As our country enters a national lockdown following a call by the South African government to limit the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19), the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF)’s wishes to express its support and compliance of this directive. NMCF would also like to take this opportunity and assure all friends, donors and stakeholders of the organisation of its continued mission during this period.
In the past week leading up to the announcement by Honourable President, Cyril Ramaphosa, on March 23, 2020, NMCF had already taken measures to protect its staff and various stakeholders including programme beneficiaries, by requesting staff to work remotely where possible and restricting physical interactions.
Our flagship project, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, the second dedicated children’s health facility in the region, also implemented various strategies in the lead up to this period. This includes measures to protect patients, families and staff at the facility informed by guidelines from the Ministry of Health, World Health Organisation and National Institute for Communicable Disease.
Our work on the ground promoting the safety and protection of children and sustaining their families’ livelihoods remains pertinent particularly in these challenging times when they are the most vulnerable among us. Aimed at capacitating families to cope with vulnerable situations we remain confident that our interventions will play a fundamental role in supporting them during this challenging period.
In support of the call by the South African government to “flatten the curve”, we further urge all South Africans to abide by the restrictions imposed by our government during the following 21 days. This will ensure that our health system is not overburdened and that together, we strive to combat the spread of Covid-19.
We further encourage our broader community to exercise necessary hygiene by frequently cleaning surfaces, practice covering coughs and sneezes in the crook of their elbows and washing hands frequently and supporting children to do the same.
We would also like to remind our supporters of the urgent need to continue supporting the important work of NMCF to alleviate some of the challenges presented to our most vulnerable communities due to this pandemic. Whilst, we cannot accept physical donations at this time, we encourage those who feel moved to pledge their support by visiting the donate page on our website to offer a contribution.
In these times, we must remain hopeful and optimistic. In the words of our founder, Nelson Mandela, we are all reminded that, “Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward.”
Our children deserve no less. May God bless South Africa
The work of Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) is about children, their families and communities. To reach these children, the Fund has partnered with local based organisations. These organizations have good men and women who are committed to visit families, hold community meeting, facilitate trainings and workshops. All these is done in the name of improving the quality of life of children and young people of this country. We thank them for their work and commitment.
This good work is currently challenged by – COVID – 19 viral epidemic. This is a virus that is highly infectious and will probably spread rapidly throughout our country.
Due to the National State of Disaster declared by Pres. Ramaphosa on Sunday, 15 March 2020 stemming from the COVID-19 virus pandemic, the Fund support Small Projects Foundation, one of the partners, on key steps that need to be taken to protect beneficiaries and staff from infection by COVID-19 virus. The message is for to all partners in the space of children’s programmes
Steps to be taken:
Internal staff: 1.) Education of all staff on COVID-19 infection symptoms and ways to prevent infection. 2.) Provision of materials for essential hand washing by staff after every social contact, use of toilets and public spaces. 3.) Reduction of meetings, gatherings, public travel. 4.) In line with the early closure of schools-allow leave for staff to care for own children and families. 5.) Develop low risk service provision modes including call centre, pamphlets, voice calls, social media contact.
Beneficiaries: 1.) Limit meetings and contact to prevent infection of beneficiaries. 2.) Each staff member to ask beneficiary before starting whether any signs of fever, coughing, difficulty breathing in themselves or contacts recently. If yes, advise beneficiary to stay at home and call COVID 19 Helpline. 3.) Ensure each staff member maintains social distance (1,5 m) during home visits and preferably meet out of buildings.. 4.) Ensure staff members stay at home if exhibiting any symptoms of fever, cough, difficulty breathing, muscle pain or unusual tiredness and call the toll-free helpline 0800029999 for advice and or testing. 5.) Stop any non-critical daily visits to immune-compromised or vulnerable households or work in larger groups until staff are fully capacitated and are taking necessary precautionary measures. 6.) Ensure that all beneficiaries and COVID 19 exposed are treated with kindness, dignity and confidentiality and offered support going forward.
Encourage and advises partners to offer staff official leave. This will ensure that measures are in place to prevent further infection, allow staff to support and educate their families
We therefore request your understanding and support for us to take these measures.
The Fund also note that this will result in some targets and deliverables not being met.
More points to consider:
1.Know COVID-19 infection symptoms
2. Know how to prevent infection
4. If feeling ill, stay at home, call hotline and inform your supervisor immediately
5. Ensure that your family is informed and supported
6. Find creative ways to serve our communities through phone, whatsapp, call centre or one on one sessions.
7. Stop holding meetings with large groups of people (more than 20). Also, before each meeting. Check if any of the participants have COVID-19 symptoms or contact with someone with COVID-19 symptoms – if yes, cancel meeting with that person and refer to Hotline and suggest self-isolation
8. Share facts about COVID-19 and safety with beneficiaries including COVID -19 Hotline: 08000 29999 or Whatsapp: 0600123456
9. Keep project staff healthy by making sure they know how to avoid infection and are supported if infected
10. Protect confidentiality
11. Treat all with dignity and compassion
12. Support all who may need advice, guidance or help
The most at risk include:
Remember, you are uniquely skilled to bring hope, information, care and support to families, beneficiaries and communities in this time.
The boards of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) and Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust (the Trust) wish to announce the resignation of their Chief Executive Officer Ms Sibongile (Bongi) Mkhabela. This comes after faithfully serving two decades at the helm of our organisations.
Bongi’s tenure is one characterised by immense achievement and impeccable leadership. It is the kind that makes this announcement difficult but commands all due gratitude and reverence.
