Told by Phumla Dyantyi, a Project Officer for child survival, development and thriving programme
This week, the 10th to 16th February 2020, marks another important event in our health calendar – Pregnancy Awareness Week. Research conversations are emphasising the fact that this is the time when the child’s health is most vulnerable, care and support should be between pregnancy to two years. This is because the first one 1000 days of life of a child is the unique special time that can have a significant influence on how the baby develops, not just now but for his or her whole life.
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) through its Child Survival, Development and Thriving (CSDT) Programme is one of the players in first 1000 days of life of a child space. The Fund’s approach broadly supports initiatives that improve good health outcomes, improve malnutrition, strengthen families, and building community initiatives that are intended to increase quality health services for children.
For pregnancy work, our footprint is in eight provinces, the Fund has partners with locally based organisations. The link is through community health care workers (CHW) / family and community motivator (FCM) who work closely with pregnant women, their families and the community as a whole.
Community health care workers / family and community motivator promote healthy pregnancy through health education and family support. They stress why it is important to maintain a healthy pregnancy and benefits thereof. CHW also promote a healthy home environment, encouraging the whole family to support the pregnancy. This has proven to contribute to the psychological wellbeing of the mother-to-be. They also encourage pregnant women to attend antenatal care, to practice good nutrition and hygiene. The work that these CHW/ FCM undertake in promoting a healthy pregnancy is conducted through various platforms such as home visits, awareness at clinics, community outreach and parental workshops.
Early Learning Resource Unit (ELRU) is one of the partners in the Western Cape Province. The organisation uses the family and community motivator (FCM) approach to safeguard maternal and child health. Their FCMs dedicate time to conduct home visits in order to support and work with the pregnant women in the comfort of their homes. Through their work with the pregnant women, focus is on stimulating activities. They encourage the mother to start talking to the child during pregnancy as a way of connecting and developing a bond between her and the baby even before birth. This contributes positively in the wellbeing of both the mother and the child. FCMs also ensure that the mother is informed about adherence and compliance to immunisation, hygiene practices that maintain and prevent the spread of diseases, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months as well as optimal nutrition during the first 1000 days of a child’s life. The FCMs are currently supporting 514 pregnant women and they have ensured that they adhere to their antenatal care.
The Fund also works with Khayelitsha Community Health Centre, a 24-hour service health care facility, based in the Western Cape Province. The health facility promotes the first 1000 days of a child and encourages parents to start caring for their children before birth. They ensure that pregnant women are up to date with their antenatal care appointments. They conduct roadshows to bring awareness to the community of Khayelitsha on the first 1000 days of a child’s life. They also provide pregnancy education that promote healthy pregnancy. They encourage male participation in starting to care for a child before birth. Through their work, 17887 women have adhered to their antenatal care.
Other responses to healthy pregnancy that the Fund is currently involved in, include:
Maponya and Soweto are synonymous
He stands among great giants and thinkers, guiding stars during the dark days of apartheid, the architects of Soweto’s heartbeat, people determined to make the place created as nothing more than labour reservoirs become the place of intense struggle and great victories. These great giants rose in all sectors and birthed Soweto of my youth.
Civic issues Sofasonke Mpanza; PQ Vundla Social Development: Ellen Khuzwayo a disciplinarian Madikolo Education: Dr Khambule and Dr Matseke, ntate Mathabathe Sports development: Stanley The Sonos (athletics, boxing, soccer medical: Dr Motlana, Dr Mbere, Dr Abu Asvat Business: Makhetha, Ephraim Tshabalala (Eyethu Cinema) of course mme Marina and ntate Maponya Remarkable Women with the likes of Marina Maponya and Sally Motlana, and Ellen Khuzwayo Leaders on the ground who did not speak about the new post-apartheid racial or social category "the poorest of the poor," but used their lives and presence among the people to say, "we are a powerful and capable people."
