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Christmas Day at Nkosi’s Village

by Nkosis Haven
sumaya hisham-6435

sumaya hisham-6435Children at Nkosi’s Haven opening their present on Christmas Day with Gail playing ‘Mother Christmas’.  

“The generosity of people never ceases to a amaze me with so many getting involved by taking the time out to shop for a present, wrap and label it  – making it all so very personal and special for each child, who’s faces just light up when their name is called to ‘fetch their presents from Father Christmas!”  


We are exceptionally grateful to Nina Venjakob who did her Annual Christmas Present drive to her entire data base – the responses was overwhelming  – thank  you all so very much.  


Mark and Nikki Garden who  annually twist the arms of everyone at Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs and Webber Wentzel Bowens firm of Attorneys delivered over 145 presents to the Haven which were brought down to the Village for Christmas Day  –  thank  you all so, so much for always remembering and caring for the children of Nkosi’s Haven  –  you are stunning.

Eriger ALWAYS remember the children and over 145 ‘lucky packets’ had been made up, relevant to age with stunning, practical goodies in and of course ‘sweeties’.

And many a private person dropped off presents for children of certain age groups or specific children that they have met during the year  – thank you!!

Party Farm

by Nkosis Haven

The Nkosi Kids were invited for the third year to Max and Merle Viljoens Feathers and Fur Party Farm in Bredell.

NKOSI_2011_021Merle spent part of her childhood at the JCA and Strathyre childrens homes and has over the many years I have known her taught me a lot about giving and sharing. Her dream has always been to have farm animals and to build a party farm. Her main business is Triple M Kennels and Cattery for animals boarding, but this has spilled over into many other permanent enclosures housing many rescue cats and the newest two enclosures housing dogs that were rescued from the Bapsfontien squatter camp when it was torn down earlier this year and have been unable to find homes.

Most of the farm animals are also rescue animals and presently there are cows, sheep, goats, miniature horses, geese, rabbits probably over a 100 chickens, and of course Betsy the donkey. Merle has done an incredible job taming and keeping the farm animals tame, and this eventually led to the party farm.

This year there were over 40 kids and as usual the main attraction was the water slide. I was amazed at the under 5 year old kids who had no fear of the water and enjoyed it as much as the older kids. The biggest problem was that they did not have the body weight or the co-ordination to slide down it, so we improvised and ended up pulling them down with a rope. So long as they were able to hold onto the rope, it worked well. The 6 to 12 year olds all eventually got the swing of things and flew down. Best slider this year was definitely Minently followed by Petros. Next popular was the trampoline followed by the swings.

Thabiso was really great with the smaller kids, and whenever I looked, he was pushing them on the swings or was on the trampoline with them. Johanna was unbelievable. She controlled the water slide most of the day with either Fatima or myself, and the day would not have run as smoothly without her help. Zetu and Zintle were a huge help preparing and dishing up lunch. We again had hotdogs. I know it a bit boring, but it’s easy as there is no cooking involved, and it’s easy to heat the sausages (I use Merle’s kitchen in the house).

Keeping the Nkosi Johnson dream alive: A World Aids Day message from the Chairman of Nkosi’s Haven

by Nkosis Haven


Dear friends,

As many of you will know I have been passionately involved with Nkosi’s Haven for the last couple of years and the experience has been both uplifting and heart-breaking.

Nkosi’s Haven was formed in 1999 by Gail Johnson, the foster mother of Nkosi Johnson, who at the age 11 made one of the bravest and most moving speeches at the Durban hosted, 13th International Aids Conference in 2000, and became one of the key symbols of HIV/AIDS activism.  Our mission is to provide a safe and nurturing home environment for mothers, their children and orphans left destitute by HIV/AIDS.

We are not an orphanage

We have created a vibrant and secure village environment in which children are cared for by their “foster” mothers in order to receive the nurturing, values and love that are essential for the development of a child.  Whilst many of these children carry the burden of unspeakable pasts, they are given all the support and care that is needed for them to heal these wounds and to make the transition into a normal adult life.

