R1.5m lotteries kick-start for Cheryl Zondi Foundation

Cheryl Zondi, who was allegedly sexually assaulted by Nigerian televangelist Timothy Omotoso, has received a massive donation for her new foundation.
Cheryl Zondi, who was allegedly sexually assaulted by Nigerian televangelist Timothy Omotoso, has received a massive donation for her new foundation.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Just one week after the Cheryl Zondi Foundation was launched, it has received R1.5m from the National Lotteries Commission (NLC).  

The commission's head of marketing and communications, Ndivhuho Mafela, confirmed the funding to Zondi’s organisation. He said the NLC board decided to fund the foundation because of the scourge of violence against women and children in the country.

Zondi launched her foundation in Johannesburg last Tuesday, saying it was aimed at helping other women who had experienced sexual assault or had had similar experiences to hers.

It is alleged that, when just 14, Zondi was sexually abused by alleged sex-pest pastor Timothy Omotoso. Zondi received widespread praise for her testimony in the trial of  Omotoso at the high court in Port Elizabeth.

"The funding is focused on supporting groups that provide aid and assistance to those who are deemed more vulnerable by society, those who are abused and treated violently or are afforded fewer opportunities than men," Mafela said. 

He added that Zondi’s organisation was among a number which were granted funding on Monday as part of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. He said the organisations were specifically chosen based on the work they did on issues of abuse, domestic violence and patriarchy.

Speaking at the launch last week, Zondi said she started the foundation to help victims of sexual abuse because there was a lack of awareness. 

"People out there are warned to be careful when they are out at night, but they are not necessarily warned when they are going to a church, a traditional space, ancestral space or any other kind of religious setting," she said.

Mafela said there were a variety of requirements needed for organisations to be considered eligible to receive funding, including that "NPOs are expected to submit their applications together with proposals".

He said there were three categories of funding:

  • small grants, which required beneficiaries to have a registered nonprofit organisation;
  • medium grants, which required beneficiaries to provide statements confirmed by an accountant; and
  • large grants, which required beneficiaries to submit audited financial statements.

While Zondi’s funding fell under the small grants category, Mafela said monitoring and evaluation would still take place.

"The evaluations are conducted to see if the money is used as per the application/funding request,” he said.

The Soul City Institute for Social Justice, Total Shutdown Movement, Majake Community Victim Support Centre, Izimvo 447, Women Integral Impact Network and Akonaho Victim Empowerment Programme also received funding of between R114,000 and R1.5m.

"It’s going to take a lot of people to stop turning a blind eye in order for our churches to be our sanctuaries, to become a safe space again. Thanks to the NLC for the support and funding. Hopefully in time we won’t have to deal with sacred spaces being turned into something else," Zondi told the commission.

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