It’s been four months since taking over the reins at Mamelani and I am very grateful for the amount of support and encouragement I have received from the team, my family and friends. Over the years, I have read and taught a great deal about transitions and I now realise that no amount of knowledge could have fully prepared me for the demands of this new role. But I am learning to balance growing into the role while simultaneously responding to the needs of the organisation and the people we serve.
In October, I challenged myself to do a 3 peaks challenge; I climbed Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain and Lions Head to mark my transition into my role and at the same time raise money for the organisation. The challenge allowed me time to reflect on my approach to leadership and how I intend on navigating the many mountains ahead of Mamelani. I learnt that climbing mountains requires an understanding of knowing when to run and when to walk, and to never go at a pace that makes people feel vulnerable. I learnt the importance of breathing both as an athlete and as an organisation; deep breathing allows oxygen to reach every part of the body and plays a vital role in eliminating toxins and building new cells. I also learnt the importance of stopping to enjoy the view, to appreciate the flowers and acknowledge the progress made. I hope that these lessons will serve me in good stead as we look upon the many mountains ahead of us.
Organisationally, it’s also been an all-round transitional time. Because of the uncertain economic and political climate we are in, we’ve had to tighten our financial belts while remaining fully committed to transformation both inside and outside the organisation. There have been a lot of challenges during this transitional period but we’ve put our heads down and have done so much work. We want to share with you some of the highlights. 

We chose more team members
We welcomed Lewis Kalombo, Adjmali Kwitonda and Terri-Lynn Smith onto the youth team, Nontobi Mamkeli onto the health team and we hired Dorette Knoblauch permanently as our office manager. We wish them all the best on their Mamelani journey!
Mamelani’s matriarchs

In September, Mamelani celebrated its 15th AGM and it was very fitting that the staff team decided to collaborate and sing at the event. The song “we never give up” is a testimony of how far we have come and our commitment to a collective effort to enhance the resilience of the organisation and the people it serves. The event gave us the grand opportunity to acknowledge two of Mamelani’s matriarchs, co-founders Thandi Blie and Cleopatra Sawuti. They each received a blanket as a way of honouring them as elders and leaders at the organisation. Halaala!

Influencing legislation
Mamelani has been engaged in the deliberations of the Children’s Third Amendment Bill and in September made a submission to strengthen the support our legislation offers young people leaving alternative care. We are proud that we have played a pivotal role in lobbying to include transitional support in the new Child Care and Protection Policy and to amend the Children’s Act to recognise transitional support programmes as one of the programmes Child and Youth Care Centres can offer and as part of the prevention and early intervention chapter.
Promoting a healthy future
Mamelani Wellness Day showcased how taking care of oneself does not have to be a dreaded endeavour  – it can be fun-filled and enjoyable. Hosted at the pristine and colourful Amandla EDUFootball Safe-hub in Khayelitsha, our Wellness Day was a mixed bag of relaxing and heart-pumping activities, competitive yet supportive spirit, and was attended by young and elderly community members. Health Promoters presented the work they do to educate and promote health and wellbeing, Amandla’s games and activities were crowd favourites, and Power Child shone during the choir competitions.

Welcoming a new cycle of community champs
In August, our community champions met to reflect and evaluate their mentoring, skills training and capacity building process. The process highlighted the group’s many successes and also allowed us to identify the areas that need strengthening. We have recently recruited a new group of community champions and look forward to integrating these lessons as we walk alongside them in their development.

In July, the ProSeed team went on a camp with a group of young people, “Drop it Down”, who have transitioned from different Child and Youth Care Centres and are now living in the community. They have come to the end of a 3-year process, and we remain committed to being part of their community of support as they navigate through their many transitions. We wish all of them the best as they step into a new season of adulthood.

Masibonane “let’s see each other
The Mamelani team has committed itself to a series of conversations inside the organisation to explore race, power and our diversity. These conversations are intended to help us understand how identity influences the ways in which we relate to each other. The word Masibonane is an isiXhosa word meaning “let’s see each other”. We hope that the process will strengthen our ability to be the transformation we hope to see in the communities and people we serve.

Thank you, as always, for your loud and unwavering support and encouragement. 

Kind regards, 
Gerald Jacobs

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