Youth Day 2020

Nomsa is a passionate, driven and joyful woman living in the crime stricken neighbourhood of Delft where gang violence and abuse run rampant. Having grown up under difficult circumstances herself, Nomsa hopes that the story of how she started her educare will provide inspiration to young people who have faced similar challenges growing up. She believes that if you dream big and never give up, that you can achieve anything you set your mind to!

In 2015, Nomsa opened her preschool, Blessings Educare, with just 11 children. Today, she and her staff care for over 130 children every day. Blessings Educare is a beacon of hope to the children in Delft. Along with her preschool (prior to Covid-19), Nomsa runs an afterschool programme where youth find refuge until their parents would return home from work in the night.

We hope this message from Nomsa will inspire you to believe in the power of your dreams despite the difficult circumstances you may face.

Ikamva Labantu is proud to support Nomsa. Visit our donate page to assist Nomsa and other community heroes like her:, USA based donors: 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

15 June: United Nations World Elder Abuse Awareness Day⁣

Caring for seniors is part of our mandate at Ikamva Labantu. The abuse of senior citizens is a pandemic which is not new to the communities we serve. The 21 Ikamva Labantu Seniors Clubs, situated across Cape Town’s township neighbourhoods, provide a safe haven for over 800 seniors during the day, away from the dangers which come from isolation. Closing our Senior Clubs for lockdown was heart-breaking not only for our seniors but for our staff members as well. ⁣

Although we don’t get to see our seniors every day during lockdown, the team does a bi-monthly visit to their homes. During these visits, the senior receives a food and essentials parcel, and an assessment of the conditions in which the senior is living is done. ⁣

Upon assessment, should it be uncovered that the senior requires additional support (health care by a registered nurse, or psychological and emotional support) these services are made available to the senior. An emergency help desk is also available in-case issues arise outside of the bi-weekly visits.⁣

“We must always remember the contribution our seniors have made to South Africa and its people. Besides fighting for freedom in the apartheid days and supporting their families on their meagre pensions, they enhance everyone’s lives with meaningful cultural knowledge and values. Let’s protect and care for each and every beloved Senior in South Africa.”, Helen Lieberman, founder of Ikamva Labantu.

United Nations World Elder Abuse Awareness Day⁣

Meet Jessica-Marie Perez..

“I joined Ikamva Labantu in March of 2018 as an assistant in the baby class and am now a teacher of the 4 months to 1-year-old class. I am a privileged individual and believe that I should use my privilege for good to assist people wherever possible.”

Jess was first exposed to the importance of Early Childhood Development (ECD) when she was a young girl. She suffered from various illnesses where she landed up in the hospital paralyzed on her right-hand side. She had to go to occupational therapy in order to regain functionality. She still knits and crochets until today to keep her hands active. It was through this experience from illness to recovery that she discovered the importance of sculpting, moulding and resilience of a young brain. She says that it is because of the various challenges she went through that she is a strong, emphatic person today.

Although her health experiences shaped a lot of who Jess is today, she says that community and ECD is ‘in her blood’. Her mother worked in Khayelitsha managing a centre for abused women. Her father is a medical doctor who serves the Department of Health. Her Makhulu (a word used for grandmother in isiXhosa) started teaching when she was merely 17 years old, she is now 91. And her aunty is an ECD teacher for the deaf and also served the Department of ECD.

Jessica-Marie studied her Level 5 ECD at the College of Cape Town in June 2014 and went on to work as a teacher in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape. She returned to Cape Town and volunteered at the Nonceba Centre for abused women and children teaching maths to young children. In 2016 she started her degree and in 2018 she started volunteering at Kwakhanya Preschool (Ikamva Labantu’s model preschool in Khayelitsha) and says she loved every minute of it. Now she is a permanent part of our Ikamva team.

Jess did something selfless for her birthday this year!

Jess has been able to see first-hand how COVID-19 has affected Cape Town’s township communities. She says that many families are starving due to the lockdown and not being able to get to work. For her birthday she decided that she would ask her family and friends who are used to spoiling her at this time of the year, to donate instead to Ikamva Labantu’s COVID-19 relief efforts. She created a Facebook donation page where she managed to raise R2 800 and those that didn’t donate through this platform give directly to Ikamva. Her philosophy is that if you do have – you should give because as much as you give, you will receive!

Jessica-Marie, we love you and WE are very privileged to have you as part of the Ikamva team. You are a true IKAMVA HERO.

Thank you, Ladles of Love!

Ladles of Love is the organisation that provides Ikamva Labantu and another 25 NGOs who serve communities across the Western Cape with nourishing meals, sandwiches and food packs. Danny Diliberto, Ladles of Love founder, assisted by Margolite William, and a team of around 40 volunteers, produce enormous quantities of food each day.

