Ziyanda photo

My name is Ziyanda Xaso. Ziyanda is a short version of my full name which means growing in numbers in my native dialect of Xhosa spoken in South Africa. The full is Ziyanda Iintombi Zamayalo meaning the girls (Iintombi) of my clan (Amayalo) have increased in numbers because of my birth. The emphasis of the clan rather than my immediate family is due to the fact that I am my parents’ first born but an addition to the many girl children of my clan. Traditionally in my family the first born children are females, this occurs mainly to the males in my family rather than the females who by tradition leave the clan through marriage and have children that are part of her husband’s clan.

Generally most of rural societies in SA are patriarchal, whereby children born in wedlock belong to the clan of their father, and those that are born outside of wedlock become part of their mother’s clan and follow the laws and traditional practises of their respective clans. Part of this tradition is the fact that first born sons are deemed the interim head of the family and take over that position when their father dies. This not the case in my clan the fact that the majority of first born are females, these first born females are treated exactly as the first born males. This is what sets apart my clan from others because the power and decision making is made by both male and female heads.

Read on to learn more about why I volunteer, why I chose Kabissa and my responsibilities at Kabissa.

Also, please help me do my work better by connecting with Kabissa on social networks including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Thanks! 

Why I volunteer

Initially when I was looking volunteering opportunities I stumbled on the UN Online Volunteering page which I had never heard of before and was so excited when I found out about it. I have always wanted to volunteer, to travel to different countries in Africa, learning from them first hand. I wanted the opportunity to learn, develop and apply sustainable and replicable solutions to social issues faced by rural South Africa.


South Africa has a lot of disparities.  The gap between the poor and the rich is as in other countries staggering.  One of SA’s challenges is that in the major cities of SA can be characterised as first world in terms of being democratic and capitalist. Whereas a huge number of the rural communities are third world in terms of theirinfant mortality, economic development, poverty and utilization of its natural resources. The S.A Government is struggling to supply even the basic necessities such as such as food, clothing, shelter, warmth and medical care which are every citizen’s right. This means that there is a massive chasm between the different classes within the economy of South Africa. It is also apparent that the Government is incapable of addressing all these issues by themselves and need the participation of civil organizations to help in dealing with these issues. This is why I volunteered to work with Kabissa.

One of the hot issues at the moment in SA that I am particularly interested in are unemployment and rural development. I think that when you address if rural development is properly addressed this will have by-product effect on unemployment.

Migrant workers are one of SA’s practises that were initiated by the laws of the apartheid government and are still continuing. Under development and unemployment are two of many contributing factors to the migration. People just want an opportunity to put a roof over their heads, food in their bellies, protection of their families, have access to health care professionals, have access to quality education for their kids and have employment that enable them to meet the these. In terms of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs the basic physiological and safety need to been attained before an individual can move on and achieve the rest of the needs; namely love/belonging, esteem and self-actualisation.

The migration of workers causes brain and skills drain in these communities further aggravating the problem. A lot of people aren’t willing to work in the rural area because of lack of facilities. To deal with this the government gave an additional salary incentive for government employees working in rural areas.

Initially I really wanted to volunteer in various parts of Africa; be there and be hands on (still keeping this dream alive). Looking at different organizations I realized that a lot of them require the volunteer to cover their own travel and sometimes living expenses. I realised a lot are more travel agencies that give the traveller an opportunity to out there and make a difference in the world. The concept is great but it was not for me because I would not be able to afford it. So I opted for online volunteering so that I can do my bit, make a change in the world with the tools I have at my disposal.

I want to have a development qualification. Currently I hold a Bachelor of Science degree with majors in Applied Mathematics and Chemistry and about 15 years of experience in the financial services sector. I’m carefully considering my options in this regard as the institutes in SA have limited options with respect to development.

My responsibilities at Kabissa

My current role at Kabissa is that of a Volunteer Social Networks Outreach. My responsibilities include but are not limited to the following: 

  • monitor the various social networks for information and content relevant to Kabissa and once identified post them on our own social network pages.
  • ensure that the authors and publishers of relevant information and content are contacted and invited to to join Kabissa and add their content to Kabissa groups or blogs as appropriate.
  • coordinate the promotion of content to the frontpage of our website and spreading it via social networks, with the participation of the content team
  • coordinate of my duties with those of the marketing team to ensure that Kabissa is correctly represented in social networks. This means making sure that the vision, mission and goals of Kabissa are correctly represented in the Kabissa social network pages.
  • actively participate in content team calls and chats that might have an impact on my role. My participation on these will be on an ad-hoc basis.
  • participate in community call and chats that are relevant to my role and have an impact on it. My participation on these will be on an ad-hoc basis.
  • keep the Executive Director and teams in the loop and informed of any social network issues and or developments.
  • maintain the Social Networks Outreach section of the Kabissa Operating Procedures and I ensure that it is up to date in terms of procedures and templates. 

Why I volunteer for Kabissa

I’ve joined Kabissa over other organizations because of how organized and systematic they are in terms of their work, administration and volunteer placement. I like the fact that I had to go through an interview process to ensure that I would be able to do the work they need to be done. At the moment I have been working with them for almost a month now and so far so good. I really enjoy what I’m doing here because social networks are my thing. In my personal capacity I’m registered to most of the major social networks. I’m one of those people who enjoy interacting with people from different cultures and backgrounds. It’s great that I’m able to use my hobby to help approximately 1 600 organization registered with Kabissa and many people that these organizations help. I think that that’s pretty amazing!

What I’ve learnt so far? There are many way in which you can have a positive impact on social issues in your neighbourhood and the world. Sometimes you might just need a nudge in the right direct, a little push to show you that you’re on the right path, changing your mind-set when it seems like all is lost and just simply think out of the box when you have no clue where and how to start!

My request to you: Join Kabissa on Social Networks

Please help me succeed in my goals at Kabissa by connecting with Kabissa on the Social Networks you are using. 

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