A love letter to 2018, and WDB Trust

2018 has taught me so much on a personal level, and I can only feel truly blessed to have worked alongside the team at WDB Trust, whether our friends or colleagues at head office in Johannesburg or our staff in the field.

We had numerous highlights and definitely some fun times during 2018. Mandela Day gave us all the opportunity to think about our memories of Madiba and live the theme for this year – #ActionAgainstPoverty. In this, Mandela’s centenary year, the theme has never been more apt: we need to TAKE ACTION against POVERTY. In true WDB style, we jumped in boots and all and did what we could to make a difference to our chosen communities on the day.  I love the photographs that came from the various branches across the country – so much good being done, and so much fun doing it!

Women’s Day and Women’s Month really gave us time to pause and celebrate each other. The women’s movement around the world is definitely moving to a whole new level and it’s very important that WDB is part of constantly seeking equality and equity when it comes to gender, whether it’s in the farmlands of rural Mpumalanga or in the boardrooms of Sandton.

Heritage Month is always very special, and I just loved how all the WDB staff members came to work in their different outfits to celebrate Heritage Day. Our country is so rich and beautiful and when all creeds and cultures are together in one space, there is huge cause for celebration.

Another reason to celebrate was the fact that our patron, Mrs Zanele Mbeki, turned 80! We enjoyed her surprise party at the office and the look on Ma’am’s face on being presented with a delicious birthday cake was priceless. Thank you for your incredible inspiration over the years; we would not be WDB without you and your incredible vision that pushes us to push ourselves in fighting the good fight against poverty.

As you will have read in my other blog post in November, I attended the African Women in Dialogue (the brainchild of the Zanele Mbeki Development Trust) in Johannesburg, where we discussed how essential it is that African women are part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). I learnt so much from the presentations and talks that took place and I urge each and every one of you reading this blog to further research and investigate how we can use technology to change the world as we know it, AND in particular how we can affect poverty in Africa using technology. Let’s seek solutions to improve the lives of those in under-resourced areas and to eradicate the face of poverty, because as we have said countless times, the face of poverty is woman.

4IR has definitely made a mark in how the WDB Trust operates and we have made some great technological advancements with Siyakhula on the operations side. Thanks to the ICT team (Nontombi and Khayana), Siyakhula team (Asphina and Mandisa) and to David Katende (consultant from CCS) for ensuring that we have a live system for the Siyakhula Programme.

Fikile Buthelezi has done some incredible work with Training Academy in launching computer-based literacy programmes in KZN. And, as she says, this is just the beginning.

On the Zenzele side of things, we have seen amazing work by Sibongiseni and her team, and some very moving personal stories, some of which we will share with you on this blog. Change may seem to happen slowly, but change is progress. We are making inroads in addressing poverty and its ills, one family at a time

I would also like to thank the corporate services team (HR, Finance, ICT and Knowledge Management) for providing support to the programmes and the organisation at large.

On a personal note, I am also facing some changes of my own – as I will be leaving the WDB Trust at the end of this month. I have had the most incredible opportunity to work with all of you and I have learnt so much about this incredible organisation, about my incredible colleagues and about myself. So, I would like to say thank you so much for everything, and please let us not be strangers.

I wish everyone a blessed festive season and a fantastic 2019!

Kind Regards

Nomgqibelo Mdlalose