’m bored. There are not enough people supporting the art community in Durban and making things happen,” he said. Already these two young guys have had their work published in Mahala magazine as well as various online and commercial platforms. Speaking about what is needed to be a sharp cartoonist, Laird says that it is important to keep practising every day. “I spend every waking hour of the week doing comics so that I’m constantly flooding timelines with new good stuff,” he said. “And it warms my heart to be supported doing the thing I love most. People in their mid-twenties who haven’t

FREE-DOM: Warren Raysdorf said part of Free Beer’s ethos was about documenting the lives of Durban artists.

JOKES ASIDE: Alastair Laird said that although comics were not as popular as they once were, they still had a role to play as a form of entertainment.

FRONTING: The cover for Free Beer’s sixth issue, above, and second issue, below right.

moved out of their parents’ homes enjoy their comics,” he said. “These people use this little world as an escape. Anyone with an understanding of satire, humour and its much-needed role in the big, bad world of today can appreciate them,” he said.