School for impoverished children protects them from social neglect
"I asked where my father was and all they showed me was a grave."
This refrain from a song sung by a group of happy children would have gone down well with someone unfamiliar with the lyrics in Sepedi.
But familiar with the message or not, listeners would have been moved when told that the entertainers were vulnerable children, some of whom were orphans.
Other children were from child-headed families, from single- parent and impoverished homes.
Their joy was contagious. So was their sorrow, thankfully cushioned by two meals, one in the morning and the other at noon, when they return from school.
The children attend school at Sedikong Sa Lerato, Sepedi for circle of love, in Tooseng Village in GaMphahlele, about 87km south-east of Polokwane.
The home was founded by Mavis Mathebula in 2005 and cares for 375 children aged between one and 18.
To further cushion the effect of circumstances on the children, Mama Angel, Sowetan's generous community-building mascot, paid Sedikong Sa Lerato a visit.
Mama Angel brought them educational toys and stationery worth R5000.
Mathebula applies heaps of creativity to stretch the meagre funds she is able to raise for Sedikong Sa Lerato, but still keeps the children happy.
One of her innovations is the staging of a huge birthday party each quarter for all the children who were born in that period.
The first one for this year was held on April 30, for 78 children whose birthdays fell between January 1 and April 1.
"Almost the whole community of Tooseng and beyond was here. We catered for them in three huge tents," she said.
"They enjoyed food and we cut 25 birthday cakes.
"A charitable organisation gave each of the 375 children a new pair of school shoes.
"It was wonderful," she said
l To view a video of the Mama Angel handing over ceremony, go to www.sowetan.co.za.