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Planting vegetables, doing laundry and general cleaning work were undertaken at the Poortjie Hospice by City staff in a Nelson Mandela Day initiative.
NELSON Mandela Day in Poortjie was a day for Region G officials to give a helping hand at Poortjie Hospice, planting vegetables and doing laundry.


67 minutes sprucing up the hopsice yard67 minutes sprucing up the hospice yardFully equipped with gardening and cleaning utensils, the 80 staff members from the City’s Region G urban management and agricultural departments, headed to Poortjie, where they spent the day at the hospice.

Poortjie, which lies about 60 kilometres south of Joburg’s CBD, is a small township of only a few streets with a mixture of shacks and brick houses. It is on the furthest southwestern point of the Joburg municipal boundary, and was born out of farmlands and thrives on agriculture.

This little community, plagued with poverty, is one of the poorest areas in Region G.

Its local hospice was the centre of attention on 18 July as volunteers and City staff members planted veggies, cleaned, cooked and did laundry for the terminally ill patients who call the hospice home.

Zodwa Maseko, the communications and media officer in the region, championed the initiative. “We will be creating a garden and planting seeds for them … our team will wash the walls, windows and do an entire spring cleaning effort for them.”

They would also be rolling up their sleeves to do laundry and cook for the patients, she said. “We chose it because this is one of the most neglected areas in Joburg. Our region has adopted this hospice as one of our pet projects and we make regular donations of clothing and food to it.”

A winter clothing drive was held by the region for Nelson Mandela Day and the clothes collected were also handed out. The hospice is run by an NGO with 28 staff members, who care for over a hundred terminally ill adult and child patients.


Region G director Mlamleli Belot spends 67 minutes growing veggies at Poortjie HospiceRegion G director Mlamleli Belot spends 67 minutes growing veggies at Poortjie HospiceThe hospice uses the produce from its gardens as often as possible to cook for the patients; when the garden is bare the kitchen staff relies on food donations. The vegetables planted by volunteers will help the hospice with the daily meals.

Nomsa Rebecca Njikelana, the hospice manager, said the Nelson Mandela Day initiative “means a lot to us so now we don’t have buy or rely on donations all the time; we can use the veggies from the garden”. Fresh produce is essential for these patients because of its nutritional value.

Mlamleli Belot, the regional director, was also on hand to water the garden after the planting. He said the initiative was very important because Mandela spent 67 years of his life serving humanity. Even though it was his birthday, the day was about the lessons he had taught.

“It’s about giving selflessly, so for us in Region G today is about putting others first,” he said.

“We decided to come to the hospice, because it’s a place of help for those who are suffering and we can exercise empathy and lend a helping hand … We want this to become a culture. We must always serve others, just like Madiba.”

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