Lunga ‘Rhino’ Nqini was recently named SSA’s “My Scouting Hero 2016”. We spoke to the Troop Scouter of the Community Church Scout Group from the Amathole Central District in the Eastern Cape South Region about his Scouting journey and what inspires him to give back to others.
SSA: When did you join Scouting and why?
Lunga: I joined when I was still very young. My mother was a domestic worker and I used to go with the children she was looking after. I became interested in Scouts because of those boys and so in 1979 I joined the 2nd KWT Scout Group and have been enjoying the outdoors ever since. In 1981 I joined 1st Zwelitsha Scout Group.
SSA: You are currently the Troop Scouter of the Community Church Scout Group. Why did you take on this role?
Lunga: After I was injured in 1995 and took my last hike in my wheelchair over the gruesome Amatola Hiking Trail, I did not see my role. I drifted away from Scouting. After my Salvation Jesus ignited the flame of Scouting in my heart (a scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties) and I saw a need for Scouting. I realised that Community church children needed something to keep them busy. My elder-ship agreed that we should start a Group to develop the young people in all four spheres of life. I prayed that God would give me the wisdom to assist these children. Since Community church is a church with a heart for its community, I revived the Scouting skills amidst youth and young children – not only those at the church but also those in the community. Since then God has walked with me as their leader and we are just on fire and the children love it!
I wish all the young people (youth) could have that sense of belonging and values of Scouting in their hearts. I wish and hope that they can be selfless and be better with a high self-esteem and Character. Although I cannot rewind and make up for all the lost time, by the grace of God I would like to see our Group grow and make a positive change in the entire community, province and nationally.
SSA: Can you share some of your favourite memories with us?
Lunga: Yho I have so many memories! Some of my favorite include a survival hike in a farm, sleeping on the cliff during a very cold winter, leading our Ciskei Group to a Jamboree in Maritzburg on the banks of Lake Midmar and I enjoy every moment with my Scouts.
SSA: What is it about Scouting that is so special for you as an adult?
Lunga: There are values that you learn which build you up and stay with you as you grow up. I am a person full of respect, love and integrity because of Scouting. I really do not know but Scouting is in me, I live and breathe Scouting all the way. Although I cannot walk anymore, I still love and enjoy the outdoors. The Scouting Method paves the way our young people think and do things. Since becoming an adult leader I have learned a lot from these young lads. We are totally different, but Scouting integrates us and we have become one people with one common goal: the progress of the child/youth.
SSA: What is the nicest thing a Scout has ever said to you?
Lunga: “Thank you Rhino for camping with us. I want to be like you one day”.
SSA: Why do you think Scouting is so important for the children and youth in your community?
Lunga: In order to build them up to be responsible people. To build their character and train them in values so that they grow with them and apply them in their lives. To develop them holistically, for example spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally and socially. Scouting molds and develops the mind of a young person. It encourages these young lads to live by our promise and laws. It helps in raising committed youth with caring hearts and better character.
SSA: What are the most important values you hope your Scouts will carry with them for the rest of their lives?
Lunga: Respect, honesty, loyalty obedience, etc… I hope they portrait a better image about scouting and care for other people and live by our promise and law. Respect for the community and nation. Respect of other people’s property .
SSA: Lunga you are in a wheel chair yet live a very adventurous and outdoor life with your Scouts. What would you say to children and youth who face challenges and see them as boundaries they can’t overcome?
Lunga: Being in a wheelchair is not a limitation not to do something, but is an opportunity to do even greater things. Challenges will come but the important thing is the way you solve them because we need to see them as a step forward. So being in the wheelchair is not the end of the world. One can do a lot of things or even better things than other people. All it takes is determination and perseverance. Only God can give me this wisdom, strength, courage and helped me to be where I am today and has chosen good friends. Have a healthy prayer life, believe in yourself and set up positive goals. Do not let your temporal circumstances hide your talent. There are no barriers if everything you do, you do with passion and love. I always say everything happens for a reason.
SSA: You were nominated by a few people as being “their Scouting Hero”. How does this make you feel?
Lunga: Yho I am just surprised by this. I never thought I can be a Hero I was just doing Scouting and trying to transfer my Scout skills to younger people. This humbles me so much because I realise that there are people who are watching what we are doing. I thank God for his mercy and faithfulness because I would not have made it so far if it was not by God’s grace. I would also like to say thank you to everyone who has seen potential in me. If it was not for them I would not have been selected.
SSA: We are currently running and adult recruitment campaign. Often adults say they have no time to volunteer. How do you combine family life with work and Scouting?
Lunga: Family is very important and comes first, but the beauty of my involvement in Scouting is that my wife and my kids are also involved. Every time I go to a camp my wife is next to me. She is really my helper and a pillar of my strength. When you do something with passion and have a supporting wife, then all you do, you do as a family.
SSA: Why should people join Scouting as an adult leader?
Lunga: To all the adults kindly join us to empower our kids and grandkids and build better leaders to lead our country. . Scouting is fun and a beautiful school for children. It is good therapy for families and a building block for our nation!