Meeting and sharing with "testimonials" of SOS Children's Villages Program Impact

October 2017: Stango & Nongoma

British Ncube is from Zimbabwe and he grew up in SOS Children's Village Bulawayo, one of the three SOS Children's Villages in Zimbabwe. He is a musician with stage name Stango, and, one can rightly say, "a living testimony of SOS Children's Villages programme impact"!
photo: © SOS archive
Through October this year, Stango and his band were on a performance tour in Slovakia, Austria and German. And it was during this performance tour that Stango is invited to the SOS Children's Villages Hermann Gmeiner Academy in Innsbruck for a round of storytelling.


Excerpts from his narrated experiences

On the importance of birth certificate for a child: As a little child growing up, because he was a bit fairer in complexion than all the other children around him, he was nicknamed British. Till his parents passed away, he had not been going to school. And when he came to SOS Children's Villages, and it was time to go to school and also procure a birth certificate, he knew of no other name than the one by which he is called and that he gave as his name, British - Read more

On the joy of having one's own bed: This was among the first excitements he had when he came into the SOS Village. Prior to this time, he had been sharing a room and a bed with some of his siblings. In the SOS Village, his SOS mother showed him a bed and a wardrobe, saying, these are yours. And he asked: for me alone? Yes for you alone his SOS mother answered. My joy was great, Stango said. His three siblings, a brother and two sisters with whom he came into the Village, all had the same happy welcome.

On the importance of bonding relationship: He loves his SOS Mother and shares lasting and effective relationship with her till date. Asked about the significant characteristic of his SOS Mother, Stango said: she has the heart. She is patient. Stango came to the her house, having no single idea of school and what it involves, no inkling of the alphabets and numbers. Each day, after school, his SOS mother had the heart and patience to coach and teach him the alphabets and letters. She never for once, lost her temper or patience.
On a striking memorable experience he had in SOS Children's Village: It was sometime in 1998 or 1999 when Mr Richard Pichler visited SOS Children's Village, Bulawayo. That visit marked the beginning of his music career. Mr Pichler's visit was a big event for the children and the entire Village. Different performances were organised and he, Stango, was one of those selected to play music. He was very happy and took the occasion very seriously. He wrote a poem and with his friend, rehearsed it for performance.  After his performance, both Mr Pichler and people from the Village were excited and acknowledged him as a talented musician. From then on, he never gave up again on his eagerness to become a musician. Through Mr Pichler's visit, he got the recognition he had always wanted.

On challenging times: Despite his enthusiasm for and talent in music, SOS Children's Village never wanted him to purse that carrier. I was told to: "Either go to school, purse academic life and be sponsored or go away with my music and will not be sponsored". So it became for him a matter of choice. Following the call of his heart, he decided for music.

photo: © SOS archive
On dreams come true: The poem Stango composed, rehearsed and performed during Mr Pichler's visit in the Village, became the cornerstone of his success today. It is all about dream, (self-) motivation, self-confidence and trust in life. It is the number one song on his first album: Thatha. It is the centre of his music tour through Austria and Germany. His wife and band partner, Nongoma shares this view.

For her, Stango is her own dreams come true. He taught her to play the Mbira and today, she is with him as a passionate musician on tour and has produced the first album with him. "And with our six year old son, we are a happy family", Nongoma says. Moreover, she, Nongoma benefits from what she calls, "his SOS-Culture". According to her, this consists of "strong self-motivation, a mind-set of determination in life and solidarity among themselves". This "SOS-Culture" in her eyes, is in certain aspects, different from what she knows as a person who grew up in her own biological family.

On what it means to finally leave the SOS Village: With twenty four years, "I left the SOS Village and facing the world, it felt like you facing the whole world all alone", Stango said. It was hard and at the same time, a moment to begin building up new relationships.

On his relationship to his SOS Village: the relationship is strong till today. He, his wife and son go there when they have need, seek for advice, and participate in ceremonies. He gives the children there music workshop etc.

photo: © SOS archive
On his re-integration in the community: today, he lives with his wife and child in the town and his carrier is successful. He is seeing brighter future and he can live from his music. He is happily, self-sustaining and independent.