Member News

Madiba Day


“To Greater Heights” – that is the motto of Zola Primary School in Soweto, and words they clearly live by. This year, we are proud to announce our Madiba Day initiative was with this special school. Despite their impoverished economic circumstances, they are hardworking and driven, and shine both academically and in sport. Their consistent levels of excellence both on and off the field make them very worthy recipients of PsySSA Student Division’s 2018 Madiba Day initiative.

On the 18th of July, we spent 67 minutes hosting an interactive seminar with Grade 5, 6 and 7 pupils. The main focus was on discussing mental health awareness. In addition, we discussed Epilepsy Awareness, general Reproductive Education & HIV awareness, followed by a Question and Answer session. We also handed out a Referral Resource Document to familiarise learners with existing Government and NGO’s that offer free services and support to adolescents. Snack packs were handed out to the pupils to keep them refreshed during the talks.

Zola Primary School strives to develop their pupils’ full potential, and we are excited to help them flourish and grow, particularly in the face of the urgent need for quality schooling in the area. The learners also made our day memorable with moving spoken word poetry, written and performed by the learners themselves in the spirit of Madiba.

A heartfelt thank you to presenters Bridget Greenslade, Muhammed Cassim, Dudu Nkosi and Naeema Sulliman. A special thanks to Cecilia Steenkamp for capturing these moments on camera, to the Community Development Sub-Committee, who arranged all the sponsors and raised over R6000 to purchase refreshments for the learners. Lastly, a huge thanks to the principal, staff and learners at Zola Primary School, whose passion and dedication is evident in the atmosphere of the school.

MTN Walk The Talk with 702


Walking for South Africa, walking for mental health! After many months of active campaigning, careful planning and enthusiastic teamwork, the PsySSA team, lead by the Student Division, participated in the annual MTN Walk the Talk with 50, 000 others. We walked for mental health and for the Takalani Home for the Mentally Handicapped, who have been relying on the goodwill of the public to feed their patients. Cathy, the administrator of Takalani, along with a few patients, were waiting at the finish line to surprise our team and express their gratitude. It was a heartwarming moment to meet some of the people whose lives hav been touched by this noble cause and the generosity of our sponsors and supporters.

Our participants braved the frosty early morning and met in Emmarentia, where they participated in one of three different legs – 15km, 8km and 5km. This year’s official theme was ‘Walking for South Africa’, and PsySSA SD chose to highlight the necessity of spreading awareness about mental health and reducing the stigma still shrouding it. We have written several posts about the Esidimeni tragedy, and during the planning stage of the walk several months ago, we came across an article about a facility called Takalani Home for the Mentally Handicapped who, in the fallout of the Esidimeni chaos, still hadn’t received government subsidies for basic necessities like food. We contacted Takalani and spoke to Cathy, their administrator, who detailed their dire need for food and explained that the only reason their patients were still fed was due to public donations.

We wrote an article about it and immediately collected food donations which we delivered the next day. It was during this time that we had started planning our 702 Walk the Talk, and a decision was made by our Executive Committee to support Takalani this year. We stayed in contact with Cathy, who, as recently as last week, said that they are still largely relying on public donations. This cause could not be more worthy, and to see the patients from Takalani at the finish line, cheering for us and congratulating us, was undoubtedly the best part of the day!

A very special thank you to PsySSA for allowing the Student Division to lead this initiative,and to the following members who walked for the PsySSA team: PsySSA SD chairperson Hennie Nel, Vice-Chair Muhammed Cassim, Secretary Jané Combrinck, SD Exco Member Dudu Nkosi, PsySSA Past Executive Brian Fafudi, Dr Shakira Choonara, the UJ Student Forum, and all the other participants for taking part in an event that not only raised awareness, but also made a difference in people’s lives.

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