Bobbi Bear: carrying the torch for 20 years

2014-09-29 00:00

OPERATION Bobbi Bear founder, Jackie Branfield, is preparing to hand over the torch after 20 years of fighting for children’s rights.

She admitted that at 63 she does not have the same energy that she had when she first started the organisation.

The Zimbabwean-born activist founded Operation Bobbi Bear under a tree in Illovo in 1994.

The children’s rights organisation is based in Amanzimtoti, KwaZulu-Natal.

Branfield said: “My dream for Bobbi Bear is for it to become a qualified training entity. I want it to secure enough funding so that we can become a national and international organisation.”

She said although the organisation had enjoyed a successful 20 years, there was more to be done.

“The more you do the more you realise there is still a lot of work to be done because society is always changing,” she said.

The mother of six said she was concerned about the youth. “I believe that today’s generation of young people are going to hell in a hand basket. Children are giving birth to children hoping that they will be loved,” said Branfield.

She said she could not speak about the organisation’s success without recalling her painful childhood in Zimbabwe.

“My father’s best friend raped me when I was 11. I was raped again at the age of 12 and 14, but I did not tell anyone,” she said.

Coming from a poor family meant that she had to become independent at a young age.

She dropped out of school at the age of 14 because she suffered from dyslexia and dyscalculia — severe learning disabilities.

Her mother worked two shifts at a bar just to provide a meal for her and her two brothers.

She said, “While my mother was at work, it was the black women in the flats who raised us and fed us because we were starving. And despite their love and protection, I was still raped several times.

“In those days it was one thing to be black and poor, but to be white and poor in a white colonial country, was something else.”

Branfield met the love of her life, Allan, at the age of 18 and the pair married when she was 19 years old. They moved to South Africa in the early ’90s and she started the organisation. “I always wonder why I didn’t speak out,” said Branfield.

• amanda.khoza@witness.co.za

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.