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Media Release: Addo staff do their bit on Mandela Day

18 July 2013

The Park’s flagship project is renovating the home of a 73-year-old grandmother, who has a granddaughter and three great-grandchildren living with her.  Known to the Park’s staff as “Ouma” or Mam’Tshawe, Jeanette Lindiwe Makaza was at first hesitant to give away her age, only divulging that she was “a few years younger than Madiba”. 

Ouma and her family, her 27-year old granddaughter and the youngsters, aged six and eight years and eight months old, live on the border of the Park just as one turns off the R335 to enter the Main Camp.  Her father used to work for the Park, and she’s lived there all her life.  

The preparation work started yesterday.  Work is still in full swing - since early this morning.  Park contractors have also come on board to assist.  Boarded up windows have been replaced with new windows sponsored by PG Glass in Uitenhage.  Cracked walls inside and out were plastered and given a fresh coat of paint, with paint brushes supplied by Uitenhage Sawmills.  Faulty taps and pipes were replaced in the kitchen and shelves were installed in the two bedrooms.  Bushes surrounding the home are being removed, new fencing was erected and the administration staff washed the cupboards and all the contents of the kitchen.  Zenobia Trading donated cleaning materials, and the most generous sponsorship was that of a double bed and two three-quarter beds for the family by Vitafoam.

Asked what she thought of the hordes of people in and around her home today, Ouma simply said, “It makes my heart very, very happy.  I’m so grateful.”

While all of this was happening, Mam’Tshawe and her family were treated to lunch courtesy of the Park Restaurant, and then hosted to a game drive.  She was beaming as she returned to her home afterwards, which had already undergone an amazing transformation since she’d left.  “It was my first time on one of these trucks,” she said. “I saw lots and lots of elephants, but no lion,” she chuckled.  She also couldn’t stop thanking everyone working on her home, even though there was still much to be done at the time.

The Park’s tourism staff collected money amongst themselves and have bought groceries for the family.  Bedding and curtains not used in the Park’s accommodation units will also be donated, while a number of individual staff members have donated items of clothing and bedding.

Other projects happening in and around the Park include a clean-up of the staff village.  The litter collected will be recycled.  The Park’s People and Conservation Department are also assisting the St Reginald Primary School outside Kirkwood to start up a veggie garden.

Addo Elephant National Park’s management would like to thank all their partners who participated through their generous donations, as well as their staff who gave up of their time to assist the less fortunate.

Addo House
Addo Elephant National Park staff and contractors adding a fresh coat of paint to Mam’Tshawe’s home.

Mam’Tshawe and members of her family about to go on a game drive in Addo while their home is being renovated.

New windows
New windows were installed courtesy of PG Glass in Uitenhage.

Staff washing
Some of Addo’s Admin staff took the time to wash the cupboards and contents of Mam’Tshawe’s kitchen.

Issued by:
South African National Parks (SANParks) Frontier Region Communications
Tel: 042 233 8609

Fayroush Ludick
Regional Manager: Communications, SANParks    
Tel: 042 233 8609;  Cell: 082 888 0201