LETTER OF CONDOLENCES FROM THE NELSON MANDELA CHILDREN’S FUND AND NELSON MANDELA CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
Dear Tutu Family,
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, Management and Staff at Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund), and its flagship project, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, we would like to express our deepest condolences, on the passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu.
When the news of his passing reached us, our hearts, along with those of the South African people and the global community, were ladened with an overwhelming sense of loss, that only a giant such as Archbishop, could evoke.
We remember the fondness with which our founder, and at the time, President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Nelson Mandela, spoke of the Archbishop at a Thanksgiving ceremony held in his honour on 23 June 1996. In his speech, President Mandela was quoted saying of the Archbishop, “He is renowned for selfless commitment to the poor, the oppressed and downtrodden. With his colleagues, he remained an effective voice of the people of South Africa when so many of their leaders were imprisoned, exiled, banned and restricted. Desmond Tutu is esteemed the world over for his commitment to justice and peace everywhere.”
It is that commitment, which cemented the Archbishop as a significant voice in the fight against apartheid, as well as a champion against injustice and inequality, in the newly democratic South Africa.
A close ally to President Mandela, the Archbishop shared Mr Mandela’s passion for a just society for our children, supporting Mandela’s dream of building a dedicated hospital for children stating, “For years, Nelson Mandela has dreamt of building a hospital dedicated to delivering world-class treatment to our children. Like Madiba, I believe our children deserve the best medical care possible.”
The Archbishop would become patron of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) Trust, which led the campaign to build the state-of-the-art facility based in Parktown, Gauteng. Next year, the hospital will celebrate five years of operations and serving thousands of destitute children in need of specialist healthcare.
Rare are leaders like the Archbishop, whose moral standing inspired nations and right-based movements without fear or favour. So unique was his hope in times of adversity, that it remained unshaken, never sacrificing truth and a stern approach to injustice. So deep were his tears, his empathy watered barren lands where hope and reconciliation could finally grow. So great was his smile, that even now, in this dark hour, it comforts all of us who feel an inextricable loss in the time of his absence.
Our nation and the global community at large will forever remain indebted to the Archbishop’s life of service, his selflessness at great personal risk and the moral compass he lent to humanity in navigating a more just world.
May his soul rest in eternal peace.
It is with deep sorrow to receive the news of the passing of Mr Franklin Thomas. From the Board of Trustees, Management, and Staff of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund), may you receive our heartfelt condolences.
Mr Thomas has been a beacon of true servant leadership in this world. Through his work as President and CEO of the Ford Foundation, Mr Franklin committed to advancing the work of Mr Mandela’s children’s legacy projects as a donor and advocate.
Through the years, the Ford Foundation supported the strategic work of the Fund which includes poverty alleviation, promoting the safety of children as well as their health and survival in the early development of their lives.
Furthermore, the Ford Foundation remains a major donor of Mandela’s dream for a dedicated paediatric facility, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) based in Johannesburg, South Africa. NMCH which will be celebrating five years of operations next year, providing services to critically-ill children and we owe our thanks to the support of partners like Mr Thomas and the Ford Foundation who have made this possible.
Mr Thomas’s relationship with Mr Mandela remains etched in our memory and his impact and influence continues to reverberate in our work across our country and region.
We are truly grateful and honoured to have had the opportunity to work, engage, and love Mr Franklin. Thank you to the Thomas family and Ford Foundation for sharing him with us. You remain in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult period.
May his spirit rest in peace.
Child Survival, Development & Thriving Programamme has teamed up with the Centre for Community Justice & Development (CCJD) in a joint nutrition project.
The project is focused on integrating households into production of nutritious food crops and developing sustainable diets aimed at improving nutrition status in children of under the age of five, pregnant women and vulnerable women of reproductive age focusing on the First 1000 Most Critical Days in child’s life.
