Frustrated by the rate of rape, alcohol and drug abuse and crime tearing through the teenage population of communities around Matatiele, schoolteacher Nombini Maqelana stepped in to help. “As a high school teacher in rural areas I saw the need...
Born into an impoverished life in East London’s Duncan Village, Sizwe Yolo was surrounded by crime, hunger and substance abuse. But like a rose among thorns, he grew up to be a symbol of hope and redemption for many. He went...
Facebook has become an interface for families helping other families in Buffalo City. Louise Torr, 47, is behind a project which sees 2000 members sharing resources with families who have less than they do. Torr walked away from her job after...
While his peers are mostly concerned about sports and TV games, 13-year-old Simangaliso Ntoni dedicates his time to helping less fortunate children. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sq9BRWAVLM8&feature=youtu.be Simangaliso is a beacon of hope for his NU9 community in Mdantsane with his outreach organisation, Positive Force...
From knitted jerseys to handmade quilts, Toni Krull’s non-profit organisation, Hands On, and her crew of elderly women, are giving back to the community of Gonubie and the rest of East London. Krull says she became motivated to establish her...
For former Southernwood Primary School headgirl Ayabulela Mahamba, being a leader has little to do with politics and everything to do with helping children rise above their circumstances. Mthatha-born Mahamba, 21, now a final-year BCom accounting student at Nelson Mandela...
Nine years ago Carlos Allan was down and out, battling several addictions and suicidal thoughts. On the outside, his life looked fulfilling and colourful. He was an advertising consultant and in a steady relationship, and had a five-year-old daughter who...
Teenage girls have lit a candle of hope in a drive to unite with their peers in Nompumelelo township in East London. Girls of Hope, a project driven by 17-year-old student and entrepreneur Mbali Feliti, has already linked up with...
Seeing dogs filling run-down kennels at the East London SPCA moved fine arts photographer Marlene Neumann to start her Buckaroo Projects – sterilising animals and providing basic animal healthcare in previously disadvantaged communities. The project was founded on “give a...
What started out as a Friday after-school treat quickly turned into an initiative to help the homeless for 10-year-old Luthando Matiwane, who felt the urge to better street dwellers’ lives at Eastern Beach. With the help of his school, Advance...
When he was an orphaned schoolboy, adults refused to believe he was going blind and he struggled through school barely able to read. But now Rueben Puchert is ensuring the Eastern Cape’s blind people will get the help they need. As...
Fort Beaufort-born Khaya Baartman is a man on a mission. He has since 2014 started a sporting programme in his hometown to keep youth away from crime and substance abuse. Baartman, 42, a former employee of the department of education, has...
At a time of high teenage pregnancies, HIV/Aids prevalence, blessers and sugar daddies, 31-year-old Zikhona Vellem from Duncan Village has taken it upon herself to groom girls and young women from her community to become women with sound principles...
When retired schoolteacher Richard Norton first moved to the rural village of Port St Johns eight years ago, the first thing he realised was the lack of basic animal health knowledge in the area. It only took him a couple...
For 10-year-old Adam Pennacchini, going above and beyond to help the needy comes as naturally as being in the open veld and playing rugby. The Grade 5 pupil from Selborne Primary selflessly enjoys helping the elderly, young, less fortunate and...
Holding a firm belief that children are not things that can be moulded, but are people to be unfolded, Ray Schöne and Alexis Salaman founded Youth Potential South Africa (Youpsa) in 2015. Their aim was to awaken creativity, potential and...
Driven by a love for broken and battered individuals, Matthew and Marion Peak have offered up their lives to being instruments of hope to many. Daily, the East London couple assists those in need, and help those who are down and...
For Faried Kops of Buffalo Flats, the challenge of bringing a smile to people’s faces is one that runs deep. Commonly known as “Uncle Faried”, he has committed his life to being a beacon of hope to people facing...
After realising the plight of underprivileged children in her community, Donae Carelse Goosen from Parkridge started a lunch-box drive for pupils who come from the poorest families. Goosen, who is well-known in the Parkside community for a number upliftment projects...
An unbreakable bond between two cousins, one of who survived infant cancer, was encapsulated in a poignant letter which stresses the importance of early cancer detection in children. Today is International Childhood Cancer Day. Hudson Park Primary School Grade 7 pupil Sarah...
Three former Daily Dispatch local heroes nominees have been given thousands of meal packs to enable them continue as beacons of hope in their communities. The initiative is a partnership between Hemingways Mall and the international Stop Hunger Now project. For...
It was an inspirational morning for pupils from Mdibaniso Secondary School near Alice yesterday as they cheered a fellow pupil who received a trophy and cash in recognition for his selfless community work. Bongile Sikane, 17, who was lauded for...
The Daily Dispatch in partnership with Johnson & Johnson rolled out the red carpet for 12 local heroes at a glitzy gala dinner at The East London International Convention Centre. The lavish event, hosted by SABC3 Expresso presenter Ewan Strydom,...
NDIBANISO High School pupil Bongile Sikani, 17, has been lauded a local hero in his community after he played an instrumental role of having taps installed in his village. The installation formed part of Bongile’s community project with the International...
Xolani Breakfast, who lost all his belongings when his shack was destroyed by a fire last month, received the shock of his life when a nine-year-old gave him R1000 to help him back on his feet.  Connor Maree, a Grade...
