Sister Cecilia Ntsolo

Director Ikhwezi Lokusa Rehabilitation and Development Society

Director Ikhwezi Lokusa Rehabilitation and Development Society

“Some say that often people see strengths in us that we ourselves are unaware of”. This statement from Sister Cecilia Ntsolo was made as she described her journey of becoming the current director of Ikhwezi Lokusa Rehabilitation and Development Society (ILRDS).

Sister is South African, born and raised in Matatiele, Eastern Cape under the shadow of the Drakensberg Mountain Range near the border of Lesotho. Just over 20 years ago, she arrived at the Sister of the Precious Blood convent and began to volunteer in the pottery training area of ILRDS, and then moved to crafts where she taught for years. While ILRDS was under the management of Sister Gabriel, who served as the director from 2005 – 2012, Sister Cecilia was asked to be the assistant to her and to train as the next manager. With an impish smile when recounting the story, Sister said, “I know that I took a vow of obedience, but I told them no!” She was certain she did not have the skills to tackle the position.

Those around Sister Cecilia had a different view of her abilities, however, and asked her again to enter management training under Sister Corda during her time as the director from 2013 to 2019. While still maintaining that she was unconfident in being able to step up to the position, Sister Cecilia did agree to go to a year of training at a university in Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha) to gain managerial education. Upon returning to Mthatha in mid 2019, the training and transfer of leadership under Sister Corda faced many challenges. Then, in March of 2020 everything shut down due to the pandemic. Tragically, Sister Corda was one of 6 nuns at the convent who succumbed to a Covid 19 outbreak in June of 2020. Sister Cecilia was suddenly thrust into the many tasks that needed to be done to keep Ikhwezi Lokusa Rehabilitation and Development Society safe and viable.

Since becoming the director, Sister Cecilia has become more open to seeing her unique gifts that others saw long ago, and is living into the role with grace and humility. Being a local South African with life experience from a small village, provides Sister with a special connection with staff and trainees. Speaking both Sesotho and isiXhosa opens up strong communication with trainees and their families. Her passion for serving the young adults who come to the Rehabilitation and Development Society is infectious as she declares, “The progress and welfare of the trainees is our top priority!”

The board members of SMC are so grateful for Sister Cecilia’s leadership!