On March 8, 2018, hundreds of Nomathamsanqa residents gathered to open the brand new Universal Promise Academic Centre at Vusumzi Primary School. The idea for the new facility was born after UP founder Martha T. Cummings had a fortuitous encounter with head waiter Moses Mzolisi Nqontsha in 2008. Ten years later, after scores of other UP-funded improvements to VPS, the building was completed and has taken its place as the "talk of the township." The center will house a school library, a science laboratory, a music classroom, an arts studio, and a main, central, open-air space that will accommodate dining, after-school tutoring, meetings, and performing arts.
At the handover ceremony, Universal Promise announced the naming of the central hall after Nqontsha. As Cummings said, "All discussion surrounding the transformation of Vusumzi Primary School must start with Mr. Moses Mzolisi Nqontsha," who accompanied her in 2008 to the heart of Nomathamsanqa. At the time, "Vusumzi School was a glaring reflection of the aftermath of apartheid, and Moses’ shame that day was apparent, yet he remained dignified.
"Despite all the years of waiting, the unrealized promises, the systemic subordination that still affects too many children’s pursuit of fairness, Moses was hopeful. He remained a man who wanted one thing: to free himself and others from the aftershock of apartheid so that his children would earn the kind of education that would allow them to expect better and to demand more."
The Port Elizabeth Herald picked up on the story and arrived to capture the rare relationship between Nqontsha and Cummings and the fulfillment of a promise to students, educators, and residents of Nomathamsanqa. Cummings said of the ceremonial opening, "Sometimes you just know you’re living an epic moment when you’re in the midst of it. Today was one of those days."
Mr. Nqontsha wrote, "Thank you for making me so happy. It was the greatest time ever in my life. I will never forget this. Ever." Universal Promise will remain forever grateful to Moses Nqontsha for agreeing to accompany us that fateful day. You just never know what will come of saying yes.