Ready for climb of lifetime to aid impoverished schoolgirls
North West woman joins #Trek4Mandela to raise funds to purchase sanitary pads
THEMBI Hatang knows first hand the pain of not having sanitary pads and, as a result, she does not want to see another generation of girls struggle.
Hatang grew up as one of four girls in the North West and says it was a struggle for her family to buy sanitary pads for them.
“My mother was a domestic worker and my father a bus driver. They could only buy enough for us to share.
“We only used the pads when going to school, and when at home, we had to make other means like using cloths.”
It is because of this that Hatang felt it was important to join the Trek4Mandela expedition to climb Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, in an effort to raise funds for schoolgirls.
Hatang said she always liked doing charity work in communities but never thought she would have to go up a mountain to do it.
In 2015 her husband, Sello, Nelson Mandela Foundation’s CEO, tried to convince her to go on the expedition with him but she refused.
“He wanted me to go with him but I told him he can do his crazy things on his own. But in 2016 when Gugu [Zulu] died trying to raise funds for girls, I said ‘why can’t I do it?’
“He pushed me to say that if I want to see change, it must start from me.”
She said she realises her 15-year-old daughter is lucky to not face the same problems as her peers. “I have a daughter and although she does not have to worry about us affording [sanitary towels], I want the same opportunities for other girls. I know how it is like to not have and I need to make a difference wherever I can,” she said.
Hatang, who is currently studying for a post-graduate certificate in Education with the ultimate goal of being an educational psychologist, said: “There is always a lot of inequality in schools and I don’t want sanitary pads to be another barrier. At the school where I teach at right now, the children have to deal with so many things. There is high unemployment rates in the community, they don’t have all the resources they need to succeed in school so sanitary pads have to be one less barrier.”
During her spare time, Hatang volunteers at Golang Education Outreach where she is also a board member. The outreach is based in the Emthonjeni Community Centre in Honeydew, mainly serving the Zandspruit informal settlement community and offers support to children as young as three.
I want the same opportunities for other girls
Hatang is raising funds for her old school Tswelelopele High School in Itsoseng, North West and the school where she teaches, Zandspruit Primary.
Thembi Hatang will climb Mount Kilimanjaro next week.
TRAINING: Thembi Hatang practising on the stairs to keep fit in time for the highest peak trek.