Their lives and stories should remain an inspiration to future generations and a lesson to today’s generation of leaders. They did not call themselves pompously, "We, the leaders of society" as is now commonly heard, but the people stood in unison and called them “our leaders”.
Their stories covered the political, social and economic life of the vast Soweto township transforming the place named purely as a geographic location into a world recognized place for resistance against oppression and a place for black aspiration. These were the “go to” people of our times
Maponya is an institution and landmark in the township.
(Maponya in the times of the 70s uprising)
The Maponya family, reminds us of the critical importance of family in pursuance of critical ventures. Not only was the family known as a unit (Marina and Richard Maponya), but as a place of refuge for children whose family systems may not have been as strong. Many of my contemporaries especially comrades testify to how the Maponya family gave them sense of family and home, a sense of being loved, listened to, cared for, supported and often offered financial and other resources that they needed for one project or another.
Seth Mazibuko, fellow trialist reminded me that, ntate Maponya, testified for the defence at our trial in Kempton Park in 1978/79 between himself and mama Ellen Khuzwayo. They chastised both judge and prosecution telling them that they (us) are children in the dock who should be at school, and the police who brutalized and killed many should be in the dock. I don’t know if that helped our cause, but certainly helped our spirits.
It was a huge risk to take a stand in defence of young militant students who were on trial for the leadership role they had played in 1976. He (Dr Maponya), in particular, had a lot to lose but he took the risk anyhow. He was and he will remain one of us. Thank you Chichi and your brothers
Much later in life I had the honour of meeting and working with ntate Maponya on a development plan as one of the inaugural trustees of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
Tata Mandela had challenged leaders to establish an institution that would “change the way society treats its children and youth”. Ntate Maponya was one of those leaders who would give of themselves and their resources, without expecting any reward, to ensure that this institution is not only created but that it is sustained (hopefully) into perpetuity.
The establishment of The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund clarified fundamental values that Madiba and Maponya together held as leaders, relating, influencing, organizing, giving, partnerships; and as leaders they understood the use of soft power in rebuilding our institutions and rebuilding the soul of a people faced with destruction for so long.
Towards the end of this natural life, Madiba challenged us with the transformation of child healthcare, one of my first points of call was at ntate Maponya’s house (where I was, as always, warmly received). I did not go to ‘ask for money’ but to seek for his wisdom, guidance and strategic direction. Often I would be accompanied by Irene Menell one of the elders of the Children’s Fund, and I would listen intensely as elders debated the issues. I recall that it is in some of those meetings that the ‘soul’ of the Children’s Hospital was further crystalized. An institution anchored on the fundamental values of family, care, diversity, inclusivity, excellence, knowledge building and transparency. A civil society led institution that would strategically exploit the strengths of both the public and the private centred on the values partnerships.
Ntate Mapnoya remained an astute and dependable elder, actively participating in guiding, and being the beacon of light to the end. We shall miss him, Siyabonga baba.
We thank the family for sharing him with us.
South African entrepreneur and property developer Richard Maponya has died at the age of 99 after a short illness. The Trustees and Staff of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund are truly saddened to learn of the passing of Dr Maponya.
Richard John Pelwana Maponya rose from the impoverished rural areas of Limpopo to become one of the most respected self-made businesspeople in South Africa. Despite the humiliation of apartheid and laws forbidding entrepreneurial spirit amongst black people, he proved to be a visionary with a dream that refused to die. He has become an inspiration and an icon with black entrepreneurs.
The relationship between Dr Maponya and Tata Nelson Mandela is one that dates to many decades. Dr Maponya is also the man who drove Tata Mandela on the historic day he was released from Victor Verster prison in Paarl, Cape Town; and he provided the fleet of vehicles used on that special day.
Until his passing, Dr Maponya has served as a management trustee of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, handpicked by Mr Mandela himself at the inception of the Fund in 1995.
