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Night at the Opera

When the organizers were planning  A Night at the Opera, they presumed that they would have the usual ‘challenge’ selling tickets in the very busy London social scene as well as among the overstretched traditional support base for fundraising events to benefit organisations in South Africa. However, based on the strong following of the immensely talented baritone, Njabulo Madlala and award winning fellow South African pianist, Terrence Marais, all tickets were sold out within four days of a brief ‘hold the date’ email.  Jointly arranged to benefit Breadline Africa, Rhodes University Trust UK, and Amazwi Omzansi Africa, the evening was an outstanding success.


As a result, another, larger concert has been planned for 4th November (Bookings:  breadlineafrica@btconnect.com).

A Night at the Opera was enhanced by the remarkable setting of Leighton House Museum, Holland Park. The eclectic decor of the magnificent former home and studio of Lord Leighton, worked well for the varied programme ranging from Terrence Marais’ enthralling rendition of Rachmaninov’s Prelude in G minor, Op23, Njabulo Madlala’s powerful and varied arias from Gershwin to Bizet as well as his mix of traditional South Africa folk songs. Rhodes University graduate, Terence, Njabulo and his accompanist, Royal Academy of Music Associate, William Vann, all held the audience enthralled.










Patron of the evening, Dr Geoffrey de Jager, Head of the Rhodes University Trust UK and event Chairwoman, Louise Seligman (Breadline Africa, Chairwoman), hosted a champagne reception prior to the concert, giving guests the opportunity to view the venue’s magnificent art collection.


Proceeds from the evening, including a small auction, were equally divided among the three organisations.

Breadline Africa converts, equips and places shipping containers in impoverished areas as libraries, classrooms, community kitchens, educare centres and ablution blocks. The organisation has waiting lists for its containers, particularly as 80% of schools in South Africa do not have functioning libraries.

The Rhodes University Trust raises funds to help talented school leavers, for whom poverty would otherwise have prevented a tertiary education, to enroll at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, in any of its six faculties.

Amazwi Omzansi Africa – Voices for Africa – enables gifted young South Africans to audition for sought after bursaries to the UK and Europe’s top institutions such as the Guild Hall and the Royal College of Music.

To book your tickets for the 4th November show please email breadlineafrica@btconnect.com.

Breadline Africa launches 39th Mandela Day Library

Eisleben Road Primary School – 20 March 2014
Mitchell’s Plain, Western Cape.

The first of three SEED libraries sponsored by SHOUTSA and the MAL foundation was launched today at Eisleben Road Primary School in Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town. This particular library project initiated by Network 140 BBDO, brought together a host of organisations to produce what is the first of its kind in library models. Architects for Justice played a key role in the design process and the outcome is truly a unique and innovative library structure able to hold an estimated 7 500 books.


Mitchell’s Plain is known as one of the high risk areas in the Cape Metropole and all 955 learners attending the school face many social and economic challenges. Eisleben Road Primary is a “no fee” school, which means that the South Africa Government subsidises the schools operational needs. Furthermore, they are also part of the National School Feeding scheme which means that the learners enjoy a meal in the mornings. The library with a starter pack of 2 250 books, will serve as a safe and nurturing environment for the learners and a tremendous support for teachers in their efforts to promote literacy development in a community in dire need of leaders.


The launch of this Mandela Day library was well supported by local media including a live broadcast by Cape Town based radio station 567 Cape Talk. Moreover, district level library services were present, as well as Yase Godlo from the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory. It was a great pleasure to have so many partners celebrating the living legacy of Nelson Mandela in a project aimed at giving a helping hand to the children of South Africa through education. A special guest, Minister Trevor Manual of the National Development Planning Commission, also showed support. The spoke to the learners about making use of the facility and showed solidarity with the school leadership and all the organisations in partnership, encouraging each to continue working toward developing a future of leaders.