The lockdowns due to disruptive nature of Covid-19 led to increased unemployment, household food insecurity and limited access to nutritious diets. In addition, family incomes are not enough to afford expensive refined nutritious products on the markets. During the lockdown last year, CCJD staff received hundreds of requests for food parcels from local residents. When distributing food parcels and handing them out, they visited people’s homes and were distressed to see the extent of food shortages and lack of nutritious porridge/food for children. In response, CCJD employed an expert with a PhD in food and agriculture to develop strategies for sustainable food production and diets at household level.
The nutrition project is aligned to one of NMCF’s health programme - Child Survival, Development and Thriving (CSDT) which support pregnant women and children under the age of fives. Emphasis is on supporting initiatives that improves good health outcomes, prevent malnutrition, strengthen families and building community initiatives that are intended to increase quality health services for children. Efforts of this programme are concentrated on first 1000 days of life of a child. With its commitment to ensure that children live a long, healthy and fulfilling life, NMCF is deliberate when addressing health and nutrition. Given the high levels of stunted and malnourished children, emphasis is on creating affordable healthy foods and increasing health education and awareness.
The joint program will also provide pathways for alternative, affordable and nutritious food products at household level. The program will work with Community Health Workers (CHWs) from the Department of Health to identify families in need, with an emphasis on households that have children under the age of 5, and pregnant women. In instances where malnourished children are identified, they will be put on a rehabilitation feeding programme. The program will train these households and other local women to start the gardens of indigenous leafy vegetables, and also train families on utilization and processing of locally available nutritious grain legumes such as groundnuts (peanuts), cowpea and soybean. The production of these crops will assure household diets rich in nutrients such as iron, zinc, proteins and essential fatty acids for the health of families and their children.
Seven (7) gardens were established, five of which have been planted and two gardens were suspended due to sustained conflicts among the community members. The planted leafy vegetables are bean, cowpea, okra, amaranthus, and pumpkin. The common vegetables such as spinach, kale and lettuce are also planted for adaptation of vertical garden on commonly available leafy vegetables.
Below are images from the launch lunch in Pietermaritzburg, where children were tasting food from veggies that were from the gardens.
Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund calls for immediate ousting of Western Cape municipal mayor and his deputy
The appointment of the Western Cape’s newly elected municipal mayor and convicted child rapist, Jeffrey Donson, further points at the gaps in the South African legislation and sends a scathing message of our country’s complicity in perpetuating violence against children and women.
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) therefore joins the calls for the immediate removal of Donson and his deputy, Werner Meshoa.
Donson was reportedly convicted of statutory rape while he was mayor of Kannaland in 2008, while Meshoa, a convicted fraudster, lost his job as a teacher after being found guilty of sexual misconduct with a pupil.
The Fund calls for the re-listing of Donson and Meshoa on the Sex Offenders list and for the strengthening of legislation to protect children from sexual predators holding public office.
The CEO of the Fund, Konehali Gugushe, says that it is perturbing that Donson and Meshoa were even allowed to stand for public office again. “This shows a loophole in our country’s legislation and promotes the protection of convicted perpetrators over that of children and women at the receiving end of the sexual assault.”
Gugushe continues, “As a country known as the rape capital of the world and where cases of rape, abuse and sexual assault, among others, remain underreported, South Africa should stand firm against perpetuating fears that the justice system favours perpetrators. Donson and Meshoa both demonstrate that these fears are valid. We cannot afford to send this message to vulnerable women and children.”
On Thursday, 18 November 2021, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) hosted a webinar to discuss gaps related to the Children’s Amendment Bill.
The discussion revealed gaps in the legislation informed by the Fund’s oral and written submissions to parliament last year.
The Chief Programmes Officer at the Fund, Dr Stanley Maphosa says that in its submission, the Fund had called for measures to improve the efficacy of the National Child Protection register. “This is a significant step in ensuring that child abuse perpetrators will be precluded from assuming positions in public office or environments where children are potentially exposed to their presence. Furthermore, it will ensure that names of child sex offenders are never removed from the list, to ensure proper screening of individuals to promote the safety of children,” says Maphosa.
