By Mapule Cheela
In strengthening our youth to deal with issues of unemployment – Sustainable Livelihoods Programme (SLP) is successful in this area. We now have 13 youth Self Help Groups, active in entrepreneurship, advocacy and filming and documentation. These youth are based in KwaZulu Natal, Free State and North West Province. New Mind Made Innovation (our SLP Youth group from the Free State) visited Sao Paulo, Jundiai, Osasco, Campinas in Brazil from 23rd November to 4th December 2019 to film and document work done by the second generation of Ladysmith Black Mambazo during the Khense Cultural programme in this country. Their travel and accommodation costs were covered by the KwaZulu Natal Department of Arts and Culture.
Our Self Help Youth Group in Makhune in Eshowe is doing well with their poultry project and has increased its sales on eggs and chickens. It is still supplying two Spur restaurants in Eshowe and Richards Bay. We met the manager of Spur restaurant in Eshowe on the 29th February 2020 to share our appreciation for his support for this group and thank him personally for his contribution to this project.
The Tshwaro Youth Group in North West province is also doing well in their egg selling project. They are now supplying three guest houses in Mogwase with eggs, selling in the community of GaMabodisa, and they are planning to supply the local holiday resorts around Sun City before the end of September this year. Please note that the Group Leader of this project visited their peers in Makhune, Eshowe to learn more about egg selling business. This is an SLP initiated group exchange programme.
The Majakathata youth Self Help Group is also doing well in its advocacy programme. It has reached eigh schools targeting grade 8 to 12 learners in addressing the issue of drug and alcohol abuse. It is also doing well on its printing service project and servicing customers in the Moruleng area. It has also printed beautiful 2020 Calendars for the Fund’s staff to show case their work and as a way of saying “Thank You” to the Fund for its support. They are also planning to diversify their business by producing school uniforms for the local primary schools in the area. They have already identified a sewing trainer who will assist them in this area.
The Dempisi Youth Sewing project is also doing well in Thaba Nchu. They are sewing school uniforms and recently they were requested to produce a special uniform for the teachers of Woodbridge Primary School in the village of Woodbridge. This project is managed by youth that benefited from Boikhuco OVC programme when they were still at primary school as orphans.
By Mampe Ntsedi
The invisible members of the society during crisis and emergency
The overview of state of the child in 2020, is quite a difficult topic to deal with especially because no impact study has been done. In terms of protection it gets worse when one reflects on what has happened since the beginning of the year. The building of the Children’s Hospital by the Fund provides hope that not all is doom and hopelessness. While we celebrate this achievement knowing that some children’s health issues will be met, it remains a challenge on what needs to be done to protect children.
The country saw an unprecedented rise of violence in schools and communities which led to the Fund asking its strategic partners and leaders to reflect on how the country has treated children. It seemed that as a country no one is accountable to the children, when a child dies in school no one takes responsibility. Last year we initiated the campaign theme “We Failed Them”. We had failed the children who died in the pit latrines, we had failed numerous children who died on the roads of South Africa on their way to school commuting from their communities. Part of the reason for the long distance travelling is because education where they live is not of the quality their parents’ want them have.
The new decade has not been any different. The country is fighting one crisis after another. The nation was in mourning for most of the first part of the year with the amount of children who died in schools. As if this was not enough a woman lost three of her children in one take, she lost her family’s future, her legacy in one go, why because she wanted a better education for her children. The policy says children should not travel more than five (5) km from home to access education, but that is not the case. Children wake up as early as 5 am to get into a taxi to get quality education. This is not what should be happening the fight for access to education in suburbs should not be an issue 25 years later. The government should be prioritizing quality education in every township and every suburb. Access to education is the right that South African children have guaranteed in the constitution. Access to quality education should never lead to vulnerability and creating unsafe conditions for children and their families.