The learners of Eisleben Road Primary School were given a real treat at the launch as founding members of SHOUTSA, Danny K and Kabelo, entertained them with an inspirational song. As entertainers and role models in society, they have seen the need to expand their reach, focusing their efforts on children and creating a safe society. Guided by the partners, they have given just under 1 000 learners access to different worlds through books, and through them bigger and brighter dreams.

PRESS RELEASE: SA celebs shout out for National Library Week

20 March 2014, Cape Town – Local musicians and ShoutSA founders, Danny K and Kabelo gave National Library Week a welcome burst of star power by launching a new library at Eisleben Road Primary School in Mitchell’s Plain on Thursday, 20 March. The event forms part of the Mandela Day Library initiative, a partnership between the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and Cape Town based NGO Breadline Africa.

“Storytelling and reading is an integral part of growing up, it has been an honour to play our part in the Mandela Day library initiative – literacy is a human right,” well-known South African artist, celebrity and activist for change Danny K said. “We promote education not incarceration – by giving our youth a chance to liberate their imaginations, we can stop crime before it has a chance to start.”

Over the past four years just under 40 container libraries have been rolled out to some of the most impoverished schools in the country, with more than 30 000 school children having been reached as a result of the initiative. The project relies heavily on corporate funding and support – the Eisleben Road Primary library and two other libraries in Gauteng and Limpopo were funded and placed by ShoutSA. BBDO and its non-profit arm, The MAL Foundation, collaborated with Architects of Justice, Cape Talk, Breadline Africa and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory to place the containers.

“In a country like South Africa, creativity has the power to change things, to put something back in a way that touches people,” Chief Creative Officer of BBDO SA and co-founder of ad agency Net#work BBDO, Mike Schalit said. “Twenty years after independence, there has to be a more collaborative way for brands to create and sustain a better South Africa. It’s not just about nagging at social consciousness; it’s about relevance, pragmatism and a creative edge. It’s about making a real difference to society and the bottom line through compelling design solutions.”

“Every school should have access to a library and every child should be able to read, write and be given the means to learn; sadly this is not the case in many schools across the country,” Director of Breadline Africa, Tim Smith said.

Since their establishment 21-years-ago Breadline Africa has rolled out more than 190 containers to some of the most impoverished communities in South Africa. The disused shipping containers are renovated and used as soup kitchens, libraries, educare centres and ablution blocks.

“I am inspired by the work being done by Breadline Africa and jumped at the chance to make a difference” co-founder of ShoutSA Kabelo said. “National Library Week in a country like South Africa, where literacy is exceptionally low, is extremely important. We need to get our youth to understand the power of reading in order to understand its impact on their future. Education opens up options way beyond crime.”

For more information, to get involved or to sponsor the Mandela Day Libraries Project, contact projects@breadlineafrica.org.za or call 021 418 0322.

Breadline Africa launches 38th Mandela Day Library


On Thursday the 13th of March, Breadline Africa in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory launched the 38th This particular library is the first of its kind in the Mandela Day Libraries Project. In November last year, Breadline Africa started a conversation with Wipro Technologies and shared some of the challenges the project faces in having the library open for longer hours allowing access to the greater community. The outcome of this discussion was that Wipro decided that further investment was needed. They shared the vision of providing access to the educational resources that a library provides, but wanted to extend their investment into small business development and the economic upliftment of the community.Mandela Day library. Gobandlovu Primary School, situated in the rural community of Esikhawini outside of Richards Bay is a nurturing educational environment for 1 052 children. The principal, Mrs. Manyathi, is a pioneer and leader in the community and aptly acknowledged for her developmental spirit by the Department of Basic Education representatives during the ceremony.


Through consultation with the principal, an educated and unemployed mother in the community who had been volunteering at the school had been selected by Wipro. Over the Christmas period she was sent to Johannesburg for training and assisted with the registration of an IT business. Understanding that she did not have access to the capital equipment to start, Wipro invested in two computers and a copier/scanner which is located in the library so that she would be able to manage both her business and the needs of library users.

