The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world over, and while the world waits for schools and offices to reopen, there are some who continue to do their work behind closed doors. These individuals are touching lives in the very same way they did on a regular, daily basis, prior to lockdown in South Africa. Let us look to these women in this difficult time, as a source of inspiration and motivation. If they can stay home and make a difference, we can too.
The Mamas of Clover Mama Afrika are used to working under pressure and being solution-oriented, they do after all, work in disadvantaged areas helping the needy already. Clover Mama Afrika, Clover’s corporate sustainability initiative, aims to further empower women who are already doing good in communities across the nation with various vital skills such as cooking, baking, sewing, quilting, business management and food gardening.
“We live by the ethos “Ukwakha Isizwe”, which means “building and nurturing our nation”, and while lockdown may have closed our Mamas in their homes and centres, it hasn’t stopped them from doing what they do best. And due to the skills we’ve taught them, they are able to keep themselves and those in their care busy during this difficult time,” says Prof Elain Vlok, Clover Manager, Clover Mama Afrika Trust.
The Mamas have remained very busy since lockdown was announced; below is an update from some of the Mamas, including images they’ve shared via WhatsApp as they continue to motivate and inspire each other:
Mama Phumla Goje of Dibashe Special Centre in Mdantsane
Mama Phumla forms part of the ECD Forum and helps to provide food parcels to the families identified and listed to receive parcels. Currently Mama Phumla has a list of 26 families in the Potsdam Location and assists them on a daily basis. “I have received a Working Permit to help these families and the list is growing daily. I will do my part during this time of need,” she says with commitment.
Mama Phomolo Raisa of Self-Help Pre-School in Botshabelo
Mama Phomolo and Mama Florence are manning their centre alone at this stage, but they are keeping busy with an order of Church uniforms they’ve received. “It is unfortunate that we had to send our members home as per our President’s order, but everyone’s health comes first. My mom and I will continue to attend and maintain the projects at the centre and do what we can,” says Mama Phomolo.
Mama Rina Malan of Amadea Safe House in Pretoria
Mama Rina has restructured her centre to accommodate her projects with the children in her care. Mama Rina says, “I have structured each week of lockdown with a specific project for the teenagers. We took all our beads from the centre into my dining room and the teenagers are helping to make new stock for when we are in full operation again and this virus is behind us. Everyone is coming up with new styles and ideas of what we can do. This week will be for sewing and embroidery; we will probably be making smaller items like bags and purses. Week three will be for woodwork and mosaic. We still have to fit in the schoolwork as well so for us it is a busy time. We let the children wash their hands often and clean the house (walls, doors, working surfaces and floors etc.) with the sanitizing tablets we received from Clover Mama Afrika. We also use this solution in spray bottles to disinfect door handles and everything we touch during the day. Our staff all went home for their safety and well-being. I am kept very busy with the children in my care, but we have fun doing the work. I am also teaching them to ‘line dance’ over weekends which they really enjoy, and it also keeps us fit.”
Mama Nondumiso Mpitimpiti of Step Ahead Centre in Amalinda Forest
Mama Nondumiso is keeping the children in her care as active as possible. “We are confined at the centre and are taking all precautions necessary to remain hygienic. I am proud to say that I can still provide my community with fresh eggs, thanks to the egg-laying project that Clover Mama Afrika provided us earlier this year,” says Mama Nondumiso.
Mama Dorah Semenya of Shalate Drop In Centre in Seshego
Mama Dorah was proud to inform us that donations from Clover Polokwane were used to make up food parcels for the 114 children in her care to take home for their families. Just prior to lockdown, they also held a workshop to re-emphasise hygiene during the lockdown. Mama Dorah is in constant contact with all the family members via a WhatsApp group that she created.
Mama Engelina Molete of Lejwe La Thuso Foundation in Dobsonville
Mama Engelina has been cleaning up and preparing her food plot with limited manpower due to lockdown. “My food plot is just across the street and we are pressing on with what we can do during these challenging times,” she says.
 Mama Engelina amongst her food plot that will in due time transform into a viable food garden/plot for her community.
Mama Daphne Oliphant of House of Mercy in Roodewal
Mama Daphne and her small live-in team are keeping busy during the lockdown. She thanks Prof Elain Vlok for all the added value skills received and adds, “How can I forget the most important person in my life that has enriched me with so many skills. The children in my care are able to keep busy with mosaic, sewing and decorating their own handbags. My baker, Charlie, was also able to use his Clover Mama Afrika recipes, he baked Prof Elain’s chocolate cake and made a scrumptious malva pudding for us all. We are going strong!”
“We’re thrilled that the skills we’ve taught our Mamas can be used to keep them productive during this time”, concludes Prof Vlok.
About Clover Mama Afrika
Clover Mama Afrika is a sustainable Corporate Social Investment project that has been in existence since 2004. Over the years the project has hosted 417 training sessions with over 2241 beneficiaries. Teaching and guiding strong females (lovingly called ‘Mamas’ due to their standing in their neighbourhoods) in communities all over the country, in order to build their skills and sustain and improve their own community projects. Only the most committed are enrolled and these include women looking after orphans, the elderly and those suffering from HIV/Aids.