We are not a hospice where people with HIV/AIDS come to prepare to die

We believe that with the right interventions, AIDS is not a terminal disease, but rather a chronic but manageable disease.  It is critical however that a treatment programme that focuses on lifestyle, medication, diet and overall health is key to making this transition.  Many of the people suffering from this disease or the effects of it carry with them huge social stigma, have in many cases been traumatised and abused, and have been reinforced with the belief that they have no future.  We provide an environment to deal with these past traumas and to create a safe and positive environment to give people dignity and hope.

At present there are 182 residents spread across the 2 houses in Berea and the village in Alan Manor, comprising 29 mothers and 153 children, of which approximately half are orphaned.

Girl Power

by Nkosis Haven

The following article was written by Laurelle Williams and originally appeared in tame Times on November 29,2011, Johannesburg South Africa.

GirlPowerWhat started out as a ‘boys bet’ turned out to empower two young girls, Patricia Canon (16) and Nonjabulo Khubani (18), residents of Nkosi Haven Village. On 20 November Patricia crossed the finish line of the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge becoming an instant heroine for the youth and if Nonjabulo had her way, she wouldhave still cycled the race with chicken pox but higher powers said it was a no go. Nonetheless, Nonjabulo is still a victor for putting the effort, commitment and dedication in her preparations.

Bradley Turkington presented Rob Noel with a deal: he would sponsor two bicycles on condition that Rob acquires two residents from Nkosi Haven and sees them to the finish line of the 94.7 cycle challenge. Seeing as Rob had made a commitment to Nkosi Haven since his Cape to Cairo charity trip that he rode in aid of Nkosi Haven and other charities early this year and not being able to say no to a ‘boys bet’, he took on the challenge. All residents of Nkosi Haven were asked who was interested in riding a bicycle and in stepped two brave, fearless young ladies, Patricia and Nonjubulo. The training commenced in September with Rob taking the girls to Cradle of Humankind and Suiker- bosrand on weekends to experience hills, the heat and long-distance riding.

“In total, we had 400km of training”

“At first the training was a struggle, Patricia really hated me as at first she despised hills, but thanks to the assistance and advice from Bradley, Patricia overcame her dislike of hills and conquered them. Bradley educated us on diet, hydra- tion and what to eat during a race and I am really proud of both of the girls. It is a major achievement to have the endurance, mental strength and belief that you will overcome a hill or will complete the training,” Rob said.

10th Anniversary Memorial Service

by Nkosis Haven


The Soweto Gospel Choir, multi international award winners, including 2 Grammies and 1 Emmy, performed at Nkosi’s 10th Memorial service, bringing a magnificent, emotional and dynamic dimension to the service.


Nkosi Johnson’s 10th Anniversary

by Nkosis Haven

Nkosi  Johnson’s 10th Anniversary Memorial Campaign


1st June marks the 10th anniversary of Nkosi  Johnson, the young AIDS activist, who passed away from an AIDS related disease on that day in 2001. Not only did Nkosi  give AIDS a face in Africa, but became a world icon when speaking at the opening ceremony of the 13th World AIDS Conference in  July 2000. Challenging the then government to roll out ARV’s to pregnant women to prevent the virus being passed onto their unborn children and asking for acceptance of all HIV/AIDS infected people as “we are all the same”.

Nkosi  first made international headlines in 1997 when his foster mother, Gail Johnson, tried to enroll him at a local school.  With no policies in place around the admission of HIV+ children into schools, the ensuing battle  to have him admitted brought to the fore the huge gaps in the health, education and social services  pertaining to care, education and acceptance of HIV+ children in schools.  Nkosi pioneered the Government policy that was launched two years later, giving all infected children the right to education.

The South African Whole Grain Bread Project

by Nkosis Haven

The following article orinially appeared in Breadlines: Volume 18, Issue 3. A publication by the Bread Bakers Guild of America.

By Daniel Leader, Guild Member and Co-owner of Bread Alone Bakery, Boiceville, NY

SAWGBP_Photo2The multicolored door to the metal shipping container creaks open to reveal two South African women pulling honey-colored loaves from a shiny oven. Outside the newly painted doors, three children munch on fresh bread in the hot, dusty courtyard of Nkosi’s Haven. I stand aside and watch, dressed in my baker’s pants and chef’s coat, while a group of neatly dressed children begin to gather around their mothers and other community women who have assembled to witness the fledgling beginnings of what I cautiously hope will be the gateway to their health, healing and livelihood: The South African Whole Grain Bread Project.