While thousands spent international Mandela Day volunteering for and donating to charity to celebrate what would have been former president Nelson Mandela's birthday, a Cape Town-based artist used the opportunity to try to raise funds for her childminder via social media.
Lorraine Loots auctioned a painting of Mandela.
In a post on Instagram, she asked her 293 000 followers to comment with their bids in US dollars and posted that the highest bid placed by the time the clock struck 16:00 GMT+2 on Thursday, July 25, would net the beautiful 23mm x 27mm painting of Tata Madiba.
She did it for someone she described as very close to her heart, her helper and childminder Gloria Sibanda.
Sibanda has been taking care of Loots' home and child for the past three years. She is a single mother of four children, including one who was orphaned when her brother was murdered.
Loots said Sibanda moved to South Africa from Zimbabwe 10 years ago in search for a better life for her family. She left her alcoholic husband to protect her children.
She added that, over the years, she watched Sibanda living in fear in an unsafe area two hours away from the city centre. Sibanda has to walk about 45 minutes, through dangerous paths, to catch a train to work.
"Not long ago, a man was stabbed to death for his phone right in front of her. At one point, a gang of four men tried to mug her. But fortunately, she managed to get away. Once she makes it to the station, the trains are almost always delayed, often because yet another train has been burned down."
Loots further explained that while Sibanda and fellow commuters experienced long delays, they were often vulnerable to violence.
Gloria carries smile despite troubles
"A few months ago, her cousin's body was found in a car riddled with bullets. Two weeks ago, a 9-year-old girl in her area was raped and murdered and found with missing body parts (to be sold for making muti). Another 9-year-old was found tied up in the graveyard behind her house, luckily still alive. Her own son is 9 years old."
The two-bedroom home which Sibanda shares with her four children is in a dire state and vulnerable to the elements, especially during the cold, rainy season in Cape Town.
Despite all of these struggles, Loots said Sibanda always has the biggest smile and the most contagious laugh she has ever heard.
She said Sibanda was a hero who deserved much better, which was why she was on a mission to relocate her to a well-built house in a neighbourhood close to the city. This is part of the reason for the fundraising.
More than 3 500 of Loots' followers liked the post by Thursday afternoon and many placed bids in the comments section.
To end off her Instagram story, Loots said: "Sometimes bringing change into the world feels like an impossible task, so many people are in dire need of help, and it's overwhelming. Where do we even begin? What do we change? I think about Nelson's Mandela's words: 'It always feels impossible until it is done.' And when considering the immenseness of the task of help, of change, I am inclined to lean towards small, practical, sustainable, measurable actions. I guess that's sort-of my thing :) …"
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