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An introduction by our President.

Sukoluhle is a Ndebele/Zulu name meaning ‘Good day’. I was born at Insiza Rural District, in Southern Matabeland, Zimbabwe (which was Rhodesia). I grew up in poverty, in the village and the conditions were poor especially for black people, during white rule; Ian Smith was the Prime minister of Rhodesia. From 1962 to 1968 I attended Lubuze Primary School at the village; travelling 7 kilometres to school and back.

I would be tired, thirsty and hungry, as there were no school dinners; and nothing has changed even now. After school, I would go for miles to fetch water, from the well, which was often dry, and I would wait till sunset before I could fill the 5 litres of water which I carried on my head. There was no electricity in the village, the nearest hospital is 30 kilometres away, very little has changed.

From 1969 to 1973 I lived with my father in Bulawayo, the second biggest city in Zimbabwe. At the time it was still Rhodesia, and there was white minority rule. Racism and segregation were rife, as black citizens we were excluded from many public places. From 1975 to 1980 I became active in politics while I was in high school. I left the country to join the Liberation Struggle and I lived as a refugee in Zambia. Life was tough and it was not safe; Ian Smith was bombing the refugee camps. I was fortunate to receive a scholarship through International Labour Org, ILO to study Trade Unionism in Bulgaria. In 1980 I returned to Zimbabwe-Rhodesia for the elections and Mugabe became president of Zimbabwe.

In 1998 I moved to the United Kingdom to study and better myself. I have a degree in Social Work from the University of East Anglia. I am employed by Suffolk County Council in Adult Social Work Services
I am the founder member of ‘Phumuza – Share the Load’, which is a Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO). Phumuza is registered in Zimbabwe and it concentrates its charitable work at Insiza District in Matabeleland South in my village. The charity is supporting disadvantaged children and orphans of HIV/AIDS victims in Zimbabwe with educational needs. Two students at Lubuze High School have received the Dictionaries for Life donated by the Club to support their education.

I would like to thank the Club members, who have been kind enough to elect me to the position of President of the Rotary Club of Southwold and District. It is 6 years since Cathy Ryan invited me to the Club and she asked if I would be interested in joining Rotary. When I joined the Club, let me say, straight away everyone made me feel welcome. Having been a member of the Club for some time now, I have realised that if we are not having fellowship and “fun” to enjoy our Rotary we could soon lose the appetite for the Service. It is also important to remember the Rotary motto, ’Service before Self’. ‘UBUNTU’: in Zulu term meaning “humanity towards others”. There are projects closer to my heart and one of my chosen charities is Scotty’s Little Soldiers. The charity provides relief from the effects of bereavement on children and young people who have suffered the loss of a parent serving with the British Armed forces and ‘Phumuza – Share the Load’.

On 20th June this year, I was proud to present a certificate, 30 Years of Membership to Tony Wiggins, many congratulations to Tony. We look forward to an exciting year ahead when the Club celebrates its 60th Charter Night on 7th March 2020.
Finally, I would like to say thank you – SIYABONGA to the Club members for all the marvellous support I know they will give me over the next 12 months. And I would like to thank my daughter Amanda Nkobi for her support.

Best wishes
Suku

Sukoluhle Bailey. President 2019-2020

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