Mandela Day 2017 saw a collective entourage of ERP spending time at the old people’s home and orphan day care centre in Kekana Gardens, just outside of Dinokeng Game Reserve. Representatives from iLAB, Epi-Use Africa, ERP Elephant Management Unit and the P.E.A.C.E. Foundation joined hands to deliver food parcels and clothing items to Seikokotlolo Old Age Home and Botlhokwa Bja Ngwana Safe Centre for Orphans. This was a follow up of the site visit we all had to this community one week prior to Mandela day where all parties resolved to start working towards improving the lives of those within Kekana Gardens.
The day’s proceedings
We all met at Dinokeng Game Reserve office shortly before 2pm and we immediately proceeded to the SANCO offices for a quick briefing on how we would travel and what would be done at the respective centres we would be visiting. Thereafter, we set off for the old age home which was our first stop. We were welcomed by the Founder of that place, Mrs Ruth Maruma who gave us a brief background on how she started the old age home, challenges she faces on a day to day basis running the place and how many people she takes care of including her members of staff. She also was able to take us on a tour of the home itself which was quite interactive as some members of our group were able to ask questions. After the tour, we then proceeded to present all the gifts that had been brought through, including assorted food items (based on their wish list) and five big bags of ePap (5x50kg). Both Mrs Maruma and the people at the home were overwhelmed by this gesture, which immediately prompted them to break into song and dance. Our delegation was also able to mingle with the people cared for at the home, introducing ourselves, all the while sharing stories with them.
Upon leaving the old age home, we headed straight to Botlhokwa Bja Ngwana Safe Centre where we also received a warm welcome. About 15 kids were at the centre, with some having gone off on holiday since schools have closed for the term. Our delegation immediately connected with the children, and most could be seen interacting with them even before we had formal welcoming remarks from the manager at the centre. All food items (including 5x50kg bags of ePap), clothes, shoes and toys were offloaded, into the centre, whilst both our delegation and staff and kids from the centre broke into song and dance yet again. We later converged outside the main ‘building’ at the centre and had a quick orientation and talk from the Manager, Ms Nkele Maubane, who then formally welcomed us whilst expressing her gratitude to our gesture. All children at the centre were then presented with ‘party packs’ filled with an assortment of goodies, and two home baked cakes were presented to them. Whilst part of our group broke out to further discuss with the Manager and her team, others could be seeing playing ball games with the children and chatting with them, and judging from the children’s reactions, they were enjoying every moment of this visit. Before our departure, the children were able to do a presentation of their own to us, singing their own songs as a gesture of thanking us for the visit. We then left the safe centre just before 5pm and headed back to our respective destinations upon meeting for a quick vote of thanks from SANCO at their offices.
We would like to thank iLAB, EPI-USE Talent Management team, ERP Elephant Management Unit and the P.E.A.C.E. Foundation for all their contributions towards ensuring that this day was an impactful one to those who are less privileged in our society. This truly was a show of the strength of ERP, bringing us all together from our different backgrounds and work spaces for the good of a community that we all hold dear to our hearts. We also are grateful to SANCO for their hospitality and making time to take us through this community. In the words of the great Nelson Mandela himself, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” Let this gesture on Mandela Day 2017 be the beginning of how as the ERP collective, we will change lives in Kekana Gardens, going beyond Mandela Day.