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Mandela bikers boost women's shelter

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Bikers for Mandela Day, led by his former personal assistant, Zelda La Grange, were in Kimberley at the weekend to give a helping hand to a local organisation that helps abused women. Picture: Danie van der Lith

Kimberley - Nelson Mandela’s spirit of goodwill has brought back hope to women who are survivors of abuse in the Northern Cape as the 1st for Women Foundation, led by Madiba’s former personal assistant Zelda La Grange, donated R100 000 to an organisation that fights against the scourge.

On Saturday the Foundation, led by La Grange as its patron, handed over a cheque for R100 000 to the Grace Divine Outreach Centre in Kimberley to assist the centre in its work of providing help to women who have been raped and abused.

The foundation, La Grange and several celebrities who are part of the Bikers for Mandela Day ride, were in the city as part of their national tour to celebrate International Mandela Day.

The group, who included DJ Fresh of 5FM, Saint Seseli, Angie Khumalo, Anele Mdoda of 5FM, Alex Caige, Clint Cunningham and Johrne van Huyssteen, rode from Johannesburg to Vryburg, Kimberley and later Bloemfontein to highlight gender-based violence.

La Grange said: “The rights of women and children were close to Mandela’s heart, so we have dedicated our 2014 journey to the survivors of gender-based violence.

“We want to encourage more women to speak out, to take action, to follow through so that their attackers can be brought to book.”

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Friend and helper to the late Nelson Mandela, Zelda La Grange brought the Madiba spirit to Kimberley to highlight gender-based violence. Picture: Danie Van der Lith

When La Grange’s group arrived in Kimberley, they were joined by more than a hundred bikers from across the Province who all participated in numerous activities to celebrate International Mandela Day, which included spending 67 minutes packing the rape survivor care kits for the women who are accommodated at the centre and picking up rubbish at the Galeshewe Day Hospital premises.

La Grange said: “Nelson Mandela Day brings out the goodwill in people and we are trying to set an example that everybody can participate in celebrating this day irrespective of race, belief, political differences.”

“This day has brought us all together.” she said.

The UN-declared International Mandela Day will be celebrated this coming Friday. The tour started in Johannesburg on Thursday.

Mandela died in December last year as a result of a recurring lung infection.

The head of 1st for Women, Robyn Farrell, said that they were excited to have donated the money to the centre.

“This centre is important because it helps women,” she said.”This ride is about making a difference in the lives of our people, particularly women. We hope this donation will be put towards creating a shelter for women who have been abused in this area,” Farrell said.

“Women need to be loved and cared for. Our biggest message is certainly directed at men - to ask them to stop abusing women and children”.

The manager of the centre, Sonia August, said that the identification of her organisation by the Foundation was “the extension of God’s hand in the lives of women”.

Grace Divine Outreach centre provides short-term safe house accommodation for rape survivors and offers them counselling, court preparation and support, HIV testing and counselling and aftercare services in association with the Galeshewe Thuthuzela Care Centre.

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