Gogo Dani Vilakazi is 80 years old. She lives with her family, but there are 17 of them and they all shared a dilapidated shack (that has collapsed twice before), until the recent efforts of her caring neighbour changed her life
Sakhisizwe Warriors Foundation is a small community group that is working hard to change lives, and Busisiwe Makhathini is one of their founder members. She is also the neighbour of Dani Vilakazi, and was shocked when she saw how Dani lived… in fear of her shack collapsing on her family while they slept – once again.
Galvanised into action by their plight, she recorded a video to highlight Dani’s plight and uploaded it on Facebook. Pastor Bevan Russell of Co-Church, a fledgling church in the area, was moved by her situation and pledged his church’s support.
We spoke to Bevan about his involvement and why it means so much to his church to support those in need in the community
He explained that his church held their first service in February, a month before lockdown, and the message they wanted to spread to the community is one of partnership and collaboration (the inspiration for the name Co-Church). Instead of the traditional tithe, the church members were excited to support a project that would have a direct impact on changing the life of someone in the area, and Busisiwe and her Sakhisizwe Warriors Foundation were happy to drive the project.
Bricks and materials were donated, labour costs were discounted and the community got stuck in
The result is a modest two-room house that is by no means a palace, but to Gogo Dani it’s a mansion. She can now sleep in peace in her solid new structure, and her family have a real house to call home.
“When my days come to an end, I will rest in peace because I know now my family will be left in a safe place to sleep, thanks to Busisiwe and Pastor Russell who made sure that my dream came true. God bless them and all those who were involved,” says the elderly gogo.
Find more info on Co-Church here www.co-church.org