PARADOX OF LIFE – “Hulle het gekruip in my hart en ek het deel gevoel van die familie”.

Pretoria’s summer is scorchingly hot and 13 February was no exception.  The temperature was 30 degrees Celsius, but deep inside I was trembling. I was super cold and scared out of my wits.

Were these wild thoughts and feelings justifiable? Of course: a Mosotho girl in a predominantly white Afrikaans old age home – what was she thinking? Was it the right choice? It sounded like career suicide. Was she capable of making a difference in the older people’s lives, would they ever accept her? I think paranoia was setting in.

 Social work is my passion, I am dedicated to my work and very compassionate.

I love and respect all people, but my fear of the unknown kept singing me a song of self-doubt. This four letter word “fear” showed me all the possible things that could go wrong and most of the time I entertained it. Yes, I believed it.

Then, she said to me: “It is normal to be worried because people speak Afrikaans, but they are just like us and you have it in you to make a difference in their lives.” Those were Mrs Wie’s words, but my fearful voice said: “She does not know what she is talking about”. In hindsight, she had a point – she believed in me. Sometimes in life we need just that, a gentle push and someone whose faith in your abilities is much stronger than in your fears, to help you realize your true potential.

I allowed myself to take the road less travelled and to face my fears. I think choosing SAVF Margaretha Ackerman Old Age Home, was a blessing waiting to happen. This was one mission I had to successfully accomplish and with a little bit of faith in myself and the support of my practice lecturer, I was ready.

The Home warmly opened its doors to me and I never looked back. That is how that “cold” summer’s day gave way to the warmest winter of my life!

Opening the front door of the home, being met by the lovely and warm faces of Susan, Jurina, Mr Van Dyk and Mrs Botes, made the winter blues evaporate like snowflakes melted by the warm rays of the sun.

The gentle touch of Susan (supposed to warm my hands), the delightful Dezi, optimistic Mr De Meyer, my favourite artists Oom Johnny and Mrs Ashborne, Mrs Venter’s never-ending life lessons, the sweet melodies of Danie and the choir, and, the forever young Jan Hattingh! These are some of the people that made it worthwhile. “Hulle het gekruip in my hart en ek het deel gevoel van die familie”.

Yes, I laughed at Ntate Frans’s jokes till my tummy ached, we embraced each other and celebrated our achievements. But the pain of losing loved ones in the home was just as intense. The loving and generous soul of Elise, Mr Welthagen, who reminded me that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and Jakkals who made me believe in love again. May your souls rest in peace.

I am hopping into spring with renewed energy, fearless and very self-confident, my life has been touched by angels in more than one way. I shall cherish this humbling experience for the rest of my life.

“Uiteindelik het ek ‘n gevoel gehad van ‘behoort’. I saw my life in colour, thank you SAVF!”

Ditlhare Mokhema

Student Social Worker, since qualified as Social Worker.

Extract from the “Kleur ‘n lewe – Colour a life” booklet, with real life stories from SAVF.

SAVF Recognises Human Rights Day – 21 March

What are human rights?

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from birth until death. They apply regardless of where you are from, what you believe or how you choose to live your life.

They can never be taken away, although they can sometimes be restricted – for example if a person breaks the law, or in the interest of national security.

These basic rights are based on shared values like dignity, fairness, equality, respect and independence. These values are defined and protected by law.

(South Africa’s Constitution – 1996)

“Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status.  Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education and many more.  Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.” United Nations description.

What about responsibilities?

“I accept the call to responsibility that comes with the many rights and freedoms that I have been privileged to inherit from the sacrifice and suffering of those who came before me. I appreciate that the rights enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa are inseparable from my duties and responsibilities to others. Therefore I accept that with every right comes a set of responsibilities”.

(A Bill of Responsibilities for the youth of South Africa – 2011)

At its inception SAVF was founded for the less privileged and vulnerable.  SAVF is still relevant as it advocates and supports the rights of the vulnerable, sometimes voiceless, and marginalized in society as beneficiaries.