On behalf of the Trustees and Staff at both the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, we salute Richard John Pelwana Maponya as a friend and visionary. His legacy continues to live on through his contribution to South Africa and the work of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
As part of commemorating the 16 days of activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign, The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund facilitated an Intergenerational Dialogue which took place on the 10th of December 2019 at the Fund’s offices. The focus of the dialogue was to engage men and boys and how they can play a role in protecting children and women.
Attendees included amongst others the Bafana-Bafana national coach Mr. Molefi Ntseki, Under 17 boys coach, Mr. Vela Khumalo, the Acting High Commissioner of Canada to South Africa Ms. Pamela Moore, civil society and our partners. Young men and women attending the event pledged their commitment to protecting women and children through various initiatives they are (and will be) implementing in their local communities.
Young Urban Men from Afrika-Tikkun, which is one of the organisations supported by the Fund, believe in changing the way society treats its children and women, one of the young men in the programme was quoted saying, "Men are trash, but we believe trash can be recycled and renewed.”
The Fund’s CEO, Ms. Sibongile Mkhabela stated that; “Women are not the only victims when it comes to Gender Based Violence, but that good men are victims as well because vicious men have the audacity to attack both good men and women with the same brutality.”
“The conversation about Gender Based Violence should not be about men versus women. It should rather be about how good men and women can work together to reconstruct societal values, and hold government accountable on its constitutional obligations” – Ms. Mkhabela concluded.
In her address, the Acting Canadian High Commissioner, Ms. Pamela Moore said that, “Gender Based Violence is a worldwide problem. Canada is no exception, particularly in indigenous communities. When people make disparaging remarks about women, speak out and warn them about dangers of such comments."
The success of protecting and ensuring safety of women and girls rests upon our continued, daily, individual and collective actions to safeguard our society against this cycle of abuse.
The Trustees and Staff of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund are truly saddened to learn of the passing of William S. White - an influential and inspiring leader. Bill White had a long-standing relationship with our organisation that spans more than two decades. Since the inception of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund by Nelson Mandela during his tenure as the first democratically elected President of South Africa, we received unwavering support. Under the headship of Bill White, the Mott Foundation heeded Mr Mandela’s call and fully subscribed to his vision of changing the way society treats its children.
Bill White and the Mott Foundation became President Club members of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and went on to become Lifetime Founding members. They fully supported Nelson Mandela’s vision for our future citizens, particularly assisting in building the capacity of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital. Consequently, under Bill White’s leadership, Mott Foundation granted two million U.S dollars to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund for a permanent Endowment fund to ensure sustainability and that the legacy and vision of its Founder, Nelson Mandela, is secured in perpetuity. We were extremely grateful and humbled by this vital support.
Bill was a great friend of our organisation and created numerous opportunities for us to highlight the important work we do. Whenever he was visiting South Africa, Bill would take every opportunity to get involved with our work on the ground, and his passion was evident in the various after school programs. His continued contribution to the Fund resulted in Mr Mandela personally recognising Bill with an award through the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
On behalf of the Trustees and Staff at both the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and Hospital, we salute Bill White as a friend and visionary. His legacy continues to live on through the strong partnerships he has forged throughout the world - and particularly here in South Africa.
Hamba kahle Bill White – your generosity and inspiration shall be sorely missed.
The annual Nelson Mandela Challenge is one way of honouring the late father of the nation and the first democratic president of South Africa Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (Madiba’s) notion of Changing the Way Society Treats its Children and Youth.
In 2018, South Africa met Paraguay at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban and concluded in a one all draw. In keeping up with the tradition of bringing top sides, the Nelson Mandela Challenge match will this year feature, Mali (the Eagles) and South Africa (Bafana Bafana) will do the honours this year. South African Football Association (SAFA) and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) are celebrating 25 years of partnership through the Nelson Mandela Challenge.
Bafana Bafana will go head to head with the Eagles in the 25th edition of the Nelson Mandela Challenge to be held at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday, 13 October 2019 and kick-off at 15:00.
