Main content

A Growing Thing

Jabulile Ndaba is training to become a leader of a women’s project in a township near Johannesburg, South Africa. The project, Kopanang, helps women earn money through sewing and embroidery — and also enables Jabulile to learn office management skills.

Jabulile, a tall black woman with a contagious sense of humor, grew up under apartheid. Officially revoked 24 years ago, segregation in South Africa is more subtle and dangerous now because it has no name. Still today, teenage pregnancies, drug-addiction and massive unemployment in the township create never-ending crises. Jabulile is the sole provider for her large family. Her husband drinks away his earnings at the local bar. When Jabulile discovers that their teenage son has started smoking the highly addictive street drug “nyaope,” she determines to do whatever it takes to help him quit.