In its Credo SAVF clearly outlines and emphasizes its belief in the ‘…dignity and potential of every human being.’  This is echoed in the newly adopted ethos:

  • SAVF supports non-discrimination which includes but is not limited to racism, sexism, gender equality, differently abled persons and age-ism, amongst others.
  • The organization supports and values the potential, contribution and well-being of its personnel, volunteers and beneficiaries.

The SAVF “Colour a Life” publication brims with stories of the effect of touching lives and treating them with dignity. Johan, a psychiatric patient, found a home in SAVF Ons Hulde Home for the Aged and after a struggle to adapt, he found happiness and everybody enjoys having him as part of the family.  The lonely, the homeless, alcoholics and people finding a meal in a dustbin, are described in this book, as finding company, family, peace and healing through SAVF services.

SAVF endeavours in various ways, be it via training, seminars and programmes, to ensure that personnel, volunteers and beneficiaries are empowered about their rights and responsibilities.

Bridget Seabela & Dr Blanché Verster


The Fourth Industrial Revolution can be described as the advent of “cyber-physical systems”, involving entirely new capabilities for people and machines. The Fourth Industrial Revolution represents entirely new ways in which technology becomes embedded within societies and even our human bodies.

Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, says:

‘I am a great enthusiast and early adopter of technology, but sometimes I wonder whether the inexorable integration of technology in our lives could diminish some of our quintessential human capacities, such as compassion and cooperation. Our relationship with our smartphones is a case in point. Constant connection may deprive us of one of life’s most important assets: the time to pause, reflect, and engage in meaningful conversation.

Therefore, irrespective of many changes in society awaiting us, the need for care, protection, warmth and comfort will not easily be replaced by artificial intelligence and robots.

As a profession, we are founded on ethical principles, norms and values.

As an organisation, we strive to serve children, families and the elderly who are dependent upon us.

As Social Workers and Social Auxiliary Workers we become the change makers in people’s lives and also the instrument to give people HOPE.

One of the pillars of a democracy is a vibrant civil society that influences the wellbeing of its citizens.

Social Workers are part and parcel of civil society and therefore need to be the conscience of society.

The late Minister Kadar Asmal once said:” If the constitution is the head of a country, welfare is the heart of a country.”

As SAVF, we honour every Social Worker and Social Auxiliary Worker who goes the extra mile and ensures that our mission is accomplished.

We salute you on Social Worker’s Day, 19 March 2019.

Marieta Kemp – Director Social Services

International Men’s Day

Fathers’ Network’s new patron will be introduced during a breakfast event on 19 November 2018 at SAVF in Pretoria. Bheki Langa of Bhekanani is a businessman and owner of the Tshwane Gospel Choir.

He has been building a legacy of being a mentor and father figure to many young, fatherless people. His appointment on this specific date is appropriate, since the theme of International Men’s Day 2018 is Positive Male Role models.

Another reason for celebration is the recent release of “The Guide to Restoration from Father-Pain.” It consists of 33 videos in which 7 Fathers’ Network Members guide the fatherless, mentors and professionals in the process of restoration. Find the guide on and

International Men’s Day has been celebrated since 1992 and is done so in over 70 countries world-wide. Together with millions of people, we’d like to celebrate the good, positive men and fathers in South Africa! The men and women in Fathers’ Network all over South Africa are passionate about empowering men to be good fathers and role models.

Fathers’ Network identified the following aspects of work regarding father absence and its respective members are involved in one or more of these matters:

  • Awareness of the importance of father involvement
  • Fatherhood Skills
  • Enabling change in gate-keeping by mothers
  • Empowering decision makers to enable father involvement
  • Restoration through therapy, counselling and life coaching
  • Mentor-ship
  • True masculinity
  • Change in policies
  • Addressing the effects of father absence such as drug and alcohol abuse, criminal activities, teenage pregnancies
  • Strengthening of families

In Bheki Langa’s words: “It is time that good news such as this is given priority in our media.” The work of Network members, including our new patron, appeals to the challenges and pain every person is confronted with every day.

You as the media are invited to attend this event. Contact Erna Rheeder, or 084 3839 417.