Over the past year, Ladles of Love has partnered with Ikamva Labantu, to provide ongoing donations of non-perishable food to our Afternoon Angels programme. Before the lockdown, the Afternoon Angels programme kept children safe in the afternoons, shielding them from the dangers of crime, gangsterism and substance abuse on their neighbourhood streets.

In this new reality where hunger stalks thousands of men, women and children, Ladles of Love continue their outreach and have extended their services to many more.
Thank you Danny, Margolite and Ladles of Love team for your ongoing generosity and commitment as we travel along this uncharted road together.

A big thank you to Sydelle Willow Smith for the beautiful photographs

Meet Mildred Bopoto…

Mildred is the Programme Manager for Early Childhood Development (ECD) at Ikamva Labantu where it is her responsibility to ensure the smooth running of the ECD Department’s 4 programmes, namely: Registration Help Desk, Principals Training Programme, Practitioners Training Programme and Ikamva Labantu Model Preschool, Kwakhanya. During COVID-19, Mildred has been managing her team remotely as well as planning for and coordinating food distribution to unfunded ECD centres in Khayelitsha.

Mildred has been a valuable part of Ikamva Labantu team since January 2010. Her roots are in Zhombe, Zimbabwe where she was born and raised. Now she is a mom of 2 teenage daughters. She obtained her qualification in education and is currently studying towards her Early Childhood Development & Foundation Phase B. Ed degree.

“I do the work that I do because I love making a difference in people’s lives. The most rewarding part of the job is seeing some of the traumatised children we work with coming out of their shells and being carefree and happy in our Kwakhanya ECD centre. Also, trainees say that after receiving Ikamva Labantu training they feel they are ‘somebody’ in life.”

Thank you for the beautiful photo, Sydelle Willow Smith.

“Food safety, everyone’s business” – World Food Safety Day

Ikamva Labantu chatted about Food Safety with special guest Danny Diliberto, founder of Ladles of Love.

World Food Safety Day, started by the World Health Organisation, is celebrated on 7 June in order to encourage conversation and action around safety measures relating to food security and human health. This is a crucial topic to discuss during COVID-19 with the increased distribution of food as part of emergency relief efforts. ⁣

How do organisations involved with emergency relief efforts manage both the risk of meeting a need and protecting beneficiaries during a time of crisis?

The heartbeat of the Ikamva Labantu family

Ikamva Labantu celebrate’s our community-based staff, the heartbeat of our family. Each and every staff member has gone above and beyond during this uncertain season tossing away job titles and embracing the uncertainty it has to offer. We salute you, all our Ikamva heroes!

Thank you to Sydelle Willow Smith for the incredibly beautiful photographs featured in the video.

Community mobilisation – the power of people

Dear Ikamva Labantu supporters,

Firstly, we want to share a message received from a true community hero in Cape Town:

“Let me take this time to thank Ikamva Labantu in partnership with us, the Afternoon Angels. Yesterday, a group of community was standing outside next to my car. When I approach them, they just come to thank me for the wonderful job that Afternoon  Angels are doing for them. “We don’t have words to thank you but God knows why did He bring you to us, we watching you Sisi (sister) for everything you do. Keep it up because we only see these deliveries on TV. Enkosi mntana womntu uThixo Akubusise. God Bless You!)” those were their words. I just left them with a smile on my face, but as I drive to my house, I cried thanking God for my life and the support received from Ikamva Labantu. Thanks guys.”  – Lucy Monareng, Vice-Chairperson of the Afternoon Angels group.

VITAL community mobilisation – the power of people

Thanks to the support of our incredible donor community, Ikamva Labantu is able to expand its reach to assist a large number of courageous citizens who have already taken action to feed and assist those in need. Ikamva’s strategy to tackle COVID-19, with the help of our large team of Community-Based Workers who have extensive local knowledge, is to identify, consult and support these active community members.

The neighbourhood feeding groups play a vital role in warding off starvation and enabling people to practice sanitization and hygiene to prevent the spread of the disease. Ikamva currently provides resources to 100 feeding sites situated across Cape Town’s townships and two rural areas are assisted. The number of groups grows daily and our reach is expanded to Johannesburg. It is estimated that over 250 people will receive food via each site.