The first organisation founded by Madiba, the Fund celebrates 25 years in 2020. In marking this milestone, our boards would therefore also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Bongi’s leadership role in growing the Fund’s endowment over the years to ensure its work continues for many years to come. Thanks to her contribution as a visionary, and her staff, the heart of the organisation, our role as a social development agency in the region remains relevant.
Perhaps one of Bongi’s greatest accolades was fulfilling the mandate of the board of the Fund to lead the establishment and the operations of the Trust with its mandate to raise the capital funds required to design, build and equip only the second dedicated paediatric facility in Southern Africa, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH).
NMCH marks three years of operations on 21 June 2020.
Over the past few months, our boards have jointly dedicated a considerable amount of time and effort to finding a suitable candidate to lead our organisations beyond the jubilee anniversary of the Fund.
As we all wish Bongi the very best for the future, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Kone Gugushe as CEO of the Fund and the Trust, effective 04 March 2020. Her biography is included in this correspondence.
We are confident in Ms Gugushe’s wealth of experience and reputable leadership qualities will guide the Fund’s strategic focus at this critical milestone whilst building on Bongi’s legacy as well as the vision of our Founder.
This will include strengthening Madiba’s vision for his legacy organisations for children (the Fund, the Trust and NMCH) by promoting synergies, collaboration, sustainability and alignment.
Building on her remarkable life journey to date, Bongi will also continue to fight for the most vulnerable in our society and impact on the lives of children by remaining a trustee of the Fund and a member of the board of Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.
Before her departure on 31 March 2020, Bongi will hand over her duties to Ms Gugushe, who will benefit from the transfer of first hand institutional knowledge.
We wish Ms Gugushe all the best in her new position and call on our stakeholders to celebrate Bongi’s contribution as well as the Fund’s 25th year anniversary.
Details to mark the jubilee celebrations will be announced soon.
Ms Konehali (Kone) Gugushe has a passion for African development and youth empowerment. Much of her career thus far has been dedicated to developing corporate governance and social responsibility for the benefit of children and communities across the region. Kone believes in a people-centred approach to leadership. Her tenacity has paved her journey cultivating meaningful relationships throughout her professional career whilst taking on diverse roles.
By profession Kone is a, development Chartered Accountant (SA) with more than 20 years working experience, spanning over the financial services sector and development finance. After graduating from Rhodes University and University of Natal, she commenced her career with articles at the audit firm Moores Rowland in Cape Town, following this with a secondment at their New York office gaining valuable international exposure to the US auditing environment. On completion of articles she worked at various banks including Standard Corporate and Merchant Bank (now Standard Bank CIB), JP Morgan and Nedbank, gaining experience in credit risk management and investment analysis. She also gained exposure to private equity management through her time at Safika Holdings.
With a passion for development, Kone spent five years heading up the Nedbank Foundation, the primary CSI arm of the Nedbank Group. During this time, she had the opportunity to drive the CSI strategy of the bank which mainly aimed to make the group a catalyst for upliftment in our communities, with a major emphasis being placed on sustainability.
Following her time at Nedbank, Kone expanded her development finance experience when she joined the Land Bank as the Chief Risk Officer in 2015. While her primary responsibilities related to the identification, mitigation and management of all risks for the bank, Kone also emerged as quite a dynamic leader for the bank, capable of being deployed to various other areas including Acting Company Secretary, Acting Chief Financial Officer and Acting Chief Executive Officer. Through her career, Kone has developed a broad range of technical expertise and strong leadership qualities. Not only does she have a holistic understanding of the risk and governance issues impacting organisations, she is committed to good governance, active stakeholder management and leading with integrity.
Kone’s vision is to be an active participant in shaping a better future for generations to come, particularly contributing towards better social cohesion and community development.
Kone has participated in a number of functional and management related leadership training as part of her professional development. She is a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative (ALI), which is part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. In 2014, she received the Emerging Old Rhodian Award from her Alma Mater Rhodes University. This award is aimed at honouring young Rhodes University Alumni who have excelled early in their career and shown potential for continued success. She is also a non-executive board member for several organisations and is a council member of the University of Johannesburg Council Member.
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) join the global community in mourning the untimely loss of Shaun Johnson, the founding Executive Director, of our sister legacy organisation, The Mandela Rhodes Foundation.
To us, Shaun was more than a colleague but a friend and confidante whose absence remains surreal. Just last year, our organisations jointly celebrated the centenary of our founder, Nelson Mandela, in the United States and the incredible manner they continue to serve his vision since their establishment. We could have never imaged that at this time, he wouldn’t be with us.
A true patriot, Shaun’s contribution to the realisation of our democracy as an avid anti-apartheid activist and journalist will forever live in our memory. His humility, in spite of all he had accomplished in his short life, could never be tamed, always serving with purpose and empowering those around him. A former Rhodes-scholar himself, Shaun was truly passionate about developing young people as future leaders for our continent.
CEO of NMCF, Sibongile Mkhabela says, “Shaun was the ideal leader to take the vision of our founder forward through his work at The Mandela Rhodes Foundations and as interim CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. It was not hard to see the promising leader Madiba saw in him.”Shaun remained committed to Madiba’s vision for our continent including that of a better future for children, through fostering collaboration across his legacy organisations and promoting the work of the Fund and NMCH.
To further strengthen these relationships, Shaun ensured that the legacy organisations were represented in the selection committee for the Mandela-Rhodes programme, so they collectively played a part in endorsing our future leaders.
He will be sorely missed.
Our prayers are with his wife Stefania and daughter Luna Johnson and the many countless lives he has touched.
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.
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