Inspiring ‘sheroes’ give their insights

2009-08-10 00:00

INGRID Roberts’ Insights and Inspirations had a hit at the Liberty Midlands Mall on Saturday night when almost 300 guests gathered to hear presentations by her celebrity guests. The event was sponsored by Liberty Midlands Mall and The Witness.

Roberts has a knack of profiling the right people when it comes to Pietermaritzburg audiences, and this event was no exception.

Topping the celebrity list was Leeanda Reddy, star of Isidingo and Mr Bones. Reddy spoke of her humble beginnings before achieving success on television. The ex-Durbanite, who was thrilled to be in KwaZulu-Natal for the evening, spoke of her faith in the growing South African film and television industry, which is nurturing talent.

The Insights and Inspirations show went on to focus on four local ‘Sheroes’ — women who have excelled, sometimes in the face of enormous challenges — and interviewed Yvonne Spain, known for her work as a city councillor many years ago and subsequently as director of Cindi, the Children in Distress Network from which Spain has recently retired.

Spain spoke of the need to keep children in schools and of a project initiated by Cindi during her time as a director, called Singatha. The fund, started with seed money from Oprah’s Angel Network, aims at providing schoolchildren with uniforms. Spain has now moved on to a new project, Thomomala Nathi (a place that is warm and welcoming), which aims at easing the impact of hospitalisation on children by developing child-friendly environments in public health. Spain ereminded the audience that the smallest actions can change people’s lives.

She was joined on stage by Director Rosheila Maharaj of the SA Police Service who has launched a project which takes care of children, and Sbongile Mthembu, a high flyer in the corporate world who came from a tiny village on the border of KwaZulu-Natal and Mozambique.

Born into poverty, Mthembu spoke of the determination and faith which took her out of her village and turned her life into a success.

Sister Abigail Nteleko of Clouds of Hope in Underberg then told of a trip to San Fransisco where she met the Dalai Lama and received an “Unsung Hero” award from him.

Popularly known as Sister Abe in the Underberg and Himeville region, this remarkable woman has affected thousands of lives. Raised by her father, who did not believe it was necessary to educate a girl, she herded cattle for him, and began class 1 at the age of 14 and finally matriculated at age 59.

Sister Abe is unofficial “granny” to hundreds of children who have suffered abuse and cruelty. Her dream is to establish a residential home for children who had been abandoned, and in 2000 a visiting American established a charity which funded the purchase of a farm, complete with rundown farmhouse, which became the Clouds of Hope Children’s Care Centre.

Winning a humanitarian award from the Dalai Lama has not changed Ntleko’s perspective at all. She speaks with merriment of her trip to America, of the impressive aeroplane and of her horror at being asked to produce her pass. It took some translating from an American accent to explain that it was a boarding pass or ticket that was required. Now well into her late seventies, this spry “unsung hero” attributes a lot of her energy to being “a short person”. She believes that short people are more energetic.

The evening was completed by a charity draw which raised R7 937 for the Reach Out With Love project in France, Pietermaritzburg. Edgars, through its general manager, matched the audience’s generosity cent for cent, bringing the amount raised for the charity to R15 874.

Join the conversation! 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. 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

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


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 network.


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.