For Mohapi William Modibane, helping those in need has nothing to do with monetary wealth. It’s all about thinking outside the box. By Esethu Numa
In northern Gauteng, almost on the border of the North West province, lies Hammanskraal, one of South Africa’s small towns. Poverty and unemployment are rife. It’s here that Mohapi William Modibane is trying to make a difference in the lives of the many affected by financial hardship.
Charity begins at home
‘It hurts me to see another person going to bed hungry, sleeping under a bridge or in the streets and wearing torn clothes. Seeing people throw away what others can use made me realise that I should really help,’ says Mohapi, a security guard at Midstream Estate in Centurion.
His philanthropic mission began in 2012, after his wife Mitta, a volunteer at the Tshwaraganang Children’s Home, encouraged him to get involved with the organisation.
Mohapi started collecting clothing, food and bedding from the residents of Midstream Estate and the students at Midstream College, and then taking it to the orphanage. He extended his good deeds to include donations to the Sunshine Self Help Association for People with Disability and Lebogang Odirile Community Support Centre.
But, as with any worthwhile endeavour, Mohapi is constantly faced with certain challenges. His biggest hurdle so far has been transportation. ‘I’ve received great assistance from Midstream College – they usually transport everything they give me – but I mostly use taxis that I pay for myself or hire a vehicle to take the items to those who need them.’
Follow the leader
It’s this selfless behaviour that saw one admirer write to Lead SA, a local organisation that seeks out heroes who make a difference in the lives of others in communities around the country.
The letter mentioned Mohapi’s tireless collection efforts, the fact that he takes orphans under his own roof, feeding and clothing them, and how he looks after and feeds the elderly. ‘And he does all of this on his security guard salary. He has a family of his own to look after as well. He gets the people of Midstream involved in collecting food for the needy in Hammanskraal and making all of us aware of the desperate need out there. He’s amazing! Even when his health is poor, he finds the time and energy to put other people’s needs first. He’s a modern-day hero!’ she wrote.
The powers that be agreed, and in December 2014, Mohapi was named Gauteng’s Lead SA Hero of the Month. And he’s used this opportunity to get his message out to a wider audience. ‘When you throw away even a slice of bread, know that there are children who go to bed hungry. When you go to bed in your safe, locked house, know that there are children who sleep under trees. I started doing this because I saw that many people weren’t very active in the community. When you succeed in life, it’s important to be remembered for doing something in your community. Let’s make a difference.’
It’s all the small things
And Mohapi has kept on trying his best to do exactly that. Currently, he is establishing an after-school care programme and planting a vegetable garden at a nearby primary school in his community, but funds are lacking.
Mohapi, however, won’t let this stand in his way. He’s quick to point out that people can get involved in other ways. ‘If you have beds, clothes, office furniture and equipment, or electrical appliances – anything you don’t need or use any more, really – remember that someone might be able to use that effectively.’
This can-do spirit certainly makes Mohapi a man we can learn from and who inspires other people to be active members of their own communities.