OPENING the doors of education for disadvantaged children of Fort White community outside Alice fits in with Mexican-born Teresita Ndibongo’s own experience as the child of a poor village. She and her Eastern Cape husband Quinton gave up their lives...
Fikiswa Siko from Willowvale has been hailed a local hero in her community for running a daycare centre for disadvantaged children. Siko said Kulozulu daycare was founded in 1996 by a “Mrs Mvume”, who went on to teach Kulozulu Junior...
Celebrating his birthday by giving back to others less fortunate is something young Brad Blom plans to do every year to make a difference in the lives of others. Blom, a Grade 3 pupil at Stirling Primary who turned nine on...
An unemployed Port Alfred man is on a mission to help poor township people put food on the table by giving them free seeds and advice on how to grow vegetables.  Instead of sitting around waiting for handouts, Minet “Rastar”...
Lusizo Mathafeni, a 27-year-old man from Duncan Village, has committed himself to bringing hope to the youth of area who live in a community where substance abuse is the norm and unemployment very high. Mathafeni who works as a life...
One hundred abandoned Buffalo City Metro babies have found care and love in a suburban home. Breath of Life, a place of safety in Selborne, East London, has just taken in its 100th baby. The home is operated and supported by volunteers. Established...
By SIKHO NTSHOBANE MANY of them had never set foot inside a plane, but a group of children from an East London-based foster home can now boast of having actually flown, thanks to the Border Aviation Club.  On Saturday about 20...
It is very inspiring to read about the “local heroes” in and around East London who have sacrificed much to assist needy people, abandoned children, pets and animals without shelter and people suffering from serious ailments and disabilities. Thank...
By ZIPO-ZENKOSI NCOKAZI A grade 2 pupil’s compassion for children living with cancer has seen him raise R2400 for CHOC East London. Selborne Primary School pupil Max Jansen, 8, said he got the idea for his colouring-in competition after hearing about...
Caring for disabled and elderly people in the comfort of her own home has always been Marie Kriedemann’s dream and she finally followed her heart in 2010. Kriedemann, 58, a professional nurse who qualified in 1981, started a home care...
Being “God’s hands and feet” within the community was the first thing Mariana Esterhuizen aspired towards when she retired from teaching a decade ago. Esterhuizen, 53, took early retirement from Grens Preparatory in 2006 to support her husband’s construction company...
Opening the doors of learning to disadvantaged children has always been an ambition of Luyanda Matandabuzo, a successful accountant in East London who was himself thrown a lifeline when he was student. Matandabuzo, 30, has funded four students through university,...
Opening her door to comfort people in distress in the Stutterheim community is what Nomfuneko Salaze committed herself to do after she was retrenched five years ago. The mother of three started “a white door shelter” – Kusile Women Empowerment Centre...
Retired teacher Alan Staples, who has spent most of his life in education, continues to play a vital role in the educational development of children, even in his retirement. The 69-year-old now spends his retirement driving fundraising for Hope Schools...
Promoting sport to children growing up in an era when there are few playgrounds and drugs are sold on every street corner is not easy, but Vuyolomzi Mtekwana has committed his life to keeping youngsters off the streets. Mtekwana, who...
Giving mothers an intimate experience through their pregnancy, during labour and after the birth of their child, are Karen Clark’s passion. Clark, 45, is a professional midwife who offers her services to rural women at no cost through her organisation...
Everybody deserves a ball like Cinderella, said two East London friends who have been pampering matric students from impoverished schools. Sbonile Xolo, a Walter Sisulu University fashion design graduate who owns his own label, is the brains behind the Donate-a-matric-dance-dress project...
Seven young people had the time of their lives this weekend when a generous pilot took them on their first flight. Out of his own pocket, Sipho Mangesi paid for a group of seven John Bisseker Secondary School pupils to board...
Giving two children a lift home from church almost 20 years ago, opened Sue Davies to the plight of poverty in Mzamomhle, an informal settlement in Gonubie. Davies, 70, a human resources practitioner at Mercedes-Benz South Africa at the time,...
An ex-convict and a former gangster from Duncan Village have banded together and are working at ensuring young children from the community do not follow the same paths they did. Aphiwe Bili, 23, and Thembekile Havi, 31, have taken glue-sniffing boys...
By  MBALI TANANA Running for a cause is what has inspired Frances Smith to enter the 2016 Comrades Marathon scheduled between Pietermaritzburg and Durban on May 29.  [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mhDawsEi5I] Smith, a 49-year-old stay-at-home mother, aims to raise funds for The King’s Children’s...
When unemployed Bulelwa Lengisi opened a creche in one of Mthatha’s oldest and most impoverished informal settlements in 2011, she had no idea of the sleepless nights ahead of her. Initially, she used a shack for the 30-odd young pupils...
A King William’s Town woman has been hailed for assisting young people turn their lives around. Maudlin Mabi, 49, a manager at the Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency (ECRDA) and the owner of the three-star Dimso Guest House, has been...
Reuniting homeless people with their families has led Busisiwe Papiyana to leave her job as an auditor and devote her time to working for the community. Papiyana, 31, was an auditor at the department of roads and public works before...
There is no holiday for some of the local heroes featured in the Daily Dispatch this year, with fundraising already underway to buy school uniforms for disadvantaged children next year. More than R3000 was raised by Ubuntu Warriors, a group...