Miss South Africa 2019 has honoured Mama Mirriam
Written by Seth Smith on August 12, 2019
Johannesburg South Africa- Solani Mirriam Mazibuko (71) was named Mother of the Nation at the Miss South Africa 2019 pageant which took place at the Sun Arena in Pretoria on Women’s Day.
The director of the Orlando Children’s Home was honoured during the live screening of the pageant by host Bonang Matheba and received R50 000 from Miss South Africa sponsors, the LFP Group.
She was nominated by Miss South Africa finalist Noluthando Bennett.
Mama Mirriam, as she is affectionately known, has inspired hundreds of young people who have passed through her care at the Orlando Children’s Home.
Said Bennett: “She truly is a mother of many, giving of herself and her time to help children who are in her care, who have been abandoned, who would otherwise be unloved and unwanted. She is my heroine.”
Mama Mirriam says she does what she does because she is driven to make sure that the children in her charge have the right start in life.
She is unsentimental in her approach, which is simple: Children need as close a proximate to a home where they are sheltered, protected and loved as is humanly possible. That is her end goal: to provide such an environment for these lost little ones until she can place them in a family situation in caring homes.
Said Mama Mirriam: “We have 60 children in need, aged up to 18-years-old, with us at the moment. This month, August – Women’s Month in South Africa – there are 84 children in the Orlando Home’s crèche. Our youngest is a one-month-old abandoned baby, whose parents could possibly have been HIV positive. Not that that makes any difference to us!”
She says that once the children are in her fold, there are no labels and their medical status remains confidential: “We just want our children to be adopted; to go to good homes. Everything else is immaterial.”
Mirriam Mazibuko joined Orlando Children’s Home in 1992, after a long stint at Johannesburg Child Welfare. The home, established in 1940 by the Johannesburg Child Welfare Society (they withdrew their support in 1977 due to a lack of funds), caters for children who have been abandoned by their parents.
Mama Mirriam says in her time at the home, she has had to wear a host of different hats.
“When you are the director of a small children’s home with few resources, you have to be a fund raiser, a safety officer, a social worker and a public relations consultant. I am on call 24 hours of the day, and am often called out at night if there is a problem with one of our children.”
It was fitting that this award was presented to Mama Mirriam on Women’s Day.
Sixty-three years ago, on August 9, 1956, when she was just eight years old, more than
20 000 South African women of all races marched on The Union Buildings to protest against African women being forced to carry pass papers. Led by Mothers of the Nation, and heroines Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa and Sophia Williams, the women sang a protest song that has remained a signifier of the power of women: “You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock.”
This baton has been passed on to women like Mama Mirriam, whose courage, dedication, resilience and dogged perseverance we honour and applaud.
GET INVOLVED: Make a donation to The Orlando Children’s Home in cash, time or goods.
For more information visit: http://www.jch.org.za/involved.html
Issued by Ninesquared Communications and Events on behalf of the Miss South Africa Organisation.