Mlambo-Ngcuka puts her best foot forward

Celebrity philanthropist Lupi Ngcayisa’s ­campaign to provide school shoes to the ­nation’s poorest children has received a healthy boost from former South African deputy ­president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Speaking at the Buhlebemfundo Secondary School in Tsakane, Ekurhuleni, where she handed over school shoes and a R5000 cheque, Mlambo-Ngcuka said: “A little gift like a pair of shoes makes quite a huge ­difference to a child from a poor background.

“The glow on a child’s face when she ­receives such a gift is priceless.”

She urged parents to get involved in their children’s education.

“Firstly, as parents we need to know that the buck stops with us and (we need to) take control of our children. We need to take charge and make them ­successful learners.”

Mlambo-Ngcuka (55), who was also minerals and energy minister (between 1999 and 2005) prior to her earlier post, established the Umlambo Foundation in 2008. The foundation invests in leadership and management development of school principals.

She commended Ngcayisa’s Railway to Life Campaign for demonstrating that a lot can be achieved with only a little donation.

This week Ngcayisa handed over 65 of the 1500 pairs of shoes that will be donated throughout the country’s public schools.

His campaign is in partnership with Calulo Investments, City Press, the SABC Radio, MTN and ABI. Members of the public have over the past two years donated to the campaign more that 43500 pairs of new shoes.

He said: “This year, thanks to the contribution of R850000 made by Calulo Investment and partners, 3500 pairs of brand new shoes were distributed in Eastern Cape, 1200 in Western Cape and the rest of the deliveries will be undertaken in the following week.”

Freddy Mononyana, the headmaster at Buhlebemfundo, said Ngcayisa and Mlambo-Ngcuka touched the lives of poor pupils at his school and also gave them hope.

“We are proud that Umlambo Foundation, in partnership with Lupi Ngcayisa Foundation, has embraced our school in ploughing back to those that are in need,” he said.

Maria Mtsweni, whose son Bafana ­received a pair of shoes, said: “I’m unemployed and cannot afford to buy him school shoes. Now that he has shoes, I am relieved knowing that he will be like the other kids.”

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