I love to visit the orphan feeding project each time I come to Sabie. It feeds roughly 300 children twice a day, Monday to Friday. It’s not a part of the Sitabogogo project, but a number of the grandchildren that the gogos care for eat here. Zodwa Mkhonto and her unpaid volunteers are doing fantastic work, and this is one project I would love to see partnered with a Canadian support group.
With each visit I always notice changes – mostly encouraging, but they are not without their challenges. On my last visit I learned that, as their veggie garden was coming into full production, it was routinely raided. The night after they had finally laid down new copper water pipes, they were dug up and stolen. Recently a gov’t source of their funding dried up and they were down to their last few bags of meilie and were talking of shutting down. Unexpectedly, one of the grocery stores liquidated in Sabie and gave all their perishables to them – deus ex machina!
This time I had a big surprise. The children had apparently been preparing a program for their Christmas party and my visit prompted a dress rehearsal of their show. It was amazing – all kinds of dancing, singing, drama and poetry performance that went on for an hour and a half. Such talent, and it thrilled me! After some young boys did their gumboot demonstration, I jumped up and showed them 10 seconds worth of gumboot dance I knew, much to the surprise and amusement of all.
Since my last visit, they now have two young social workers who come for an hour or two in the afternoon to help children with their homework around a table in the kitchen. At the same time in the big hall, groups of kids practice dancing, singing and drama.
The big question that is only now beginning to be whispered in the wings of the world stage is this: As the gogo generation begins to pass away, the next huge social question looming on the horizon is that of the hurting, parentless orphans who are growing into the working and ruling generation. How will their experience shape the future of this country?