SAVF’s year of service delivery 2017 – 2018 Changing lives…

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived.  It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – Nelson Mandela

SAVF is celebrating 114 years of services in 2018.

Services are managed under the leadership of the National Executive Board, 5 NEB committees, 4 steering committees, 5 provincial committees and 87 local service managements.

SAVF is a national welfare organisation rendering widespread services in SOUTH AFRICA.

Facilities are located in 23 welfare districts and 337 urban areas, towns and communities, in

  • Gauteng
      • KwaZulu-Natal
  • Mpumalanga
      • Limpopo
  • North West.

Services from programmes and projects are not limited to the said provinces, but also extend to other provinces.


Many numbers are given, but each one represents a person – a child, an adult or an elderly person with his or her unique circumstances and needs, reached and touched by SAVF.

Extensive services to 274 420 people were rendered from 178 facilities

  • 4 child and youth care centres
  • 32 early childhood development day centres
  • 38 social work offices
  • 4 shelters
  • 31 homes for older persons
  • 54 housing schemes for elderly / adults / youth
  • 15 community / service centres

Services include:

Early childhood development, child- and youth care centres, foster care, safe homes, child protection, preventative and therapeutic programmes, empowerment of teenagers and mothers and fathers, family care, community programmes such as empowerment, skills development, poverty eradication, HIV programmes, employee health and wellness, luncheon clubs, home support services and more.

Services towards HIV /Aids calculated to 4286 persons.

Projects are usually presented in the short term and include the following:

Awareness campaigns, feeding schemes, child protection week, Tekkie Tax, Mandela day, the celebration of specific national and international days such as Youth Day, holiday projects, campaigns for older persons, and 16 Days of activism against abuse of women and children.

Tekkie Tax

“Leaving a little sparkle” by means of increased Tekkie Tax activities and fundraising led to awareness and support. SAVF is proud to be part of this initiative and especially the B-sector, BRING HOPE.

Charity shops

Eight charity shops are operational, however, more facilities undertake actions such as informal second-hand sales and planting and utilisation of vegetable gardens.


Six organisations are officially affiliated with SAVF and were assisted as emerging organisations:

  • Millennium Home of Hope, Foster care – Witrivier, Mpumalanga
  • Mali Martin/Polokegong Centre – Bronkhorstspruit and Cullinan, Mpumalanga
  • Distinct Orphan Care – Refilwe, Mpumalanga
  • Lesedi Bokamoso – Mamelodi, Gauteng
  • Tipfuxeni support and skills development centre – Oskraal, North West
  • The New Baengele baMorena – Maubane, Gauteng

Several other organisations were assisted in an informal manner and for shorter terms.

Would you like to become involved?

Please join SAVF and use your skills on SAVF local management level or by means of other assistance, fundraising or practical tasks that suit you.

It will have special meaning for the SAVF and could enrich your life as volunteer.

Nelie Viljoen-Toet

Manager Social Services

Being a Child and Youth Care Worker

How do I define what it is that I do as a CYCW?

I regard it as a service we provide to children. It is about teaching them how to be neat and to tidy up in a home environment. I like to think I provide a caring, consistent and structured environment that meets the children’s needs. Needs such as physical, emotional, social, and spiritual, as well as educational needs.

I want to give them a home where they can develop to their full potential. Our home is a place where their families are welcomed as an integral part of the child’s life.

Every day poses a challenge. It is not always easy and there are days that are better than others. It is a challenging environment to work in. There are days that you feel like giving up, but then one little word of encouragement changes that. We work long hours, but we work as a team. We become like a family. I am very fortunate to work with people worth their weight in gold. People who go out of their way to assist where assistance is needed and where the children always come first.

To me being a CYCW is not just a job, I see it as a calling.

By Meraldi Fourie

Amazing Grace

(A true story about how love conquers all fear)

Our story begins with a strong, courageous lady with dancing blue eyes and attitude in her stride.  She touched the lives of so many with her beautiful compassionate heart.  However, her heart was reserved for one special little boy whom she waited for all her life … she would receive him as a gift from above.