“From the first game that South Africa played against Zambia at the FNB Stadium in 1994, to the very last one against Paraguay at Moses Mabhida Stadium last year, the Nelson Mandela Challenge has been a 25-year journey that has seen the Fund and SAFA being fellow travellers to raise awareness for the cause of children, bring cheer to the football-loving community and celebrating Madiba’s legacy,” said Ms Sibongile Mkhabela, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
A nation that works, dreams, plays and fills sports fields with cheering fans and shining stars but never forgets to spare a thought for its children, is the one that Madiba established the Fund for. Every edition of the Nelson Mandela Challenge is a reminder that there is no better foundation for any nation than its children. We are deeply honoured that every stakeholder that never tires to make this tournament possible, subscribes to the joy of making children’s life a celebration.
This charitable event ties to the values Madiba lived for and the belief that: "Sport has the power to change the world, and the power to unite people in a way that little else does” – Nelson Mandela
The Fund is thankful for the long standing relationship SAFA and support that contributed to Madiba’s dream to build a hospital for children dedicated to the wellbeing of all children regardless of background – the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital being a reality today.
Child safety and protection is a global challenge. Violence against women and girls takes many forms - physical, sexual, economic, and psychological which in fact all of these are violation of human dignity and human rights and have long-lasting consequences for both the victims and their communities.
Gender based violence and Violence Against Women and Girls have proven to have significant negative impact on the social advancement of women and girl child even on their progress in school. In response to the increasing violence against women and girls the Fund responded to a call, by Comic Relief, on the Sexual Violence in Schools in South Africa (SeVISSA) pilot programme in 2014.
The programme is implemented through a consortium model that consist of four provincial coalitions. The coalitions are located in four provinces namely: Gauteng – Diepsloot; Eastern Cape – Peddie; Limpopo – Madodonga and Tshisaulu; and Western Cape - Worcester, Mamelsbury and Stellenbosch.
Each coalition responded to different drivers of violence against women and girls. In responding to drivers of sexual violence in each province, coalitions implemented various models to pilot for five years.
On 26 September 2019 the Fund will host a SeVISSA Best Practice Market under the theme: Against All Odds, I RISE to showcase the different models used to combat the scourge of violence against women and girls.
Date:26th September 2019
Time:10:00 – 13:00
Venue: Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, 21st Eastwold Way, Saxonwold, Johannesburg
It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our belovedMpho Ingrid Maila. She leaves behind the joy of her heart and her greatest blessing, her son Thuto, Her Mother Rose, brothers Tebogo & Thapelo and her little sister Naledi.
Mpho started her schooling years at Gorogang Primary School and moved on to Laban Motlhabi Comprehensive School where she completed her matric. As an enthusiastic student she participated in various leadership programmes and public speaking events. It was at an event hosted by Youth Connection where she gave a speech that lead her to being selected to be part of The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund youth board called Efeng Bacha.
After completing high school, she remained committed to community and youth development work by working as a ground-breaker for Love Life in 2010 whilst being active within Efeng Bacha. In 2007 Mpho took part in the Violence in Schools Seminar, in 2011 she participated in the Othandweni Children’s home book drive, the Reclaiming our Dignity through Reading Seminar and also in the 2011 Nelson Mandela Children’s Parliament.
She was part of the 100 young people that give back to their communities and was ordained alumni during the Centenary celebration of the late Former President Nelson Mandela in 2018 by The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund at the 2018 Nelson Mandela Youth Summit.
Her love for community development was deeply rooted as she joined an organisation called New Image Rover Crew as a child care-worker in 2014 until March of 2019.
As untimely as her passing was to us all, it is her existence in our lives that we are grateful of more. It is her humbleness and her fighting spirit we will remember the most. It is her infectious laugh and smile that will be embedded in our hearts forever. She was here and although she’s gone, it’s the memories that she shared with us, her family, relatives and friends that will be treasured forever.
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