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Read the story behind the Wine Village

Child Development Intervention Centre

Last year's successful charity event at La Paradiso

Anima, the centre for children with spcial needs, need your support! Join them for an exclusive dinner at the Arabella Hotel. They are planning an exclusive Gala Dinner at the ARABELLA HOTEL this year in aid of the ANIMA CHILD DEVELOPMENT INTERVENTION CENTRE in Sandbaai, Hermanus.
Anima was designed by ANDREW GREEFF ARCHITECTS & built by KENNEDY & HATTINGH Building Contractors two years ago.

The centre for children with special needs is situated on the grounds of the Hermanus Christian Academy.
It is our privilege to not only upgrade the Centre but also help upgrade the School building & playgrounds, which needs urgent attention. We need to build another classroom this year, which will enable us to accommodate a second group of children, & the road leading to the school needs to be tarred asap.

Your help is needed to realize these projects, & therefore we invite you to our Charity Dinner on Friday, 11 April at 19h00 for 19h30, where we will have a collection of superb art on auction ( for example: Tay Dall, Hennie Niemand Jr, Maeve Dewar, Neville Hickman, Lize van der Walt, Angie Key, Liza Botha and many more talented artists work).
Should you wish to join us on this special evening, attached please find Gala Invitation & bank details.
Should you be unable to attend, any donation would be very welcome.

Please RSVP by Friday, 4 April 2008.
Please use your name as reference - transfer & fax to 028-313-1977.
Looking forward to a wonderful evening together.

Lydia du Toit
Discover your resources!

"You can make a difference because of who you are, once you discover the resources within yourself, permanent change will start taking place." Lydia du Toit radiates an inner peace, love and beauty. She was one of six daughters, raised in the lower income bracket as her father earned his livelihood through prospect drilling. "We lived like gypsies, for us it was about the togetherness of family not the other paraphernalia cars and houses."

Pioneering spirit

Her mother, Ali, was a pioneer by being the first South African woman to home school her children. "We were living in the Kalahari at the time and my mother was convinced that we had to be raised and educated in a family atmosphere and in the close proximity of love. She contacted the Dept. of Education who maintained she was not qualified to teach, she subsequently wrote an exam and permission was then granted for her to teach us. My one little sister had leukaemia and my mother cured her with natural medicine, she was an amazing woman and served on the town council in Port Shepstone in later years." Another fond memory is of her father coming home from a business function with "treats" in his pockets as this family lived on pap and wild spinach only during some difficult weeks, and the highlight would be the bread and butter pudding on Sunday. I am beginning to understand where Lydia's quiet determination and high level of confidence has its origin.

Married at 21

Lydia met her husband when she was 16 and he 19. After completing her nursing diploma, Lydia and Francois were married and the couple did missionary work in the old Kangwane homeland and in Mozambique for 10 years. Over a period of 5 years they trained more than 700 young people in ministry teams. Some of their trainees are still doing missionary work throughout the world today. In November 1991 their thatch roof house was struck by lightning and everything they owned was lost in the fire. "We discovered that life was not about what we have lost, but valuing what we have within ourselves. Family and friends from every corner in South Africa arrived with loads of goods in order to replace what they had lost. "Love is the essence of life, without it, everything seems to lose its value and becomes insignificant."

Essence of God

"Love is the essence of God," explains Lydia. "He is love. We live to love. We want to live forever for the same reason we want to live tomorrow, to love and be loved. When we realise the goldmine in every person, we can look at somebody in rags and see him as our equal. Many religions maintain that loving yourself is vanity, it is not. I want to salute God in acknowledgement of His creation. When He made me, He said that it was very good. His Sabbath is not a break in a busy schedule, but the celebration of His satisfaction. My reference is not my own achievements, my reference is my origin. Jesus said the whole law is fulfilled in loving your neighbour as you love yourself"

Walking Safaris in the Sabi Sand

Francois, Lydia and their young children designed, built and managed a safari camp in the Sabi Sands. Their vision was to give affordable access to the local tourist. "We initially charged R150 per night and later years, R350 pp for accommodation, food and game drives. During weekends and holidays our children practised their hospitality skills around the Lapa serving our guests. I remember a group of tourists on a Game drive one day, taking photographs of me walking to the laundry (1.5km from our camp) with a bundle of washing balanced on my hand holding my children's hands."


Conservation is an issue that is very close to Lydia's heart. She believes that education is not a clinical, classroom matter as much as it is an exposure and environment conducive to forming lifelong mindsets. Locals need to understand in order to treasure their heritage. If we fail to educate our generation, more and more of our prime conservation areas will be sold out to private organisations, who do not cater for the local market."

Africa Inroads

Lydia and her niece, Helen, started with Africa Inroads in the beginning of 2005. For several years prior to that Francois and Lydia were involved in Zwelihle on a small scale helping with vegetable gardens here and there, supporting individuals in need. Through the creation of the Africa Inroads vision, a vehicle was established to help accommodate the vast potential of economic and tourism related opportunities in and around Hermanus. Their challenge is to see the informal settlement area not as a growing problem but a major asset as far as people potential is concerned. The objectives of Africa Inroads are three fold: Firstly the visitor to the township is given access through the creation of a "tourist friendly route," giving all visitors confidence to visit the township and at the same time create incentive to the township entrepreneur to develop his product. Secondly, it is the structuring of a market place, which is to develop into a cultural hub for the township, the town and the tourist. “Shopping Malls are cold and clinical experiences repeated anywhere in the world, whereas a local market creates an unbelievable buzz”
Thirdly, Africa Inroads is developing a community farm, which is the basis of the food and health security programme and various skills training projects.
Lydia is determined to create an awareness and her quiet determination will see her achieve her objectives. "There is a lot of synergy from local people who share the same dream and vision."

To instil hope

"It is my passion to instil hope in people who feel that there is no hope. I want them to experience the joy of finding their inner strength. We have to apply the theory in the practice and make it work. Too much time is spent in meetings, all the great ideas are on paper and it‘s time to be implemented! Too many people allow themselves to be neutralised. They might have various seemingly valid reasons to not get involved, but we desire to challenge the community with its many social and church groups to get out of their hiding places and become positive role players in impacting their own Immediate environment and future. Africa Inroads commit themselves to initiate the kind of projects that will build bridges in society where ordinary people can discover new friendships in neighbours that were previously ignored for years. We can make a difference! People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

My point of departure regarding development is one of using the resources at my disposal and not one of obtaining resources from outside the community in order to bring about change. The bottom line is that we must take what we have and start utilising it. We have to change our mindsets. If I can make a difference in my own life I can encourage those around me. When we landed here almost 9 years ago, we had just lost everything in business and were so negative and felt so bitter and angry. One line of a song by Michael and the Mechanics, “You’re a beggar on a beach of gold!” stopped us in our tracks!
My husband Francois said: " You can be just a pawn on a chessboard, but make your presence felt!” It is not impossible for a pawn to become a queen!

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