JOHANNESBURG, July 18 – The Soweto Kliptown Youth centre, which serves hundreds of children, on Tuesday commemorated Mandela Day by dishing out free food and goody bags.
With a broom in hand, Soweto Kliptown Youth (Sky) centre founder, Bob Nameng, said children needed good examples to learn from, such as former president Nelson Mandela, who passed away at the age of 95 on 5 December 2013.
“I wish 67 minutes could be every day, we get excited on the 18th, then right after we go back to hurting women and children. Children learn from us adults and it’s up to us to guide them into becoming better adults,” said Nameng.
The centre was founded 30 years ago and is situated in the heart of Kliptown, along the railway a few metres from the Freedom Charter Square, and has been the safe haven for the young and old. It serves about 300 young children up to the age of 16.
NMG Benefits, an employee benefits company with offices in Randburg, Durban, Cape Town and neighbouring Namibia, chose to spend their 67 minutes at the Soweto Kliptown Youth centre on Tuesday.
As a community-driven organisation, NMG said it shared the same values with the children’s centre.
“We wanted to make an impact and leave them with more than what they had when we arrived and to make a positive difference in the community,” Lerato Thupi from NMG said.
The company made their contribution to the centre by donating computers for the media centre, food parcels and an urn.
The NMG team dedicated their day to cleaning, planting vegetables and interacting with the children who were present at Sky.
Dressed in ripped denim dungarees, a hat and with long dreadlocks down his shoulders, Nameng, 47, still with his broom in hand and a cup of tea, cheerfully greeted his neighbours and people passing by.
“I got my wiseness from pain. The pain we were born in is a gift. Anything that doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger,” he said.
“It’s a matter of counting how many times we stand and not how many times we fall.”
The centre used to house a number of homeless children, but due to the lack of funds, it is now unable to continue providing shelter.
Its facilities include a multipurpose hall, a kitchen, library, as well as a computer room and a recording studio.
“We are here every day to nurture the children of the community, they come to sing and we use the studio to record them. On Sundays we have bible study,” Nameng said.
– African News Agency (ANA)