As KwaZulu-Natal became a battleground for political parties in the hotly contested 2024 elections with the ANC, EFF and IFP launching their manifestos at Moses Mabhida Stadium, this gave an opportunity to a young woman dubbed “Noma-Rally” to accomplish her mission of embracing all the parties.  

Thembeka Dliwako, a student from Mnambithi TVET college in Ladysmith, has dominated social media trends for owing no loyalty to any party. She attended the various party manifesto launches at Moses Mabhida Stadium wearing branded T-shirts and eager to hear what the political leaders had to say. 

Speaking about her unconventional political manifesto review strategy, she said: “I wanted to listen to all the manifestos presented before making a decision.”

The bubbly student said she was criticised by some students, who are loyal party members, at her college for her different perspective on politics. 

“I am balancing things out. I have not chosen a party I will vote for. I am going to sit down and think about that,” Dliwako said. 

She said though she received love and support from people on social media, there were people who made “emotionally damaging” remarks. 

“I did a live video on Facebook and some people mocked me, saying ‘you are ugly, you did not cut your hair.’ This means if a person were to live with you guys, they would suffer emotional damage.” 

Dliwako has also been in the spotlight with people constantly questioning whether she was related to popular maskandi singer Khuzani Mpungose because they look alike. She has chosen to embrace the comparison and no longer gets offended when people ask if he is her father.

At the weekend, she had a chance to meet Mpungose after radio presenter Penny Ntuli, who was hosting the IFP manifesto launch, pulled out all the stops.

“I don’t know how to thank Penny Ntuli. Thank you so much. The compassion you have shown me, may you also show to others. May God expand your blessings,” Dliwako said.

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