In addition to this, they have agreed to pay Lungi a stipend for the first year to help her kick start her business. This is without a doubt an incredible investment in education and access to critical resources within this rural community. We applaud Wipro Technologies for taking the Mandela Day Libraries Project into the progressive and innovative space that it has and we acknowledge that their foresight will serve as a benchmark to other corporates looking to invest in South African children and communities in an impactful and sustainable way.

Over and above the extension of investment within the Mandela Day Library, Wipro visited the school and saw that they had a computer room which had turned into a white elephant. The computers were not working and the computer room had become a non-functional space as the cost of refurbishment was out of reach for the school. Wipro Technologies committed to invest R130 000.00 to give Gobandlovu Primary School’s computer lab a complete overhaul. It is not surprising that Mrs. Manyathi was close to tears during her speech, describing the project as a miracle for the school, overwhelmed with gratitude as she tried to articulate what it meant to her.


The launch ceremony, as most are, was well attended with representatives from the Department of Eductaion, principals of neighbouring schools, the Gobandlovu School Governing Body, parents, traditional leadership and six of the Wipro staff in attendance. We were affirmed of the commitment from all school stakeholders in making the project a success and learners celebrated through dance, drama and poetry.


A special ceremony was held today to launch the official opening of the Riebeek West Primary School container kitchen.  The school has been established in 1965, as a Dutch Reformed Mission Church in Malmesbury and later became a fully fledged public school. The school serves the community and the surrounding rural areas of Riebeek West which is situated at 80 km north-east of Cape Town.

Many of the learners come from an impoverished background as the parents are mostly seasonal workers in the vineyards and olive orchards in the area.

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About 500 of the 750 Learners of the school receive government grants and since 2014 our school has been given the status of being a “no-fee” school. This means that the school needs to focus a lot on fundraising to support the financial needs of the school.

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The school runs a feeding scheme in conjunction with the Department of Education where they are supplied with food to feed 350 learners of the school. The need is sometimes much greater, but they have to make do with what we receive. The 350 learners receive a breakfast of porridge every morning before school starts and between 10:00 and 12:00 during the day they receive a cooked meal.

The container kitchen supplied by Breadline Africa is such a blessing to them, since they were using a classroom to prepare the meals and the classroom was definitely not the proper facility for preparing and serving of food.

The ribbon was cut to announce the official opening of the container kitchen where many meals will be cooked to serve the children of whom many to go bed without a plate of food.

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The Principal, the Educators, the learners, the kitchen Cooks, the volunteers and the parents conveyed their appreciation and thanks to Breadline Africa and all its partners for this wonderful tangible gift of a container kitchen.

With the help of  Dieticians they have worked out the meals as nutritious as possible for the learners and therefore the menu varies on a daily basis.

Our containers, our pride and joy.



Witten by: Edna Titus

PRESS RELEASE: World Read Aloud Day

“Readers become leaders” – Nelson Mandela

05 March 2014 – World Read Aloud Day, which takes place globally on 5 March, aims to raise awareness around the 793-million people who cannot read. The campaign aims to mobilise children and adults from around the world and effect change by creating a new generation of leaders, storytellers and academic achievers.

“Literacy is the foundation for emotional and physical wellbeing, intellectual growth and economic security,” Project Manager for Breadline Africa, Jade Orgill said. “We call on all communities to celebrate the right to read and write. By raising our voices together we are showing our children that we support their future.”

For the past four years Breadline Africa has worked with the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory to place container libraries in each of the nine provinces. To date, the initiative has placed more than 37 container libraries in schools across the country. The partnership, which has reached more than 29 000 learners, forms part of the annual Mandela Day celebrations; its success relies entirely on the support of the general public and corporates.

World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. The day aims to motivate children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, creating a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.

“Reading aloud improves listening skills and vocabulary acquisition,” Orgill said. “World Read Aloud Day is an opportunity to celebrate reading, writing and sharing with the entire community. Breadline Africa supports the international day and encourages all schools to get involved and initiate change.”


