Com­mu­nity leader gives a help­ing hand in so­ci­ety

The Star Late Edition - - METRO -

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.

NOKUTHULA MBATHA African News Agency (ANA)

LINDA Twala poses with 111-year-old James Duma and grand­daugh­ter Sarah Ma­gaga with a plasma screen that was given to them at Alexan­dra. |

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