A Reason To Smile

In Honour of Madiba: How We Spent Our 67 Minutes

A reason to smile
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Driving towards Nyanga, I am struck with how close we are to it. In my mind, it had felt as though it were on the far reaches of Cape Town and immediately a quote from a series I had been watching comes to mind: "Look at how poverty and privilege have become silent neighbours".

Our 67-miuntes of giving back to our community, was a great experience for many of us as we arrived at the Ivy Nyovane creche on International Mandela Day.

The plan was to help establish the first phase of a vegetable garden compliments of Cape Media Corporation and Heart Nursery, to provide a healthy lunch to the 400 school kids and tots, compliments of Pick n Pay Kenilworth Centre. But what was more important and far more rewarding to see was our staff members taking to heart the importance of playing, painting, holding hands, singing, dancing and laughing with these children. Another key focus of Cape Media was to help clean the litter in the immediate surrounds of the creche and the greater area. (The amount of rubbish that lay in the streets was like Cape Town's big black refuse bag had been shaken over Nyanga like a massive pepper shaker and all its rubbish lay ignored and uncared for).

Mama Esther, the mother of the creche was astounded by the amount of people who arrived. 
She had not expected to have so many people in one place caring about what she was trying to do.

Lucky for her, she has Karina Anderson the from SmilingOne Foundation who has been helping her for some time. Karine knew our treasured Ubuntu Girl, who steered us towards Karina and the work she does.

Together with over 150 staff members from Cape Media, PnP and the Ubuntu Girl made their way to the Ivy Nyovane creche and at least made a start to making a significant difference to those children's lives.

Karina who hails from Europe is also heavily involved in prisoner rehabilitation, something that many of us shy away from, but the truth is that many of our convicts landed there in the first place due to having nothing other than gangsterism, drugs and crime to fall back on because of the inequalities in our society. From a grassroots level issues need to be addressed. These are the times where children need support and encouragement the most to make good choices and to know that a life of crime is not the only answer, but in order for that to happen, corporate South Africa needs to embrace the philosophy of ubuntu in its every day practices, and it needs to give back. 

Ex-prisoner Chris Plum (31) who works closely with Karina and is a trustee on the board of the SmilingOne Foundation has come a long way since his first hit of mandrax which he tasted at the age of 13. He will be the first person to say that businesses need to know what its like in townships for children who have empty stomachs, who have no shelter, and who have no prospects of going to school. Chris is also pivotal in how the SmilingOne Foundation stretches its hands. Who better than someone who came from that background. Sadly many of the children who we spent the day with have parents in prison. What happens to those children? They start playing and living on the streets, entering gangs for safety and security and the cycle is once more perpetuated.

Mama Esther, like many other people who in townships try to make a difference out of their own pocket, beg for government support. Partnerships between the government and private sector are key if we are to make a marked difference to the levels of inequality our people face on a daily basis.
 
If children are the future investors of corporate SA's longevity and sustainability, it makes good business sense to get involved now. Not only will it be good for the community, it will be good for a company's employees too and it will be good for business in the long run.

In honour of Madiba turning 94 years old today, 67 minutes to spend doing something good is a second in comparison to the 67 years he spent in service to his country, but the experience was priceless for Cape Media but mostly for the children who have been given hope that there are people in their world who care about them.

It was a good day. 


We would love to hear what yo u did for your 67 minutes. Email us at: Info@capemedia.co.za

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