At the heart of Mamelani’s work lies the question of how to nurture resilience, strengthen relationships and inspire hope in individuals and communities. Now, as an organisation, we find ourselves at a turning point where we too need to think of what will contribute to our resilience and thriving into the future. This turning point comes as I am choosing to step down from my role as Mamelani’s Founding Director.
In 2003, when the seed of Mamelani sprouted in my 23 year old heart, I could never have imagined what would grow from these youthful aspirations. Fifteen years down the line, I am proud to have led an organisation that really listens to the needs of youth and women. An organisation that builds impactful programmes that change the trajectory of the lives of the people we work with and the sectors we work in. I believe that what we do is unique. It is life-affirming and has a lasting impact.
As an organisation, we have learnt so much from the people who come through our programmes and the partners that we work with. I want to thank them for letting us into their lives and organisations; for the richness and real learning that these relationships have offered us. I have also been blessed to work with an incredibly committed and deeply passionate team. I couldn’t have wished for a more wonderfully crazy group of people to walk this road with! I would also like to express gratitude to the people who make up our Board of Trustees, for their contribution and presence in the life of our organisation. Mamelani’s incredible story would not be possible without the many generous funders who continue to support our work. To all of you, I say a heartfelt thank you!
The learning, connections and experiences I have had on this journey have stretched and shaped me in deeply transformative ways. Choosing to step down has been a difficult decision to make, but one that I know is right for myself, and for our organisation. It is time for the next generation of leaders to step forward.
After a rigorous recruitment process, I am very excited to announce that Gerald Jacobs, our current Youth Programme Manager, has been appointed as our new Director. His time in the organisation means that he carries institutional knowledge and has built the skills and expertise at a programmatic and organisational level. His appointment also provides continuity, and stands as testament of our capacity to grow leaders from within. Those of you who know Gerald, will have experienced his integrity, passion and love for people. I feel confident to move on, knowing that the organisation will be in trusted hands.
Over the past few months, we have facilitated a process to prepare for this change in leadership; exploring our collective strengths, surfacing potential difficulties, identifying opportunities for growth and building an awareness of what this change will ask of us as a team.
Right now, we are informing our community of support, which includes all of you, of the changes taking place. We know that our resilience as we transition lies in the strength of our relationships with our wider community. We hope you will walk alongside us as we make these changes. I hope that your connection to and belief in Mamelani, like mine, will continue to support and strengthen our work for many years to come.
Although I will be stepping down from my role at the end of June, I will continue as a part-time fundraiser until the end of the year, after which I will join the board.
Here’s to new beginnings!
Founder and Outgoing Director
Message from Gerald, Mamelani’s new Director
I am very humbled to have been appointed as Mamelani’s new Director. I look forward to navigating this transition in a way that ensures that Mamelani grows and responds effectively to the challenges that Cyril Ramaphosa considers to be a new dawn. I asked one of the young people whether he had any advice for me as I prepare to take on this new role, and he said, “don’t change”. His response highlighted the importance of safety and continuity as central elements in supporting any change process.
Carly has ensured that Mamelani’s culture of deep listening, of a reflective practice and a commitment towards building relationships is the foundation of how we do what we do. As things change inside the organisation and in our contextual reality, my hope is that we are able to build on this practice and hold to our philosophy of ‘masimamelane’ (of listening to each other) and that through that, we are able to see the resilience of our participants, our team and our partners – that we will be able to say ‘siyakubona’ (we see you).
I invite you to join me and the Mamelani team in building the resilience that we need to work collectively in today’s times, and to continue to do what we do, as we walk alongside the people we serve.
As part of my stepping into this new role, I have challenged myself to climb three major peaks above Cape Town, namely Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain and Lion’s head in one day. My goal is to raise R50 000 towards the training and skills development of youth transitioning from Child and Youth Care Centres, Community Champions in our health programme and people who form part of the Mamelani team. Today is my birthday; and I ask that all my Mamelani family and friends join me in celebrating my birthday and the start of this journey by supporting my campaign. To show your support at this time, please click on this link.