Maphosa adds, “There is also a need to ensure that legislation is not far removed from implementation on the ground which is often the case and an issue that was raised by children the Fund had engaged on matters related to gaps in the Children’s Amendment Bill.”
In addition, the Fund strongly condemns the comments of provincial chairperson, David Kamfer, from the Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (Icosa)’s, the party of the two convicts, who was quoted in the media defending Donson by stating that he had no knowledge of the minor’s age and assumed that she was of legal age at the time.
In response, Maphosa says, “This argument is highly dangerous, legally indefensible and as such, individuals should refrain from using it as justification.”
Gugushe says that inaction in the removal of Donson and Meshoa would be an indictment on South African society. “Abuse against children does not occur in isolation. It occurs when communities do nothing, when perpetrators are allowed to take advantage of the justice system and when we all act as spectators. As media coverage around this issue dwindles, and as the justice system goes unchallenged, we should all be aware of the hand we play in retaining the violent status of our country.”
Understanding 16 Days of Activism: the Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: moving from Awareness to Accountability
Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation. – Nelson Mandela (22 November 1997)
Founded by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) at the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991, the Global 16 Days Campaign celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. 16 Days of Activism annually kicks off on the 25th of November. The campaign will run up until the 10th of December. Throughout the years, the campaign has had various themes to focus on. In 2020, the main focus stemmed from amplifying the voices of women workers in the informal economy. This year, the global theme emphases advocacy against gender-based violence (GBV) against women and violence against children.. In South Africa, the theme is the Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: moving from awareness to accountability. This is a step forward in dealing with violence against women and children.
Combatting Violence against Women and ChildrenIt goes without saying that society needs to take accountability for these heinous crimes against humanity. When South Africa became a part of the 16 Days of Activism in 1998, the key reason was to bring awareness to some of the brutal issues we face.
There are ways we can combat violence against women and children, namely:
Child Safety and ProtectionOur Child Safety and Protection (CSP) Programme was created to ensure a safer and securer environment for the youth particularly in schools and their communities. CSP is currently running in Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo and Western Cape. The aims of the programme are to dismantle corporal punishment and bullying in schools and putting an end to gender-based violence against women and girls.
Previously, the Fund had implemented a programme called Sexual Violence in Schools in South Africa (SeVISSA) which empowers girls in schools to deal with and acknowledge issues of sexual violence. It is operational in the four provinces, namely Limpopo, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Western Cape. However, the call to address several other issues mentioned, encouraged a broader programme, CSP, to encompass the troubles our youth face within spaces that should be considered safe environments for them.
The Fund continues to work with organisations to ensure the rehabilitations for young perpetrators. More so, providing support to children who have fallen victim of sexual abuse, bullying and corporal punishment. Psychosocial support training for children, educators and parents or caregivers is offered by the Fund alongside the organisations. CSP also affords women and girls with entrepreneurial skills and economic strengthening activities to generate independence and income for themselves.
We at the Fund strive to keep Tata Madiba’s dream alive by ensuring that the children of our nation are protected within schools and their communities. Education is key, in that it eradicates the rise of poverty and GBV. They are the future, and we need to safeguard the future of South Africa. With this year’s theme, we must ensure that accountability is considered in order for change to come. This is to ensure that we can live in a society where victims and survivors become safe and preventing any future perpetuators of violence.
What are you actively doing during your 16 Days of Activism for the protection of women and children?
Twin sisters Aimeé Serrão and Candace Bosch are passionate about the youth, their country, and bringing a smile to children's faces. Through a proudly South African children’s book called “Paintbrush’s Colour”, Aimeé and Candace hope to spread positivity while educating the youth in a fun and inspiring way.
“Paintbrush's Colour" has educational questions at the end of the book where children can learn the Big 5, the five national symbols and more!
Aimee and Candace both have two sons. It was their children that inspired them to write this story during the hard lockdown period that South Africa faced.
