Like Martin Luther King, Manana Moloi had a Dream in 2008. Ten years later, that dream has been partially fulfilled.
Where there was a vacuum, an imposing community centre has materialized in the name of Mamello Community Group. This reality would have remained a mirage had it not been for the vision, resourcefulness and spirit of Manana Moloi.
One of the most beautiful sights of the Mamello Project is the vegetable garden where the members of the project grow food for themselves and even assist schools and households to plant those seeds that ultimately turn into food. This initiative on its own has potential to galvanize the greater Harrismith area into a vegetable zone of unlimited proportions.
In 2008, Moloi used her garage to start taking care of the poor, sick and distressed. Her main objective was to provide food for the hungry wandering in the streets of Intabazwe township. As the numbers of the hungry increased, the need for a suitable facility became urgent. Moloi, in her own patient and systematic way, worked hard, knocked on doors and finally won. Today the Mamello Support Group centre stands as a towering symbol of community development. Ably led by the veteran Mma Moloi, the facility is a centre of community life.
The impact of the Mamello centre in the community is immense. The centre is like the sun around which the Harrismith community revolves. Dozens of workers till the land in all sorts of weather to produce vegetable sorely needed by the community. Dozens more spend time cooking for those working and the needy in the community. After knocking off from school, children gravitate towards the centre for food, doing homework and engaging in sporting activities. A thriving local soccer team has grown out of this centre. Taking children away from the streets is not only a wish, it is a reality. There are approximately fifty direct beneficiaries of the project.
The centre has been experimenting in income-generating projects in an endeavour to reach some level of self-sufficiency. A community sewing project was initiated but collapsed for lack of support. At the moment, there is a bakery project that requires more financial injection to,reach its full potential. Thuma Mina is engaging with Moloi to see how resources can be mobilized to take the project to its next level.
In terms of challenges facing the project, Manana Moloi had this to say to the Thuma Mina crew: “although we have achieved much, there are still challenges haunting us. We need to create a secure environment for Mamello and a wall fence would make a lot of difference. With our bakery project and revival of our sewing project, we should reach the sky.”