The annual South Africa House gathering of the SA-UK Trust Network was held on 5 December 2018. Kindly hosted by Her Excellency, Nomatemba Tambo, South African High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Ireland, the event has become an annual time to honour the phenomenal lives of Nelson Mandela and his fellow struggle icons – Ms Tambo’s father, Oliver Tambo, included.
Seventy people, South Africans and Brits, spent a great morning together, celebrating the outstanding contribution made to the South Africans by the over 200 000 non-profits serving those in need.
All trustees were present and were grateful to Carolyn Steyn and her team from 67 Blankets for Mandela, who were there from South Africa and, the next day, went to hand over scarves that their extended circle had knitted or crocheted in honour of Madiba, to the homeless on the streets of London, as winter loomed.
Two member organisations’ representatives, Jennifer Parsons from The Children’s Hospital Trust and Kathi Scott from the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, shared the story of their organisations’ work.
There were updates from Jeannette Kruger from ZABRA and Carolyn Steyn from 67 Blankets for Mandela. The Network is honoured to have both of these phenomenal ladies, who founded their organisations and give of their time voluntarily while they guide their initiatives as they grow and do more and more selfless work for this in need, as members and friends.
Peter-Attard Montalto, specialist in emerging markets (and with a particular understanding of South Africa) shared his predictions for 2019 and how the elections, Brexit and other factors are likely to affect the NPO sector in South Africa.
David Tewkesbury, from Merranti Consulting, shared invaluable tips on planning and had everyone inspired to take on 2019.
It was a wonderful honour to have The Right Honourable David Lammy, MP join the proceedings and answer challenging questions put to him by trustee, Louise Seligman. Mr Lammy cares deeply about those in need and takes up the plight of people suffering – generally more quickly than anyone else has realised that a crisis exists. His tireless lobbying in the Windrush scandal gained him fresh admiration.
With the theme of ‘Perseverance’, everyone who participated was a living embodiment of this quality.
Good friend of the Network, Brand South Africa Country Representative, Pumela Salela, sponsored a beautiful commemorative notebook featuring Madiba for everyone.
The SA-UK Trust Network’s trustees organised another successful gathering with the theme of Education. The event was generously sponsored by the outstanding Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel. Speakers included Prof David Wolfe, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of New Mexico and Fellow of the UK Institute of Physics. David is also a loyal volunteer with the SA Institute of Physics (SAIP) and was part of the establishment of a programme to upskill science teachers and, six years on, continues to give of his time to this vital initiative.
The Network was also fortunate to have its meeting coincide with a visit to the UK by South African higher education fundi, Dr Mark Hay. He serves as a member of the Council of the University of KwaZulu Natal and is a former Executive Director of Quality Assurance at the SA Council on Higher Education. He also provides strategic support to the VC of TUT. Mark shared an insightful update on higher education in South Africa.
Paid up members have the opportunity to share information on their organisations and guests at this meeting were delighted to learn of the caring and compassionate work undertaken by Apostleship of the Sea as shared by John Green. Few of us think about or know much about the life of sailors, many of whom suffer atrocious human rights abuses. Apostleship of the Sea is active globally, including in South Africa. We commend them.