‘Charity begins at home’

Retired Springbok rugby twins Akona and Odwa Ndungane have recently joined the increasing list of local stars doing their bit during the COVID-19 pandemic. The twins, who played provincial rugby for the Blue Bulls and the Cell C Sharks respectively, bought food for more than 65 families.  These families reside in their home village of Gxulu in the Eastern Cape.

The Ndungane Twins Foundation, in partnership with Hollywoodbets, worked to deliver groceries to the village on Monday, 20 April 2020. The food parcels were lovingly distributed by the twins’ widowed mother, Sheila Ndungane. Sheila is extremely proud of her sons, stating that ‘charity begins at home’ for them.

She continued that the residents of the village are like family to her twins and reiterated that they are aware that some are in greater need of assistance, especially with the additional pressures added by the COVID-19 lockdown.

They are part of our extended family

Odwa, who resides in Durban with his wife Kgomotso and their children, was quoted as saying: “We decided to share what we have with those who are more needy and vulnerable than us. We wondered how they were coping with this situation, where it is difficult to find even odd jobs. We are proud of this community and we always cry with them when things are bad and laugh and rejoice with them when things are good. They are part of our extended family.”

Among the beneficiaries were 59-year-old Nobuntu Nongqika who is an unemployed mother of three who has been without ‘piece jobs’ since lockdown started. For Mlungiseleli Bathini, a 48-year-old widower and father of seven, the food parcel was a nothing short of a life-saver.

The twins undoubtedly got their rugby talents from their late father, Zingisa Ndungane who played as a utility back for the Wallabies Rugby Club from the 70s. until he finally hung up his boots in 1995. When he passed in 2014, Zingisa was the vice-president of the club which was the first of its kind found in the then Transkei. Since retiring from rugby in 2015 and 2017, Akona and Odwa have also been actively giving back to the game by coaching young players.

Apart from helping to feed the Gxulu community, the twins’ foundation also continuously strives to create opportunities for youngsters from some of South Africa’s most disadvantaged communities. 

Feature image courtesy of Steve Haag


Compiled by: Justine Bishop