Nomantha Velebayi (Abigail is her English name) was born in the Eastern Cape in 196l. She passed Standard 5 schooling and in 1979 married and had three children. Her parents died and she was left to look after the rest of her family and then in 2001 her husband died and Abigail’s struggle began.
In 2003 she started the Zamuxolo Educare Creche in Khayelisha, and it was a constant battle to feed and clothe the kids. In 2007 she met Nadia Price, a director of Just Charity, at a South Africa Broadcasting Corporation function which had specifically invited a few people in need, like Abigail, in order to make contact with people who might be able to help assist them in their plights. And that’s how Nadia met Abigail. Having met Abigail, Nadia asked Yolanda Potgeiter, her partner in Just Charity, to come on board and help.
By the time Nomantha or Abigail met Nadia and Yolanda she had between 75 and 85 kids with her!! Some of the children were orphaned, some were HIV+ and others just desperately poor kids surviving in wretched living conditions.
Abigail also runs a soup kitchen for the aged. Every evening old people, who are without food, come to her for a bowl of soup. In order to fund all this Abigail started up a young Gospel Choir whom she trains every afternoon. This helps to keep these “off the streets” teenagers aged between 12 to 18 off the streets and drug free. They have recorded a home-made CD of the gospel music and sales bring in a little income.
It’s a crèche/orphanage because some kids stay 24hrs on 7 according to the needs of the community. She takes them all in and some kids literally get ‘dumped’ on the doorstep, luckily some wonderful Xhosa ladies give her a helping hand with the children.