THEMBA Ncube (54) is often dismissed as a person who spends his time on pool (snooker) tables, endlessly playing the game and betting small amounts just to pass time.
Of course, he is among the pioneers of the game, slowly taking Beitbridge and Zimbabwe by storm.
Ncube is rated an elder who commands respect.
A tall and cheerful person, Ncube, fondly called Gogodera (master) because of his skill on the game, is always around at midweek and weekly pool tournaments, at times being consulted where conflicts arise.
Ncube’s judgement in game disputes is respected and taken for fact and many a time, he is asked to umpire crucial games featuring Beitbridge-based national team players like Polite Manavela.
“He is an elder of the game and we respect his opinion. He knows the rules and has capacity to train. He even manages players at any level,” said Nicholas Muzenda, who is Ncube’s colleague at the Beitbridge Inn Pool Club.
Muzenda said Ncube presents fair judgements and is not a sad loser.
“He knows a variety of sports and is a living library of most sports personalities, soccer teams and football events and a vast range of other games,” he noted.
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In his neighbourhood, the PWD Lines in the HaMbedzi section of Dulivhadzimo, Ncube is known for a totally different role.
He is the hero of the community after he helped to bring water and sewer reticulation by mobilising residents and convincing them to trench, contribute labour and various amounts of cash for a period lasting up to 10 years.
“I see him (Ncube) when I open my tap to fetch water. I see him when I don’t have to use the bush toilet. He is a hero in my life,” a female resident said.
“We lived without water for more than 10 years, almost as a forgotten people. Ncube never got tired and trudged up and down until we got the water. We are now in an urban setting. Slowly but surely, he brought us where we are today,” said one Miriam Moyo.
She said Ncube may be the councillor residents of his area may never have.
“He could be more than that. He has a way he used to convince us, and he would go directly to the Municipality bringing us results other areas may never get. If he calls for a meeting, we do not even think twice,” she said.
Ncube, who owns a house in the area he helped, has retained modesty.
“I started this work with a sitting councillor in 2008 when we were allocated stands. We had no water or sewer. I knocked on every door and it was opened. Credit goes to the community which believed in me,” he said.
“I grew up in Bulawayo, one of Zimbabwe’s cleanest cities then. I was driven by the need to have good sanitation. I mobilised fellow residents and we had to go through our councillor, but a time came when we had to jump that bureaucratic hurdle and go direct.”
He continued: “Many visits to the town clerk’s office saw the tough journey bear fruit. It’s been a tough journey, but worth it and so far so good. At least we have sewer in our area. Any time this year, hopefully we will have roads,” he noted.
Ncube said people should be allocated serviced stands which he thinks should be the norm.
“Our community suffered and went through a painful journey. We will work on roads in the same way we laboured to get water. Homeowners shared the trenching of channels to lay pipes. A willing community can achieve anything,” he said.
Ncube is advocating a police base in his area to ensure police presence.
“If we do not get streetlights, we may require two tower lights to light up our area,” he said.
Beitbridge town clerk Loud Ramakgapola confirmed having regular visits from Ncube and said he was a natural leader who had mobilised his community.
“I have had several interactions with him, and he was championing the rights of his community. We are happy as a local authority having a positive thinking citizenry. He is easy to deal with, and honest in his work,” Ramakgapola said.
Married to Sukuoluhle Moyo, Ncube has two children and has no ambition to join politics despite having been approached several times by different organisations.