For over 10 years, the Clover Mama Afrika team have worked hard to sharpen women’s skills and equip them to lead their communities by feeding the hungry and assisting with employment amongst community members who are in need of work. This year the project took its tools to Nelson Mandela Bay for the first time, to host the annual Smarties Week with the Clover Mama Afrika mamas.
The Clover Mama Afrika initiative has set out to restore some of the best aspects of African tradition into modern life, such as caring for one another, passing on skills and protecting the young, the weak and the aged. At the heart of the programme are the carefully chosen “mamas” who already act as pillars of strength in their communities. The annual Smarties Week is a hands-on training initiative that sees the Clover Mama Afrika mamas travel from all corners of the country, to attend value-added workshops that complement their existing self-help projects.
During this year’s skills building week, the mamas worked on mosaicking individual tables and chairs as well as sharpening their skills in flower arranging and baking which is in-line with this year’s theme, ‘Pride and Joy’. The mamas enjoyed a health information workshop which was hosted by the Health[e] Foundation from the Netherlands as well as learning a new hand sewing technique and decoupage work. “This year, we surprised the mamas by teaching them how to mosaic, setup and prepare a table to assist them in the hospitality field. We always believe in pushing the envelope with our Smarties Week to make sure our mamas’ walk away satisfied, knowing that they’ve learned something valuable and tangible to help grow their projects and businesses. Essentially the more they know the more people they can assist in their communities,” explains manager for Clover’s corporate services, Professor Elain Vlok.
The week kicked off with a team building session on Hobbie Beach, sponsored by Tropika to welcome the women to the workshop. For the past few years the annual Clover Mama Afrika Smarties Week event was held in George but the team decided to move it to Nelson Mandela Bay this time around to introduce the mamas to a new area; many of them have not travelled so it was a wonderful opportunity for them to see their country as well as learn new skills. “It is fulfilling for us to be able to bring the mamas to a city that some have only heard of or travelled through before. This Smarties Week gave them the opportunity to enjoy the venue and experience it with each other which is really special,” explains Vlok.
One of the most memorable training sessions for the week involved baking when the mamas braved the winter cold from 6am to start their baking training with Siyabonga Africa and Prof Elain Vlok, who shared her famous vetkoek recipe which made for a wholesome breakfast. When the baked goods were ready, the women handed them out to the children of Khaya Cheshire, a Day Care centre offered by Cheshire Home in Port Elizabeth. Since 2001, Cheshire Khaya has assisted in taking care of disabled children from the Quebera Township, by taking them to and from school, teaching them basic skills and helping to feed them and their families. “Sharing what we’ve baked is so rewarding. It gives us a sense of accomplishment and a chance to meet people from the area,” adds Vlok.
In true Clover Mama Afrika style, the week ended off with an Awards evening where each Clover Mama Afrika is acknowledged for their selfless work and to present further special recognition awards which were for:
- Mama Florence Nyakiso of Botshabelo, Free State as the Performer Extraordinaire;
- Mama Daphne Oliphant of Roodewal, Worcester was awarded the Top Cleanliness and Hygiene award as well as Business Woman of the Year award;
- Mama Selestien Moses of Ashbury, Montagu as Top Achiever of the Year as well as recognised as the mama with the Ultimate Cleanliness and Hygiene;
- Mama Mirriam Toni of Mbekweni, Paarl was awarded Most Improved.
- Other Cleanliness and Hygiene awards went to Mama Dorah Semenya of Seshego, Limpopo and Mama Glenrose Mashiqa of Mdantsane, Eastern Cape.
- The Special Recognition award went to fellow Clover colleague Gerhard Kriel for his passion and commitment towards his respective Clover Mama Afrikas as well as for the insight he has and provides on the projects core objectives.
The Clover Mama Afrika mamas started this year’s Smarties Week on Hobbie Beach in Port Elizabeth ahead of the week-long value-added workshops.
(From right) Mama Lizzy Magama, Mama Zahke (Susan) Rammekwa, Mama Sipiwe Solomons and Mama Selestien Moses as well as some of the other Clover Mama Afrika mamas putting some final touches to the freshly baked bread loaves during their Siyabonga Africa bread baking training.
About Clover Mama Afrika
The Clover Mama Afrika project started as a humble project 11 years ago and has since developed into Clover’s flagship CSI programme. The project currently has 41 Mamas who run successful care centres throughout South Africa. These remarkable women collectively care for over 15 500 children and 2 500 elderly people, many of which are abused, orphaned, homeless and vulnerable.
The Clover Mama Afrika project received the Rural Development Award at the 2nd Annual SA Premier Business Awards hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry in 2014. The project won the award for recognising and promoting community projects that are part of Government’s strategic interventions in poverty alleviation.
Clover’s part in this project is to empower these Mamas with vital skills such as: cooking, baking, sewing, crocheting, business management, food gardening and bread baking skills. Over and above the training sessions these women are all supplied with the necessary tools, equipment and infrastructure to create an income for their communities. For more information on the Clover Mama Afrika project visit: www.clovermamaafrika.com
The project is proudly supported by Eqstra Flexi Fleet, Mix Telematics and Expeditors International.
Issued on behalf of: Clover
Issued by: Jenni Newman Public Relations (Pty) Ltd
Tel: 011 506 7357 / 082 777 5427
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