“We are giving a percentage of the sales to the NMCF. Their dedication to helping children is not only admirable, but it is also inspiring. To be able to contribute to this cause is a dream come true for both of us” - Candace Bosch
“My son was born with Hirschsprung Disease. Dr Andrew Grieve, the Head of General Paediatric Surgery at the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital, saved his life. So, giving a percentage of sales to help their cause is a small way to say thank you to him, his team, and the foundation as a whole for all they do for our youth” - Aimeé Serrão
Get your copy of the amazing “Paintbrush’s Colour” here.
On Thursday, 18 November 2021, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) will host a webinar to discuss gaps related to the Children’s Amendment Bill.
Entitled, “The Children’s Amendment Bill: Age and Consent - Important gaps remain unaddressed,” the discussion will be moderated by media personality, Joanne Joseph, and will include the CEO of the Fund, Konehali Gugushe, as well as a range of expert in children’s rights, child law, and implementation partners of the Fund.
Sponsored by Nedbank, the virtual event will run between 17:30 – 19:30 and will be open to the public and media.
The Fund is the first legacy organisation founded by former president Nelson Mandela in 1995 with a vision to change the way society treats its children and youth. A social development agency, the Fund’s work includes lobbying and advocacy to influence policy to improve the lives of children in the country and the region.
The webinar follows submissions made by the Fund last year to parliament on gaps in the Children’s Amendment Bill No 38 of 2005. Gugushe says that the Children’s Act, 2005 and the Children’s Amendment Bill are important pieces of legislation that cut across various children’s rights issues and the event will provide an opportunity to further interrogate these together with partners in the children’s rights sector.
Says Gugushe, “Issues related to consent are quite complex and have to be balanced against full understanding from a child’s perspective, different cultural and social contexts but ultimately ensuring that the rights of children are not compromised in this process. As an organisation, it is our mission to facilitate these discussions and to ensure that civil society’s voice is heard together with the voices of children in informing legislation that governs their lives.”
In its written and oral submissions to parliament, the Fund commended the efforts made by the South African government in reviewing this legislation as an important step in improving children’s rights in the country. “Through this process, we were able to highlight pertinent gaps in legislation, chief among these were inconsistences in the thresholds of age where arguments of age and consent are in direct contradiction to the protection of children’s rights. This suggests that we then need strengthen legislation and coordinate ourselves as civil society in this process,” says Gugushe.
Nedbank is a long-standing partner of the Fund and has supported the organisation since its inception in advancing its mission. In recent years for instance, the bank has collaborated with the Fund on various initiatives such as the primary healthcare vaccination drive called #VaxtheNation, for children under the age of five, through the Fund’s Child Survival, Development and Thriving programme.
Group Executive at Nedbank, Khensani Nobanda, says, “As a financial services provider that does good in the economy and society at large, Nedbank, through a wide range of impactful projects, is passionate about sowing into the future generations of our country. Through the Nedbank Children’s Affinity Programme we have donated over R110 million by offering our loyal customers a powerful way to invest in the wellbeing of our children. At absolutely no cost to customers, the Programme allows them to support the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund’s strategic programmes, as they go about their normal daily banking and investing with Nedbank. In sponsoring the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund CEO Forum webinar today, Nedbank realises the urgent need to close important gaps that remain unaddressed by The Children’s Amendment Bill.”
Media personality Joanne Joseph says that it is an honour for her to moderate the discussion. “This event will go a long way in bringing together expert views and to interrogate legislation as well as how far our country has come in truly protecting and promoting the rights of children. I am looking forward to the inputs of the panellists as well as the broader participation.”
According to Gugushe, the period for the discussion is also of significance. “In November we celebrated National Children’s Day and will soon celebrate the 32nd anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which will then be followed by the 16 Days of Activism for Violence against Women and Children. We therefore want to advance these discussions during this period while promoting issues of safety through our ongoing programme work and through forums for advocacy.”
The events panellists will include:
The public can register on the following link to participate in the event at no charge: https://nmcfceoforum.liveevent.co.za/
By Zamajozi Sithole, Project Officer for the NMCF Youth Leadership Programme
Established: 2011 – Gauteng Legislature
Established by: Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund
The NMCP programme was established to celebrate the values, principles and commitment of Mr Nelson Mandela to the children of South Africa, by giving children meaningful opportunities to participate, direct and influence decisions made on their behalf or in their best interest. Over the past 10 years, the hosting of the NMCP rotated across all provinces to create an opportunity for the children of South Africa to participate equally.