As if the deaths of children were not enough, the coronavirus hit us. Oh what a start of the decade! Never before has the world agreed to be in solemn agreement in how to deal with a problem: wash your hands, stay away from each other, we all need to flatten the curve. I am not sure the reason why the care for children is not high on the agenda for politicians as it is when it comes to the coronavirus. It might be because it is said that while children can get the virus, but it does not progress to dangerous state. Plans were provided on how and what everyone should do during the period of the lockdown for instance, there is a plan for women should they find themselves vulnerable and abused.
There has not been any strategy that has been provided for children during the lockdown. Children just know that they have to stay at home with their parents and guardians. Parents need to support their children to spend a minimum of two (2) hours studying per day. The one problem with this is that parents are anxious and scared because they are also trying to understand the crisis and how it impacts their income.
It looks like children only exist when they receive education, but their rights to access healthcare, protection and safety does not seem to be a priority. Children have been instructed to stay at home longer than usual and I am not sure if parents have enough information to explain to their children why they are all at home. Children are told to wash their hands. Access to water and sanitation is major problem in most rural and township schools, as well the communities where they live.
The lack of planning for children in times of emergency and disaster needs attention not just by government but the rest of civil society. While politicians worry about how they going to manage the lockdown I will like to thank institutions like Afrika Tikkun who remembered that children will still need to eat and are providing food parcels to those who need support. The new decade should be about putting children at the center, developing interventions and strategies that put children first by ensuring that their rights are protected.
By Konehali Gugushe
In just four months into ’20-plenty’, a year which has been labelled as the year of prosperity and multiplied success, has quickly fallen short of its expectation after the recent incidents of violence against children. It is quite appalling to witness so many cases of viciously dispossessing children off their innocence and right to life in the first quarter of 2020, when the calendar year is still at its core of a fantasy of newness and clean slates.
“We need a more responsible society”, addressing fellow South Africans in a letter published on the 27th of January 2020 on news24 Cyril Ramaphosa | We need a more responsible society, President Cyril Ramaphosa highlights some of the tragic incidents of children’s deaths as a result of negligence and violence. In the letter, President Ramaphosa, urges society to preserve the life of children and protect them. “We need to ensure that children are able to grow up in a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment, so too must we feel a duty to protect and care for all those who we know and interact with”, he remarked.
Following the resoluteness in the intent behind the President’s letter to plunge in concern and urge society to foster and protect the future of this country, an increasing number of incidents of violence continue to surface, with over a 100 cases of violence against children and women reported recently 107 people arrested for gender-based violence and crimes against children in Gauteng. This certainly raises unsettling concern on the state of children in this country, and further drives us to probe deeper for answers to the perplexing question of who is really stepping up for the children in this country?
Amongst other reported and disturbingly violent acts against children, is the recently confirmed arrest (on the 15th of March 2020) of a 42 year old man from Diepkloof, who allegedly sexually violated his children aged 6, 8 and 10 and apparently threatened them not to disclose the incident to anyone (media statement, South African Police Service, Office of the Provincial Commissioner Gauteng). Such is an example of one too many instances of the unsettling reality of most South African children, which has triggered the response of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF) together with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) through the relentless efforts to continue prioritising the welfare of children and the youth.
Some of the programmes and initiatives we offer as a fund cater to the establishment of mental and physical wellbeing of children who have suffered traumatic experiences as a form of rehabilitation, which include: children survival developments programme; child safety and protection; youth leadership initiatives as well as sustainable livelihoods project.
To adhere to our vision as Mandela’s Children Legacy organisation(s), which is to strive to change the way society treats its children and youth and to constantly maintain providing a voice and dignity to the African child by building a rights-based movement, we continuously demonstrate nothing but tenacity in our approach to solving critical issues affecting the well-being of children in South Africa.
From dedicating efforts to ensure childhood development, through the child survival development and thriving programme during Pregnancy Awareness Week (in February) which has ensured a total of 17887 women have adhered to their antenatal care - to successfully hosting dialogues aimed at educating and involving men and boys in protecting as well as supporting women and children. This is to ideally refurnish what tat ‘Mandela hoped for, a society which appreciates and sees that “ 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.
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.
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