Inspiring women on this week’s episode of Play Your Part


sunflower-fund-600The Sunflower Fund seeks to give all South Africans diagnosed with leukaemia and other life-threatening blood disorders the chance of life (Image: Sunflower Fund Facebook Page)

With August being Women’s Month, this Sunday’s episode of the Play Your Part TV series looks at a few inspiring South African women who are Playing a Part by making a difference in their respective fields of life.

This Sunday’s episode features Khanyisile Motsa, Pontsho Manzi, Dr Vanessa Naidoo, Ella Bella and Catherine Constantinides, Tina Botha and Tarryn Corlett, and Lira.

The murky streets of Hillbrow and Berea are not for the faint-hearted. Gangs, pimps, drugs, abuse and deprivation rule the inner city flatlands. Notoriously dangerous, it is a terrifying place that is home to many thousands of prostitutes, street children and abandoned teenage mothers.

In 2000, Khanyisile Motsa descended into the fray. Affectionately known as Mam’ Khanyi, she set up Home of Hope for the sustained physical, educational and holistic wellbeing of exploited girls in Hillbrow and the surrounding suburbs. Her eyes had been opened to the desperate circumstances of these abandoned children when she took into her care five girls who had escaped from one of the brothels.

Word of the refuge spread and soon, more girls escaped and came looking for her. Her brave crusade has changed many of these lives for the better.

“You can take a dying plant and help it regain its life by just talking to it,” says Play Your Part Ambassador Pontsho Manzi, founder of Fabgalz and Fabulous Woman magazine. Her philosophy is echoed in her motivational workshops as part of her mission to empower South African women to be their best selves.

Manzi, formerly a human resources practitioner, founded Fabulous Woman magazine and FabGalz in 2009 to bring women together to support each other, and to provide career and employment guidance for young girls.

In March this year Manzi received two honours at the South African Premier Business Awards: the DTI 2014 South African Premier Business Young Entrepreneur Award and the Play Your Part Award.

In an interview with the Fourways Review, Manzi says she “believes that it is her life purpose to provide a platform to catalyse the upliftment and empowerment of women in South Africa”.

Galvanised by the images of the injured in the 2011 Libyan uprising, Dr Vanessa Naidoo decided to put her passion for people and medicine to good use; she volunteered with international medical and humanitarian aid organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

“My passions are medicine and people – this makes MSF a natural choice for me. I have always wanted to do something that would make a difference in the world, but I didn’t always know that aid work would be a feature on that pathway, but I am very glad that it is.”

Naidoo says she heard about MSF while at university; “I had heard about MSF during my training at the University of Cape Town (UCT); they had helped to start the ARV roll-out in Khayelitsha while I was still a student. I filled out the online application shortly after I watched that news clip on Libya, and the rest, as they say, is history!”

Tina Botha and Tarryn Corlett are the driving force behind the Sunflower Fund. The fund is a non-profit organisation based in Cape Town, with a vision to give all South Africans diagnosed with leukaemia and other life-threatening blood disorders the chance of life, irrespective of their race and financial circumstances.

The fund’s purpose is to educate, recruit and raise funds to build and sustain an effective South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) as a viable source of well informed ethnically-diverse potential bone marrow donors so as to meet the national and international requirements and improve the chances of life-saving transplants for serious blood disorder sufferers.

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