Community leader gives a helping hand in society
WHILE most Joburg residents are now finalising their end-of-year holiday plans, not everyone is looking forward to the festive season, especially the many unemployed Alexandra residents who live next to some of the city’s wealthiest suburbs.
And this year, following shack fire deaths and flash floods in which many people lost their homes and possessions, things are looking bleak.
Alexandra community leader Linda Twala, of the Phutaditjaba Centre, collects hampers to distribute at two Christmas parties every year – one for the elderly who survive on a meagre pension and another for children who are orphans or who head households.
The parcels help tide them over the holidays when the feeding scheme, which Twala runs on a daily basis, is closed.
“Most of the aged in the area are people who worked as domestics and gardeners in the city’s suburbs and who, when they became too old to work, were left to fend for themselves without a proper pension. Many rely solely on their state pensions,” he said.
This year, the parties will be held on December 6 and 7.
Twala has been a community leader for 51 years. In 1967 he founded a centre for the aged where they could get medical care, food and companionship.
The centre grew from strength to strength from a corrugated iron clinic to a proper satellite clinic. It now also has a library, a community board room and hall, and a soup kitchen.
The centre feeds over 200 children and 150 aged people a day. Twala says that 90% of Alexandrians are unemployed.
“There is real poverty there, but the worst-affected are the elderly, the orphans and child-headed households. Every Christmas, we try to give food parcels to as many people as we can. We are aiming at distributing 6 000 food parcels to see them over the festive season. It would be wonderful if people out there could adopt a granny or an orphan,” he said.
Twala is appealing to people to contribute food parcels, toiletries and clothing.
“I am blessed to have reached many lives in my many years of community service. It has been a journey that injects me with hope and energy to do more for my community.”
Twala is the recipient of many humanitarian awards for his community service, including the Inyathelo Awards for Lifetime Philanthropy. Anyone who can assist should contact Twala on 082 442 2866. He is willing to collect donations.
LINDA Twala poses with 111-year-old James Duma and granddaughter Sarah Magaga with a plasma screen that was given to them at Alexandra. |