It was dawn and thirteen days to Christmas.  The city was dressed in festive décor.  The Jacaranda trees beautified the city with their purple shade.  The maternity ward at the city hospital was buzzing with new life and mothers, who were overjoyed and proud of their bundles of joy.  Tucked away in the far end of the ward, a baby bundle cried his first cry.  With one quick movement the nurse placed the baby boy in the incubator, no loving arms to hold him.  “The mother cannot keep him”, (whispers behind judging hands).   The baby would be called Stevie … you see, because our story would not be complete without this strong, courageous boy.

He is the boy as tough as nails, who would learn to survive and conquer.  The beautiful boy with life dancing in his eyes and the dimple in his cheek.  His giggle lights up a room.  The boy who grabs life with his whole being.

This is a story of a match made in heaven, how brave Stevie found his way home to his Lanie.  His Lanie with love in her eyes for him, his save haven and his voice in his voiceless world.

Lelanie first held Stevie as a six-week-old infant.  Her friend was Stevie’s place-of-safety mother.  She fell in love with this gorgeous bundle as she assisted her friend during the day, caring for Stevie.  The time came for Stevie to be moved to a place-of-safety centre with other small children and babies.  Lelanie realised that Stevie needed family.  She would be his family.  Regular visits and weekend sleepovers started, during which Lelanie and Stevie grew closer and closer, forming a strong bond of love.

Parting became difficult and made them cry.  Sometimes Stevie refused to let go of his Lanie.  “Stevie, Lanie will not come back if you cry,” reprimanded the aunties at the centre.  Lelanie picked him up and held him close to her heart.  She pressed a kiss on his head and whispered, “I will always come back.  I love you Stevie”.

“Be brave now, Stevie, our Warrior”.  He bit his lip and walked back to his room with a tear still visible on his cheek.  “Lanie will come back”.  And she always did … till one day.  Things started to change.  This time, Stevie’s Lanie came to fetch him to come home forever.  His Lanie … his mommy!

The strong courageous lady will not tell you of the many sleepless nights and how she prayed, “Father, use me, but help me, please.  I am scared”.  She will not tell you how she cried, seeing her broken boy and feeling helpless, “How will he survive this?”  She will not tell you about her uphill battle providing a voice for this child, about how ordinary aspects like obtaining a birth certificate became an extraordinary accomplishment within a child-unfriendly system.  She chooses to smile and say, “I’ll do it all over again.”  She never complains, she just loves her boy.  Then one unexpected day, brave Stevie placed his hand in his Lanie’s hand and said, “Mommy, I love you”.  These are the moments which made all the battles, fights, tears and sleepless nights just melt away.

It is amazing grace. God answered her prayers for a child that would touch her life and heart forever.  God saw this magnificent boy without loving arms to comfort him and it touched His heart.  Lelanie, go well courageous lady.  Love your boy with all your heart.  Go brave Stevie, grow up to be strong and happy and keep on grabbing life with passion and joy.

By Henlie Holm

Women, the foundation of the SAVF

Women’s day … women’s month … a female power which runs like a golden thread throughout the history of the SAVF over the years. The women who had the courage, under the most precarious circumstances of a war, to create an organisation with new vision and energy, to alleviate the circumstances of children, families and the aged. They did not only dream but also acted, they did not call on a DSD or the kindness of others, but put shoulder to the wheel and made plans by themselves. Since 1904 the monuments exist in the SAVF of women, who addressed the need of the day.  The SAVF faces the challenge to take forward the farsightedness, courage, and drive of these women, for the generations to come and who are dependent on the organisation for service.

We salute our women leaders!



In SA, 9 August is Women’s Day and the month of August is National Women’s Month. This is an opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements and the important role that women of all races and religions have played and continue to play in the South African society.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah once said: “No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you”

Women are in so many instances the core of their families. The person that will support, care, pray, sustain, mentor and fight for their family members.

The SAVF is a living example of the power and endurance of women. Against all odds, this organisation was established in a time of war, poverty, illnesses, and animosity, even amongst their own countrymen.