It was an historic moment for the community of Hopefield as their garden container was launched on the 26th February 2014.  Rev Charles Williams and Rev Jeannine Louw of the All Saints Anglican Church in Hopefield conducted the Blessing of the container with local community members and representatives of various projects in attendance.

Hopefield is the West Coast’s oldest town. Its origin dates back to 1851 and is 120km from Cape Town and inland from Langebaan, it lies at the heart of the arid Sandveld, with the Zoute River running through it.








The Hopefield Community Food Garden Project worked in collaboration with the Hopefield Community Forum, Hope Farm, Farming God’s Way, Green Pop and the Department of Agriculture as well as with great assistance from Lizana de Jongh who is very passionate about gardening.  The container was received from Breadline Africa and will be used to host training workshops for the local men and women.

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The local gardeners were very excited about the growth of the garden project and are very enthusiastic and eager to teach the local community the organic way of preparing the soil.  The first harvest already contributed to their feeding scheme and 80 families have also received tomatoes and onions from the garden.

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The Hopefield Community Food Garden has received 90 fruit trees as a donation towards this project. Green Pop believes that trees give much-needed oxygen and increases  biodiversity.

The Community Leaders and the Church Committee thanked Breadline Africa and all the sponsors for their support in helping them to achieve so much.


Written by: Edna Titus 

Breadline Africa launches 37th Mandela Day Library

Refentse Primary School – 20 February 2014


Situated in the heart of the Namakgale District of the Limpopo province, lies Refentse Primary school. It is a school with just over 800 learners that is seriously lacking in infrastructure with over 100 learners crammed into each classroom.

Understanding the dire need for improvements in literacy, the school partnered with literacy development organisation, Room to Read. As a result the principal has received acknowledgement from feeder high schools on Refentse primary students’ competency in the English language.

Bev Hori, GIA, Grade 7 learners and Mr Malatji (school principal)

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 The celebration of the 37th Mandela Day Library, the 2nd library in the province sponsored by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), was significant for the sponsoring organisation as one of their recently passed directors had always want to work with Room to Read. Bev Hori, Chief Educational Officer at GIA, delighted in the knowledge that the project had made his lifelong wish a reality.

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The Mandela Day Libraries Project is a high impact and sustainable education initiative made possible through the partnerships it has built. The Nelson Mandela Foundation is the founding body and has done incredible work bringing the right stakeholders together. On this project, Yase Godlo and Alta Brown worked tirelessly in bringing GIA to the schools that were most in need of investment. Alta Brown, project manager at the Foundation, encouraged learners and dignitaries alike to live the legacy of Madiba every day and making a difference in the simplest of ways.

The launch was well supported by the school governing body, the education circuit management representative and staff. In addition, Country Director of Room to Read spoke directly to the learners encouraging their continued hard work and diligence. Particularly inspiring were the learners’ contribution to the launch event. The choir sang the national anthem and young girls gave a fantastic display of traditional dance. However, the most outstanding performance was given by grade 5 learner, Koketso Mashego, who recited a poem of thanks, celebration and inspiration.

All stakeholders left the ceremony confident that the library would be well looked after, utilised by the learners and supported by the school and education department.

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The Container Opening of Lukhanyiso Educare Centre – Crossroads, Cape Town

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On Friday (7th February 2014), the City of Cape Town’s former Mayoral Committee Member for Social and Early Childhood Development, Councillor Beverley Cortje-Alcock, officially launched the newly revamped Lukhanyiso Educare Centre in Crossroads, Philippi, Western Cape.

Through tears of joy, she expressed her delight at seeing the transformed centre since the days of the disheveled shacks. She reiterated a story about how she met Nomfundo Pezi – Lukhanyiso owner in 2012. At the time Nomfundo had only just arrived from the Eastern Cape looking for a better life, instead she found Crossroads, crime, poverty, hunger, shacks, no toilets, no running water.  She then started an Early Childhood Development Centers (ECD centre), started a beautiful garden to feed the children, but her hopes were constantly crushed from not being able to do more.

