Rosie going for glory

2017-11-16 06:01
Rosie Mashale, founder of Abaphumeleli, has been nominated in the top ten CNN Heroes competition. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

Rosie Mashale, founder of Abaphumeleli, has been nominated in the top ten CNN Heroes competition. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

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When Rosie Mashale came up with the idea of taking in orphaned children 17 years ago, she could not have imagined that their numbers would swell to more than 170 souls one day.

Rosie,, from Site B in Khayelitsha, also might not have known that one day, she would be listed in the Top 10 catergory of CNN Heroes competition.

CNN is a global television news network.

She is the only African contestant still in the running for the big prize. Winners will be announced in December 2017. But she does need your vote to be the victor.

But who is Rosie? Rosie is the founder of Abaphumeleli organisation which is a child care and development centre which has an orphanage home, a crèche and runs outreach programs in the province.

“I started taking care of children in the late 1980s when I spotted young children of crèche-going-age eating at a dump. It turned out that these children where left alone by parents who had to go to work.

When the parents returned they thanked me and asked me to do same the following day, so I started taking care of them and opened a crèche,” she reflected.

Shs said than in 1999, after 13 years of running the crèche, she was advised by a doctor to not work with children anymore as years noise had affected her hearing.

Mashale closed the crèche but on 21 November 2000, fate dealt her an old familiar card when she found a toddler at her doorstep.

“I didn’t know who brought this baby but I took it inside, borrowed clothes from neighbours and as I was thinking of going to the police, a van pulled into my house and police brought another child saying that they needed someone to take care of them. I went to the court and I was given permission to take care of the children even though I didn’t want to because I was afraid because I was unemployed,” she said.

She said that was when she began to take care of children and despite her hardship she has opened her home and now takes care of more 170 orphans.

Mashale said that she was proud of her work despite it being a very difficult operation to run the organisation.

“It takes more than R600 000 to run the organisation monthly, this covers the salaries for staff, the food, clothes and other requirements but luckily we have sponsors that make it bearable.

Winning this competition will come with the funds that are needed but also recognition for the work we do,” she said.

She said that her biggest highlights were the visit by late state president Nelson Mandela and a host of popular people.

“But more important than that is the effect we have had on children changing their lives and giving them a place to call home,” she said. You can vote for Rosie as much as up to 30 times by visiting


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