They had no manual or guideline of how to establish and develop an organisation that will bring hope in a time of despair. The only thing they had, was faith, a motivation, and a vision to start making a difference to people’s hardships. How ironic, that one of the first facilities that were built, was the home for unmarried mothers – women who could easily have been pushed away by society, but who were taken care of by these women.

The SAVF can hardly exist without the power and strength of women. We see them in our management structures, as personnel – professional, administrative and domestic staff, as the volunteers that are willing to do the work nobody else wants to do; and our women donors who know that to give is often more valuable than to have.

We are proud of and blessed by the number of women that the SAVF can bring hope to by means of social assistance, therapy, housing, protection, and development. They form part of the 274,420 individuals we render a service to.

This is the time for all women in the SAVF to embrace womanhood, to take the best from the past, to celebrate the women in our services and to continue to believe in the difference we can make in a country with many challenges and against all odds………….

We salute you!


How to live a fulfilled life

Have you ever had that feeling of emptiness, worthlessness, kind of under the weather and wondering if what you are doing is meaning anything at all?

I know that I felt like that quite often until I have discovered what a blessing it is to be able to mean something to someone. I am not talking about what you are doing for your husband/wife or child, but what it feels like to make a real difference in someone’s life.

Do you know that you have the ability to change lives for the better?  When you do that, it pleases God tremendously. The Word of God says in James 1:27 “External religious worship (religion as it is expressed in outward acts) that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this; to visit and help and care for orphans and widows in their affliction and need…”

The SAVF provides a wonderful platform for that. Anyone can, and everyone should become a volunteer.

You ask me WHY? I will tell you:

  • The more you give, the happier you will become. You can give anything, like your time, talents, professional help, materialistic things or money. Anything that you feel in your heart is needed, is welcome.
  • It will increase your self-confidence.
  • It will give you a sense of accomplishment and pride.
  • It will become part of your identity.

What can you gain from being a volunteer?

  • Tremendous personal growth.
  • Making a positive difference.
  • Meet new people.
  • Learn new skills.
  • Take on a challenge.
  • Have a lot of fun!

Did you know that being a volunteer has social benefits?

  • It improves mental and physical health.
  • It gives you better brain function.
  • It lowers risks for depression and anxiety.
  • It improves the immune system.
  • Benefits come quickly and have long-term effects.

How will you be able to grow personally?

  • learn industry-related skills;
  • learn how to work in a team;
  • you will learn strong leadership skills and set an example for others;
  • you will be able to have leadership opportunities;
  • learn problem solving and adaptability;
  • improve your communication skills;
  • learn how to plan and prioritise work;
  • also, learn sales skills;
  • learn to do time management;
  • get real world experience;
  • gain new perspective;
  • learn to explore more;
  • learn about the value of commitment;
  • improve your organizational skills;
  • learn to appreciate others and you will be appreciated as well;
  • receive a lot of respect from the community, other volunteers and the personnel of the SAVF;

Why is it important to be a volunteer?

  • You are changing lives and making a positive difference.
  • It is good for your health and wellbeing.
  • You can use it on your resume to demonstrate your commitment to the community and willingness to work.

I challenge you to live, experience, grow and be the change!

What does it mean to be a difference maker?

  • To be someone who has an impact or an effect.
  • To be one who brings about change.
  • It takes uniqueness to make a difference, so be unique.

Did you know that is a legal obligation for NPO managements to consist of volunteers? The community have to manage the NPO. Each service management has to have at least five volunteers (not personnel). The SAVF have 89 service managements and could even grow more. We are in desperate need of committed volunteers to help us with need in the community. The SAVF cannot function without volunteers. Everyone is welcome to join us, and if you have skills to learn us or guide us with, you will be invaluable to the organization.

Volunteers have been the roots of the SAVF. They are the people with heart. People’s people. They do invaluable work in areas of need together with the personnel of the SAVF. Without volunteers, the SAVF would not be able to provide for so many in need.


We honour you,

We appreciate you,


Contact a facility near you

Dedré Delport – SAVF 2e Vice-president