This week, we introduce you to Khondzi, one of our Peer Educators in our Southern Africa Region.

Khondzi Jane Nkhata was born in Phola Trust in the province of Mpumalanga, South Africa. Raised with four other siblings, she left school after finishing 10th Grade to pursue an exciting career in healthcare.

Her résumé says it all; since her first job at the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa back in 1998, Khondzi kept on following her passion for peer education by working for NSEWA (our truck driver health safety programme), before finally landing another Peer Educator position at one of our Blue Boxes in Ngodwana, South Africa. Through the years, she has built up an extensive knowledge about HIV and other STIs, and now excels at giving accessible and approachable health information to communities.

As Khondzi shared, “Most of our clients engage in substance abuse, unsafe sexual practices and unhealthy life styles” which makes her job both essential in preventing the spread of diseases and extremely complicated, considering that her clients have very little knowledge about her field and her teachings. Indeed, once while on duty, some of her clients having never heard of peer education, mistook her for a sex worker.

The support provided by her team and the warm encouragement of her clients, keep Khondzi above water and help her to maintain focus and motivation in her work even when things are getting heavier.

Defined as good, caring and loving by her friends, Khondzi is also an accomplished businesswoman and spends most of her spare time out of the office selling clothes and perfumes.

When asked about the recognition of North Star’ work among hard-to-reach populations, she expressed a wish that people would know more about how hardworking, committed and friendly North Star’s staff can be.

Quick quiz: which of North Star’s PIQuE core values (People, Integrity, Quality, Entrepreneurial Spirit) do you most identify with, and why?

“Quality, because I provide my clients with the best service and ensure that they are always satisfied with the services rendered.”

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Photography | David Childley, Gideon Mendel