For love of the game…

The picture to the left is of the new Orlando Stadium which will soon be on display to the world when the soccer world cup kicks off in a couple of weeks.

This weekend though it will be home to the Blue Bulls and the Stormers in the Super 14 final. To say that I am not a rugby fanatic would be an understatement but what has caught my attention is a post on brought to my attention by active Tweeters, @talk2imagine and @antiekoekie:

What Clint expressed in words is surely the heartfelt sentiment of many South Africans in their willingness to make a meaningful contribution to impoverished communities and to build bridges between historical adversaries based on racial divides.

We’ve always known that sport is such a powerful connector of people, winning hearts and minds through simple passion for ‘the game’.  I was thinking that it would be wonderful to help Clints’ request come to fruition, and I honestly believe that the Twitter Blanket Drive (#TBD) is just the vehicle to do that. #TBD has grown quite remarkably in just over 3 weeks now, and the national TweetUps take place on the same day as the Super 14 final.

The idea is quite simply; get every fan attending the game to donate a blanket or item of warm clothing. The stadium capacity is 40,000. All tickets were sold out within an hour of going on sale. If just 1 in 10 contributed, we would collect 4,000 items that could be provided to the surrounding community.

Regarding who would benefit from this collection; the answer came quite easily through another Tweeter, @jenty, who had already done work in the Doornkop area.  We would donate all proceeds to the D Hani Creche in Doornkop, Soweto, or more specifically – leave them in the trusted and capable hands of Nthabiseng Dimpho who started the creche and is a wellknown and respected community leader. Here is her story as penned by Jeannette Verster on her blog:

Mme Dimpho (as she’s known in the area) was one of 3 children. Her parents died when they were young and they lived in aunts and uncles home cleaning and cooking for them until her brother was old enough to look after them. She never went to school. He made her marry someone when she was 15 and she had 3 kids. She eventually got a job as a cleaner in Rand Mutual hospital and then started training as a nurse, until the hospital closed down when the mine closed.

One day she was at home, when a man came to her house with a baby who was very hot. She tried to bring the fever down, but it didn’t work. Eventually she took the child to Baragwanath where the doctors examined the 9 month old and discovered that she had been sexually abused. The baby eventually died from her injuries and the father of the baby was never found.

That incident made Nthabiseng decide to start a daycare instead of just sitting around the house waiting for a job.

The daycare centre is in the area where she lived. It’s in a low-cost housing and shack dwellers area called Doornkop which is on the West side of Soweto. The centre cares for 130 children between the ages of 6 months and 6 years.

The school is not the only thing that she does in the community. She runs a feeding scheme from the creche for 15 granny headed households where the parents have died and the grannies can’t get government grants because they can’t get ID documents (one of the households she feeds has a granny with 8 kids). She also fosters 8 children at her house and she can’t get grants for them either.

Since looking into this opportunity I have also learnt that June is Month of the Child and Nthabiseng’s aim is to provide a blanket to every child in the broader Doornkop informal settlement. No mean feat. But, we can certainly help her achieve her goal.

So, what now?

  • We need Orlando Stadium to approve this initiative and give permission to set up collection points in and around the stadium at the time of the final game.
  • Both rugby teams have VERY active websites – we need them to actively publicise this charity drive and to encourage their fans to bring blankets to the game for donation thereafter.

Simple hey?

I’m sure we’ll be able to sort out other logistics like transporting the goods from stadium to the creche for safekeeping, and arranging volunteers to man collection points. No problem too big if this is something we all WANT to do.

Logistically, I do think it would be best if the fans held onto their blankets during the game (it’s cold for fans too!) and deposit their donations on their way out.

So, who’s game?

Your support is great but your contacts would be better 🙂 to get this thing off the ground VERY quickly.

Please feel free to link to this article in your own blog or website. Thanks!

For more info and images about D Hani Creche visit Jeanette Versters’ blog
You can read up on #TBD on this blog or visit the official website.


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