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A bunch of celebrities were entertained by boys from Twilight Children, where they threw a party to donate much-needed items.
EXCITEMENT overflowed at the Twilight Children shelter, where boys put the final touches to their singing, acting and gumboot dance performances, preparing for the party later in the day.


Azania Ndoro prepares a meal for the boysAzania Ndoro prepares a meal for the boysThe boys were preparing for the Bring a Tin party on 9 April, organised by actress Thandy Matlaila and Lebo Semetsamere. And then it was time for the festivities – the shelter welcomed a host of celebrities. They were entertained by the boys, who performed a sketch showing the importance of respect and forgiveness.

Set on the mean streets of Joburg, the play was about three homeless boys who talked about how they ended up on the street. One of them is convicted of his mistakes.

As a result, he returned home and apologised to his parents. They accepted his apology and took him back to school. At the end of the play, he went to his friends, who still lived on the street, and talked them into making amends with their families.

Other activities on the day included the repainting of the sickbay, an art exhibition, a braai and other live performances.

Khabonina Qubeka and Ntombi Ngcobo, from Amaponi, sang and danced with the delighted boys. They were joined by other well-known folk, among them Rami Chuene, Azania Ndoro and Sade, of So You Think You Can Dance.

The idea was to spend some time with the children and to get people to donate winter clothes, blankets, stationery, school uniforms, toiletries and tinned food to the centre.


The boys stage a sktch for the celebritiesStaging a sketch for the celebritiesMatlaila said she organised the party because she was an ambassador for change. “Two years ago I realised that when you do not have problems, it is very easy to forget about the next person. So for me, doing this is a way of serving those who are less fortunate than me. It is also a way for me to share my happiness with others.”

At the end of the day, the children received party packs of mini Easter eggs, marshmallows and sweets. While the others enjoyed themselves, Sandile Mdlalose, a trainee careworker trainee at the shelter, sat alone, smiling quietly to himself. The young man seemed to be taking in what was happening around him.

Mdlalose, who lived at the home before becoming a careworker, is originally from Newland West in Durban. He came to Joburg with his grandmother in 2004, he explained. He lived with her in Newtown for a couple of months before coming to Twilight Children.

He left her home as she mistreated him and they did not see eye-to-eye on a lot of matters. “My grandmother is one weird woman. She used to give me money and stuff but she would always lock me inside the house,” he said.

“I like it here because the place is like home for me. I have found friends here and the house parents are very nice. They treat us like their own children but when we are naughty, they punish us by grounding us or [making us] clean toilets and wash dishes for the whole month,” he added, with a bit of a chuckle.

Mdlalose finished high school in 2008. He would like to study for a degree in photography, but had not found someone to fund his studies yet. He was also interested in poetry, cooking, keeping fit and art, he explained.


Clean upTwilight boys clean up their homeAlso on his wish list, if his dream of becoming a photographer did not work out, was to be a cruise chef. But as he waited for his dreams to come true, he promised to work hard and serve Twilight Children with diligence.

Twilight Children
The shelter was formed in 1983 to help the children living on the cruel streets of Joburg. Based on the work of a number of volunteers, what was originally a soup kitchen was extended to a shelter.

Today, it supports children who live on the streets and in other public places without adequate or apparent adult and family support. Its focus is to deliver quality support structures for boys between the ages of eight and 18.

The organisation has a full-time shelter for over 90 boys who are enrolled in local schools if they are still of a school-going age. Those who are older are trained in different jobs, such as pottery, bead-making and baking.

Staff are employed to manage and maintain the shelter and provide services and support to the boys. In addition, Twilight Children has an outreach programme that provides support services for boys who remain on the street.

The shelter is in Hillbrow.

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