About South Africa Partnership
We are engaged in a relationship that addresses the alleviation of the legacies of apartheid – hunger, poverty & disease – through self-empowerment, respectful dialogue, and sustainable projects.
Health Outreach: Support of a local MD through providing Anti-Retroviral drugs for people who are HIV positive and have AIDS before the government stepped in.
Heifer International: Negotiated and assisted with programs to supply chickens and goats.
How to help on the local front in South Africa:
Click the buttons below to learn more about how you can help on the local front in South Africa.
A Tribute to Winnie Maneli
The Living Legacy of Winnie Maneli,
The intrepid leader of the South African partnership with MATE
I expected her to live forever such was her fortitude and perseverance. The news of Winnie’s death on July 4, 2021 came as a shock and a comfort knowing that she had crossed over to eternal life with the God she loved and served so faithfully all of her eighty seven years on earth. Winnie Maneli in my estimation was every bit the great soul that was Nelson Mandela. Her life played out at the local level rather than on a national/ international stage, but their characters and work for justice for their people were very similar.
What follows is a redacted version of a letter I received in 2002 from Winnie as our partnership was coming to life on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. In it one “sees” the Winnie who was to rise up as the voice of her Macfarlan community in regards to all the projects she oversaw – raising chickens, planting gardens, feeding families afflicted with HIV/AIDS nourishing soup, to name just a few. It is easy to use superlatives to capture the essence of this great leader. She would not like that, though, because she was a humble woman and a real team player.
Winnie Maneli —- your light on earth has now gone out yet in heaven there may just be an entire new constellation of stars names” Winnie”. You will watch over your legacy and encourage all who remain to persevere, working for justice and equality for all God’s children. We remember you with great love and respect.
Babbie Cameron, MATE/SA Partnership leader for the beginning years
I have just completed 68 years of the life God gave me, and each birthday causes me to reflect on the path I have traveled under HIS guiding hand. I find His blessings overflowing, and I still wonder if I am worth all that. I was born of simple rural folk in the part of the Eastern Cape called TRANSKEI. My parents moved to Cape Town in search of work in the early 30 s, and so by age 3, I was able to say ‘ja, missus, dankie missus’, to the madam in whose backyard my parents were living in a shack. Shack-dwelling is far older than this millennium, and we are a generation of black people that inherited a resolve to survive any intentional discomfort and pain, from our forebears upon whom the yoke of slavery was first imposed. I have childhood memories of Mamma serving us a meal of watery rice, cabbage, pumpkin, bones, gristle, and other unidentifiable tidbits collected from the White household’s plates at the end of their meal. But today I thank the elderly friends and associates of our grandparents who were staunch churchgoers, and who opened a channel of hope for my parents, and later, for me and my family.
Together with thousands of other Black children, I attended a township church school – St Cyprian’s Anglican – and from an early age I was exposed to the teachings of various English Fathers who taught religious instruction/education throughout the school. Yes, I remember how sorry I used to feel for the babe JESUS, born in a manger, hunted down by Herod, and we would curse Herod at intervals as a small group of Grade 3s and 4s. But throughout my growing years, as the Bible and sermons began to be meaningful to my young mind, one of the portions that made a permanent impression on me is for this same Jesus to say, ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me, for the KINGDOM of heaven is theirs.’ At times that we were so hungry at home, so cold, scantily dressed through the winter, no new clothes for Christmas, no birthday parties/ presents ever, I came to believe that He was there somewhere above our shack, ready to take me to heaven if the hurt killed me. But, at the same time, I was never quite ready to leave Mamma and Tata just like that, suffering. Today I know better, Babbie, that because He died for me, and because I took up my cross of my own accord, I must walk with Him; that His hand is always ready to lead me from danger and to soothe my pain.
After high school I left Cape Town for the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape. By that time, 1954, Apartheid had demoralised the lives of Black people in the cities. With all one’s distinctions in Matric (secondary school exams), one could not attend White universities and could not attend White churches. However, the University years were my best both academically and spiritually, because we explored all possible avenues for meeting our needs regarding studies and spiritual nurture. Fort Hare was an affiliate of Rhodes University in Grahamstown then. I was therefore able to pursue my prime interests – Latin and Classical Culture, Sacred and Classical Music, enjoying Handel best, and Bible Study and worship, which enabled me to play the organ in church till very well into my years of married life. I have a keyboard to which I turn for comfort in these terribly lonely years since my husband’s death. I should add that my other ‘prime interest’ is people. I am very grateful to God for making it possible for one to be surrounded by people, because only then can something come out of one to the people, and vice versa. I personally always feel a great sense of sharing when I’m with other people – it’s mutual. I laugh because somebody can laugh with me; I help because someone shows a need.
I met my husband in our Matric year in Cape Town, and we seemed to have much in common. We both graduated at Fort Hare with B.A., then we married. We taught at various schools until he retired after 32 years, and I, after 33 years. We were blessed with four children – three daughters and a son. I have eight grandchildren, four of whom stay with me. Life is quite eventful with such a crowd. Somehow I find myself able to carry on with life in my early widowhood. I am also thankful for the duties I am engaged in for our church, it makes me keep in touch with everyone, and allows me an opportunity to work for my Lord.
Not much has been taking place around here since the onset of winter. It becomes very cold and most people wrap themselves in their homes as not even gardening can be undertaken – no water to spare. But we are getting ready to resume project work with the Stirling church and Lynne Patterson. I am looking forward to a day when indeed I might be your guest at Maine, God willing.
With love, from your friend Winnie