Cape Town’s fearless females:A look at six of the Mother City’s leading ladies

Woman’s Month is upon us and we take this time to celebrate the powerful role played  by women across South Africa. We know that women are often left to fend for their families and salvage broken communities.



It is important that we empower our woman especially those who are left vulnerable by situations beyond their control. At Siyaphambili we run programmes such as the Teenage Mothers support group , Grandparents support group and the young women empowerment groups. These programmes are aimed at empowering young girls and women who are  often those who have being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS or affected by the epidermic.We aim to empower women from across various age groups to be self reliant and aware of their rights by  providing  counseling session and workshops  so that they are educated on accessing their rights as woman and add value to their families and wider community.

Elegant Tribal Elders

Elegant Tribal Elders

Unfortunately the reality in South Africa is that we are still a very patriarchal  society and women and young girls are often have their rights infringed upon due to their gender. However, the South African Constitution implicitly states that

Section 9 – Equality

Women are obviously protected by the full range of rights guaranteed in the new Constitution – the rights to life, dignity, privacy and others. But they receive specific protection in section 9, entitled “Equality”. It says:

“(3) The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.”


We believe that in order for our nation to curb the destructive effectives of HIV/AIDS we need to empower women through education and awareness programmes so that they may be able to empower themselves in situations that might impair their dignity.



Women’s Day (August 9) honors the power of the women who rose up against the legislation that required black South Africans to carry the “pass” (special identification documents linked to the freedom of movement during the Apartheid era). These tenacious women and the countless others who embodied defiance in their own manner showed the country and the world the extent of female strength and resilience

Ndileka Xameni has been awarded the title of Fearless Female by the Cape Town online magazine for their Women’s mother publication.

Ndilkea and some of her AIDS orphans

Ndilkea and some of her AIDS orphans


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Ndileka Xameni – ALTRUISM

After witnessing first-hand the impact that HIV/AIDS has on little ones left behind by sick parents, Ndileka Xameni took it upon herself to provide care, food and shelter for orphaned and vulnerable children in Langa township, ignoring the stigma attached to the disease and opening up her own home to become a mama bear for those who had lost theirs to the virus.

The former social worker would invite the children of her terminally ill charges in Ward 18 at St Luke’s Hospice to her house every Saturday to give them food and letters written by their mothers, and eventually, she decided to devote herself full time to the cause and registered Siyaphambili AIDS Orphan Village, which means “moving on” in isiXhosa, as a non-profit organisation in 2005.

Siyaphambili is currently home to 17 orphaned and vulnerable children; although, at any given time the house in Langa can provide shelter to up to 35 kids. Plus, many others in the area rely on the daily hot lunch Ndileka dishes up with the help of volunteers.

Not one to tackle a problem from just one angle, Ndileka created a number of programmes to battle the ripple effect of the AIDS epidemic in the community, including emotional counseling and after-school care for children, as well as support for grandparents taking care of young kids, teen mothers and fathers, and child-headed households. A crèche for little ones who have no one to take care of them during the day was recently added to the long list of services.

Siyaphambili relies completely on volunteers and donations from sponsors for food, school uniforms and supplies, and, now, thanks to the Department of Art and Culture, the organisation has a new vegetable garden that provides fresh supplies for the constant cooking that fuels the community.


Article in available on the Cape Town Online Magazine

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