The theme for the upcoming children’s Parliament is: “Accountability to enhance the voices and rights of children during COVID-19 and beyond.” The theme acknowledges that the state is responsible to protect, respect and promote the rights of children and need to account and report to children on progress made in this regard.
The Objectives are:
Here is a short link to the inaugural NMCP that took place 10 years ago at the Gauteng Legislature:
Ten years later, we find ourselves back where it all began, i.e. Gauteng Province
Old Mutual Insure partners with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund to donate 135 school desks to bolster literacy amongst young children.
Old Mutual Insure, donated 135 school desks to boost early childhood literacy skills amongst youngsters on World Literacy Day.
The donation is the first of six donations that aims to bring dignity to 400 children from schools in the North West and Eastern Cape identified by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) as part of their Child Survival, Development and Thriving programme.
“As a responsible business, we seek opportunities to deliver cutting-edge Corporate Social Investments that contribute to inclusive, transformative, impactful, and sustainable socio-economic development in the communities where we operate,” said Antonia Oakes, Retail Executive of Customer Experience and Responsible Business at Old Mutual Insure.
“We have a deliberate partnership approach that promotes social legitimacy and shared value, and this year, we partnered with the Fund.”
The Fund’s Child Survival, Development and Thriving programme aims to improve the health and the development of children in their formative years.
“Every year we celebrate Mandela Day, and this year our donation was towards education and literacy - a cause that was close to Nelson Mandela’s heart”, said Oakes.
The donation of 135 MiDesks will go to Grade 1 and Grade 2 children from Nthebe Primary School in Saulspoort in the North West province.
MiDesk Global is a proudly South African Innovation, providing underprivileged children who don’t have desks and attend schools with portable desks. The portable desk and chair can be wheeled to and from school and has a solar light and USB charging portal attached to it to provide light after hours. The portable desk can last for the 12-year duration of schooling.
CEO of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Konehali Gugushe, says that the organisation is grateful for the donation which will benefit children across the country. “This is an honour for our organisation as this advances and promotes education for young people. We would like to thank Old Mutual Insure in leading the way for corporates in answering the call to our current campaign to Serve Like Madiba and Give Like They’re Yours.”
This year’s theme: “Creating Hope through Action”
Every year the 10th of September is commemorated as the World’s commitment to prevent suicide. By encouraging understanding, reaching in and sharing experiences, it is to give people the confidence to take action that can save life.
From working with children and youth facilitating and providing psychosocial support and mental wellness has been part of child safety and protection. In a baseline study conducted with total 453 responses from learners in eight schools from Orlando East, total sample of 232 (52%) were female and 217 (48%) were male. The age of respondents ranged between 12 and 18. 99.7% of respondents indicated that they were in school with the grades ranged between 5 and 11.
To be able to enhance resilience skills, our implementing partners (REPSSI, June 16 Youth Development Foundation) build self-esteem planned camps. Girls Camp hosted from the 28th to 30th May and Boys camp hosted from the 04th to 06th June 2021 saw a total of 92 girls and 78 boys.
The camp focused on facilitating activities on Self-Awareness; Self-Management; Social Awareness; Relationship Skills and Responsible Decision Making. This was through role plays, sketches, drawings, visual and full-participatory of learners. Through evaluation notes here are some of the writings of what was learned.
The team believe that through the little work we are able to expose our learners, it builds their abilities to less prone to depression; suicide and other mental illness but strive to be well and support others.
Child Line Toll Free: 080 005 5555
SAGDA Suicide Crisis Line: 0800 567 567
SAPS: 08600 10111
World Suicide Prevention Day Toolkit
South Africa Main Office
P.O. Box 797 Highlands North 2037
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: (+27) 11 274-5600
Fax (+27) 11 486-3914