THERE was much excitement at the grand opening of the Mama Nondumiso Mpitimpiti’s Step Ahead Tea Garden, which took place on Mandela Day.
The tea garden comes as a result of Nondumiso winning the Clover Mama Afrika health and cleanliness award. The prize was R100000, sponsored by Mix Telematics and given to Clover to spend on Mama Nondumiso’s behalf.
“I chose to have a tea garden because I wanted a safe place for the children to go to.
“We are in a disadvantaged area; there’s a lot of poverty, unemployment and crime, I wanted to bring some beauty to this place and give youngsters a safe haven,” Nondumiso said.
The good Samaritan is the 42nd Clover Mama Afrika winner and the third in the East London area. With the help of Clover and various sponsors, Mama Nondumiso has managed to bring the Step Ahead Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre to what it is today.
The centre boasts a fully equipped playground, the Step Ahead bakery where community members are trained to bake, a small chapel and its newest addition, the Step Ahead tea garden.
The opening saw Mama Nondumiso receive high praise from community members as well as Clover Mama Afrika Trust manager Professor Elain Vlok and Mix Telematics’ human resources and transformation executive, Mariette Myburgh.
“It takes a very special person to do what Mama Nondumiso has done. She has made a huge impact in her community. She is the change we need in our country,” Vlok said.
Nondumiso started the ECD Centre in 2007. Today she cares for 104 pre-school children, co- ordinates 210 preschools in the province and cares for five foster homes housing 24 orphans.
“It is a hard battle to get to where you want to be, but it is great to have people who believe in you and help you along the way,” said an emotional Mama Nondumiso as she thanked Clover, Mix Telematics and her colleagues and family for their constant support.