What inspired Beverley to seek support for the ECD centre was always the beautiful garden she encountered, the beautiful smiles, the warmth and the hope she could see in the little children at Lukhanyiso. She thanked Breadline Africa “with a heart full of gratitude” for heeding her call for support, and that there would not have been the lovely facility today without such partnerships.IMG_2290

She thanked the Willem van Dedem Foundation and ended her speech by reiterating Nelson Mandela’s words when he said “the soul of a nation is reflected in how they treat its children”, and added that the new dignified, safe and warm space will surely change who the children believe they are and will become.

Mr Tim Smith, Director of Breadline Africa shared his experience of when he first arrived at Lukhanyiso, “it was a cold and wet July and the roof of the shacks was leaking and the children were huddled together to keep warm. We instantly decided we would do something about the situation here”. The project was then presented to the Van Dedem family who promptly agreed to send through the money for the containers. Nineteen months later, the ECD centre is looking fabulous.


Amongst the guests of honor at the launch were Ms Frances Greathead, the founder of Breadline Africa,  and Mr Malcolm Salida, the Director of Catholic Welfare Development, who has been supporting our initiatives.  Unfortunately the Van Dedems could not be present to witness all the work they have done. Mr Smith thanked Beverley, Nomfundo for all the work they do in the communities, and he also thanked the sponsors for their generosity, the guests and parents for attending the launch.

The proud owner of Lukhanyiso Educare Centre, Ms Nomfundo Pezi, stood up in tears and expressed her appreciation. She said the changes in her life have taken her to better places after many months of suffering and pain. She said she was extremely grateful to those who have supported her as her life has been uplifted as a result.

The ceremony ended with prayer by Nomfundo’s sister. Hope, optimism and a renewed sense of being could be felt as the children sung and refreshments were served and toys and blankets were handed out to children.

This early childhood centre is the first for Breadline Africa in 2014, the year that Breadline Africa celebrates 21 years of serving community initiatives.  


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There is always a hype of excitement with the start of every New Year.  The slogan ‘back to school’ is displayed everywhere and is a good marketing campaign to remind everyone the kids are going back to school.  

Breadline Africa recently brought much joy to more than 250 school children in the rural town of Rawsonville.  This is a small wine growing and farming community in the Breede River Valley of the Western Cape province of South Africa. The town forms part of the Breede Valley Local Municipality, and is located in a scenic portion of the valley on the eastern flanks of the Du Toitskloof Mountains Rawsonville District.

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When we heard of the plight of the above schools we immediately stepped out and embarked on a stationery drive to help these children with their stationery requirements.  By demonstrating our ongoing commitment to addressing the challenges of education and poverty in South Africa, we delivered much needed school packs to all the learners at the above schools.

The parents of these children are seasonal workers and they all come from poverty stricken homes. That is when, with the help from our supporters, we stepped in to give them a head start in their first year of school.

Mrs Abrahams, the Principal of Lorraine Primary School and Mr Abrahams of Weltevrede Primary School was over the moon by the generous gesture of Breadline Africa. Each learner received a bag that contained all the necessary stationery pertaining to their grades.  Inside the bag were colouring pencils, pencils, cellotape, erasers, pencil bags, sharpeners, rulers, glue, paint, clay and much more.

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Some of the learners also received brand new shoes, shirts, pants and the full school

Should you wish to support our projects, kindly log onto  our website – www.breadlineafrica.orguniform.  The ch

ildren were very excited as those little eyes sparkled like diamonds and their smiles were priceless.

Breadline Africa specializes in the renovation of second hand shipping containers for the past 21 years and use them to fulfill a variety of special needs especially infrastructure to communities where most needed. These include soup kitchens, libraries, classrooms and ablution blocks.