Holding down her own speech therapy practice while caring for a husband and children is no sweat for philanthropist Luanet Smit, who founded His Hands Care Centre. The centre, situated in Southernwood, caters for children with severe physical and cognitive...
Akhona Matyobeni, an accountant who grew up on the dusty streets of Duncan Village, is giving back to children from the impoverished township. Matyobeni, a senior accountant at Buffalo City Metro (BCM), now lives in Beacon Bay, but spends his...
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...
THE Daily Dispatch, in partnership with Johnson & Johnson, honoured 12 local heroes at a gala dinner at The Venue@Hemingways last night. The first-ever Local Heroes awards ceremony saw more than 400 people, including corporates, local business and politicians, come...
Enduring years of illness, which would have deterred an ordinary person, is exactly what spurred swimmer Jared Burger on. The former Selbornian, 18, returned with three gold and five silver medals from the South African Disabled Swimming Championships held in...
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...
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,...
Four former school friends have banded together to call themselves Ubuntu Warriors – to help provide shoes to pupils who have to walk long distances to school. Mtha Gaulekapa, Esethu Ndzamela, Siphesihle Ndamase and Laerce Heslop – all former Mthatha...
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...
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...
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,...
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...
Instead of wallowing in self-pity when he lost his job 11 years ago, Rodney Parsons seized the opportunity to follow his passion of working with children. Parsons opened Carleen’s daycare centre and pre-school in the heart of Amalinda Forest to...
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...
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...
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...
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...
An Eastern Cape teacher has been lauded as a local hero for dedicating all her spare time to helping pupils pass matric. Zonke Mbatsha, a teacher at Nyameko High School in Mdantsane, turned her Amalinda home into a classroom for...
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...
Egoli resident Dianna Botha and her family have become a beacon of hope in a community where drugs and alcohol abuse are rife. Botha, a nurse at Frere Hospital, helped start The Lord’s Kitchen at her home, where more than...
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 being confined to a wheelchair for three years due to spinal TB, Florence Mvana committed her life to supporting people with illnesses.Mvana, 68, has been running a support group for people living with HIV in a shack at...
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,...
Creating the change you want to see is the mantra by which Nonkosi Ntloko lives.Ntloko, founder of New Start School in Bongweni Village opposite Cove Rock, has lived in the area since 1999. She decided to open a day care...
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...
Bruce McKay’s hearing loss as a result of Meniere’s disease spurred him to start a foundation to help others to hear. He recently handed over 40 sets of refurbished hearing aids to children at East London’s Carel du Toit Centre. McKay,...
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...
Every Friday morning, community members from poor townships in Fort Beaufort cheerfully await 78-year-old Clara Gqomfa’s bakkie. The car comes bearing soup and bread – their much-needed meal of the day. Gqomfa, a retired nurse, lovingly prepares the soup before transporting...

New hope for villagers

HLALISWA Nobebe of Dabhane village in Peddie has lived in a dilapidated mud house for more than 40 years – but thanks to local heroes those days are over. Yesterday the Methodist Church Grahamstown district women’s manyano handed over five...
Barnyard Stables, an animal clinic outside Mthatha and home to Janine Botha and her family, has given a lifeline to sickly horses through free veterinary treatment. Botha has been hailed as a lifesaver and angel by animal owners after she...
Two years ago five friends from Mdantsane got together and decided to change the lives of underprivileged girls from their area. The women, who all grew up in the area, began with an assessment of what empowerment tools girls needed...
Striving to improve lives sees Themi Makefungana cooking for more than 100 people twice a week. Makefungana, 25, lives in Chintsa East, where she works at a village centre. “Since I have been here, I have seen the struggles of the...
A world of potential is what Mfuneko Mthi sees in his rural community of Bizana Mthi, 31, who was born and grew up in the area, said beyond the poverty and suffering he saw hope in children’s eyes. Earlier this year...
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...
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...
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...
Having lived a life without his father, Luyanda Jordan, 34, has committed his life to being a father figure in the lives of 16 children at the Sunrise house of safety. Jordan, affectionately known as “Daddy Jordan”, is a job...
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...
Stripping is alive and well among the ladies of Kennersley Park old age home in Beacon Bay. A group of woman known as the Kennersley Park Strippers crochet “strips” of wool used to create blankets that are in turn donated...
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...
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...
Her title may say principal, but parents and pupils call her a saviour. Zola Mburwana, the principal of Annshaw Primary School in Middledrift, has been praised for her work in turning the school around. Doomed for closure in 2014 with an...
Traumatised by the sight of a family digging through garbage bins, picking up dirty nappies and mouldy food, Fezeka Mjemla started feeding and supporting children and adults. She now feeds hundreds of people. Mjemla, a qualified but unemployed teacher, collects clothes,...
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...
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...
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...
A local businessman who hopes to help many former convicts regain their place in society, is using his own resources and money to see his wish come to fruition. Mtobeli Maxatana, who owns Maxatana Funeral Directors in King William’s Town...
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...
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...