Special Statement from Our Founder, Helen Lieberman

“I saw hope, and I wanted to be a part of that hope”

Helen Lieberman

People often ask me why I went back into the townships after my first visit in 1963. The answer is simple: I saw hope, and I wanted to be a part of that hope. After experiencing the destructiveness of Apartheid, I wanted to join a movement towards a better future for the country. I also could not live with myself, knowing what I had just seen and knowing I could use my training and resources to assist.

 The past sixty years have seen unbelievable growth. Ikamva Labantu has weathered many crises and celebrated countless achievements, all directed by the community whose voice and ownership are entrenched in everything we do. We bought land and built schools, preschools, older persons’ clubs, and multi-purpose centres. We helped young children, orphan children, school aged children, destitute people, the blind, the disabled and seniors. After many years we decided to concentrate our focus on our current areas: daycare, after-school programs and senior programs. 

 People always ask me, wasn’t I afraid of going into the townships? I was always protected by those I came to help. I felt no fear. I saw the wonder and the determination of dedicated individuals who were giving all they could to help others. I saw people tackle challenges and turn them into opportunities. Their selfless acts inspired and moved me so deeply and so powerfully that I could not sleep at night and would lie awake for hours figuring out how I could add value.

 We hope you will join us later this year as we celebrate our important milestone.

Celebrating 60 years of Ikamva Labantu

During the 1960s, Helen Lieberman and a group of courageous activists embarked on a mission to change the devastating impact of the Apartheid system.

Although many of these unsung heroes are no longer with us, Helen and their families continue to honour the founder members of Ikamva Labantu by carrying on their selfless work to empower and uplift their neighbours. Their legacy of goodwill will endure for generations to come.

Initially, Ikamva Labantu started with humble beginnings, including small creative activities, preschools, council meetings for older person, marches, factories, and small businesses.

Today, the organisation is a registered non-profit and public benefit organisation with 122 employees, 90% of whom hail from the communities it serves. It has 3 core programmes; Early Childhood Development, Older Persons’ Programme and Afternoon Angels Afterschool Care Programme and continues to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses to thrive.

Explore the pivotal moments in over six decades of Ikamva Labantu’s rich history of serving and dedicating to improving the lives and opportunities of people living in township communities in South Africa.

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