Feeding group 1

Feeding group 2

What has been ACHIEVED over the past three weeks:

Through the incredible support of our donor community, Ikamva Labantu has been able to carry out the following essential COVID-19 services:

  • 1 200 senior citizens received food parcels and hygiene packs. Two deliveries took place so far
  • 2 000 families received 3kg of fortified maize meal as a first-line emergency response. Children’s books in the local language, isiXhosa, were also included in this delivery
  • Next month, food parcels will be delivered to 195 preschools and 29 afterschool clubs, reaching 7 000 more families, as well as 975 childcare workers who are now without any income
  • Food parcels are delivered to the homes of 74 children who regularly attend the Ikamva Labantu model preschool in Khayelitsha
  • Ongoing essential training is provided to staff and partners in disinfection and safety techniques
  • Psycho-social telephonic support is provided to those in distress, while the resident social workers continue to give face-to-face assistance in critical cases such as domestic violence

Currently, the estimated reach is between four and six people in each household every time a package is delivered. Therefore, our donor community’s contributions have so far impacted the health and wellbeing of over 17,500 people!

Ikamva Labantu’s continued relief efforts are currently planned for May, June and July.

Fortified maize meal

Food parcels

Protective face masks

In anticipation of a nationwide shortage of masks in South Africa, Ikamva Labantu’s supporters, four incredible people, were inspired to hand-make masks – THANK YOU, Anna, Audrey, Romy and Tina! These masks are used to protect the Ikamva heroes – those working tirelessly on the ground to support their neighbours.

Anna, an amazing teenager, made a huge effort, together with her mom who is a medical advisor to Ikamva Labantu, and did research to find the correct pattern, and then single-handedly sew over 100 masks! We truly admire Anna’s caring spirit as she’s managing this vast task together with her schooling responsibilities.

A MASSIVE thank you to our “mask-makers” for continuing to sew every day!

Audrey sewing masks

Anna masks


We look forward to keeping you informed about the progress and activities on the ground.

With heartfelt gratitude for your continuing support,

The Ikamva Labantu team

Day 14 of lockdown – Ikamva Labantu update from the field

Humanitarian response and deliveries of essential items

Day 14 of lockdown in South Africa. Ikamva Labantu is addressing the unfolding humanitarian crisis that the young and the old in the townships are experiencing. Procurement of food in collaboration with local businesses has begun and a system of food distribution to participants of the Senior Citizens Programme and the Kwakhanya Model Preschool is successfully underway. Local taxi drivers are being employed for deliveries.

Our COVID-19 Emergency Response appeal is ongoing as we plan to expand our activities to reach more people in need. We are preparing to deliver fortified maize meal to over 7 000 children from next week. To contribute to these vital relief efforts, please make a donation by clicking this link:, USA donors :

A true Ikamva Labantu Hero!

Ikamva Labantu’s Human Resources Manager Xolisa Matoti, his family and the community in Ashton decided to address the hunger issue of the local children and surrounding impoverished farms. Xolisa’s team managed to distribute more than 300 sandwiches and when/how.  Well done, Xolisa, for representing the name of Ikamva Labantu so well. We are very proud of you all!

“The kids came in numbers. They were so excited and couldn’t wait to be served. It was fun and looking forward to serving our beloved communities again.”, says Xolisa.


We celebrate incredible supporters, like you!


Today we celebrate a couple of the supporters who extend unbound love to seniors and youth through their selfless actions. Jay, a friend of Ikamva Labantu, started a Facebook fundraising campaign to auction beautiful pieces of jewellery every week in honour of her deceased mother, a doctor of infectious diseases who designed and created each piece. She said that if her mom were still here today she would be on the frontline during this difficult time. Visit Jay’s Facebook page to see the upcoming pieces she will have on auction.



Maria Matseke is not only is she a mother of four, but works full-time for Ikamva. She has a deep love for South Africa and its people and started Ikamva’s social enterprise, Ikamva Design to bring income to senior citizens existing on meagre pensions. To assist Ikamva during this difficult time, Maria set up a GivenGain page, selected Ikamva Labantu as the beneficiary, and has raised over R51,000 to date. This money is being used to play a critical role in the work that is being done on the ground – making sure the Ikamva Labantu seniors and youth are kept fed and sanitized. Find out how to start your GivenGain page by emailing


With love and gratitude,

The Ikamva Labantu team.


Being a senior citizen in the township during lockdown

Lulama Sigasana, Head of Ikamva Labantu Senior Citizens Programme, sheds some light on what it is like to be a senior in a township neighbourhood during this time of lockdown. We encourage you to think about those who are feeling lonely and isolated.

Ikamva Labantu has been blessed with a generous donor community that has rallied around our seniors during this time making deliveries of food and hygiene packs possible last week.  These deliveries ensure food security that our beloved seniors receive from attending the clubs.

Please partner with us during this time by making a donation towards flattening the curve:, USA donors :