Goodwood CHC Fitness & Health Club and Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, visit Mhani Gingi Centre of Social Entrepreneurial Excellence

The Goodwood CHC Fitness & Health Club, and Western Cape Minister of Community Safety, Albert Frtiz (centre), visited the Mhani Gingi Centre of Social Entrepreneurial Excellence in October 2021 to view agri-processing developments.

Members of the Goodwood CHC Fitness & Health Club visited the Mhani Gingi Centre of Social Entrepreneurial Excellence in Athlone in October 2021 to view new developments at the site, including the state-of-the-art Mhani Gingi Agri-Processing Hub. A surprise visit from Western Cape Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, added to the occasion. 

Hundreds of nutritious meals being delivered in Uitsig community in Cape Town

A  group of 25 beneficiaries of Mhani Gingi Social Entrepreneurial Network who live in Uitsig Community in Cape Town is preparing and delivering much-needed food to hundreds of people in their community in Uitsig and Ravensmead.

The Uitsig group serving a meal at a new service point in Burren Close, Connaught Estate, in Cape Town in July 2020.

The group of people with physical disabilities from Uitsig Community, some of whom are in wheelchairs, are preparing food in seven of their homes.  The Uitsig group then serve  nutritious meals twice a week at service points in Azalea Avenue, Aster Avenue, Geranium Avenue, Thebus Way, Myrtle Road and De La Rey Street in Uitsig; Wendy Park in Ravensmead; and at a newly established distribution point at Burren Close in Connaught Estate.

The scene at the Aster Avenue soup station in Uitsig one morning in July 2020.

You wouldn’t believe the need in Uitsig, according to the team leader, Vanessa Baadjies.  “In just one road, Myrtle Road, we served more than 200 people,” Baadjies said.  The numbers fluctuate when children attend school.

Serving nutritious food at the Myrtle Road service point in Uitsig.

Maintaining social distance in the queue for food at the service point in Myrtle Road.

Under the supervision of Mhani Gingi Organic Herb and Vegetable Seedling Nursery, the Uitsig group maintain two community food gardens – one situated at Uitsig Primary School and another at the Uitsig Community Centre.  They also make crafts at the community centre but cannot work or cook there presently because of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

Social and health challenges

The need for food in the Uitsig area of Cape Town is exacerbated by poverty and various social and health challenges which include unemployment and a high incidence of tuberculosis (TB) infection. The situation in Uitsig has worsened for residents because of job losses that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as hunger resulting from children not attending school where they usually obtain meals, Baadjies said.

Serving a healthy meal at the Eureka service point in Thebus Way, Uitsig.

The queue for food at the service point in Thebus Way, Uitsig.

In the second week of July 2020, the Uitsig group served about 150 members of the Uitsig community, children and adults, with porridge, soup, food and cool drinks at two service points, in Myrtle Road and at the new point that was begun in Burren Close, Connaught Estate.  About 50 of these recipients were children.

“We served a total of 150 members of the community at both service points, thanks to the great support from Mhani Gingi,” said Baadjies.  “We are ever grateful to Mhani Gingi for enabling us to serve our various communities.”

A member of the Uitsig group serves food to a child in Burren Close.

In the same week, a large number of children were served food in Thebus Way, Azalea Avenue, Geranium Avenue and Aster Avenue.

Serving healthy food in Wendy Park, Ravensmead.

Mhani Gingi has received supplies of food as well as donations of kitchen equipment from the Ladles of Love organisation since May 2020.  These donations supplement the efforts of Mhani Gingi’s four Soup Stations which are situated in Uitsig Community, Athlone/Mannenberg and Retreat, and each feed about 200 people twice a week.  In total, about 1 600 nutritious meals are served in vulnerable communities by Mhani Gingi per week.

A nutritious meal being served by a member of the Uitsig group in Azalea Avenue, Uitsig, in July 2020.

The latest donation from a member of the public through Ladles of Love has added another 860 meals a month to the capacity of Mhani Gingi’s community food kitchens. The soup stations are a continuation of Mhani Gingi’s daily activities which promote food security and healthy nutrition among vulnerable communities through community gardening.

No access to decent meals

Lillian Masebenza, Founding Director of Mhani Gingi, points out that in the Uitsig area of Cape Town where the Uitsig group of beneficiaries live, there is a high prevalence not only of crime, but also multiple drug resistant (MDR) TB.   “Most of these beneficiaries take chronic medications for various ailments, and they cannot take these medications on empty stomachs,” said Masebenza.

“Also, because many children have not gone back to school due to the lockdown, they have no access to decent meals,” Masebenza said.

The Mhani Gingi Soup Station initiative enabled these children in Uitsig and other vulnerable children in Mannenberg and Retreat to have access to nutritious meals, Masebenza said.  The Soup Station in Retreat is operated at the Blouvlei School for Learners with Special Needs (LSN).

‘Leaving no-one behind’

“Not only do the donations help Mhani Gingi fulfill our wish to be inclusive, but also being in line with the pledge that supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, being ‘Leaving no-one behind’,” Masebenza added.

Serving a meal at the service point in Wendy Park, Ravensmead.

Meanwhile, the Uitsig group are planting vegetables and continuing to maintain the two community gardens which supply fresh produce for their own consumption and the community.  They started a community soup kitchen with produce from the community gardens to enable elderly residents in Uitsig to have something to eat before taking their medication.

The Mhani Gingi Centre of Social Entrepreneurial Excellence, which is situated together with the Mhani Gingi Nursery at the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children in Athlone, Cape Town, showcases innovations that enable persons with disabilities to participate in urban gardening from their wheelchairs.

The team from the Uitsig group serving a meal to the community in Geranium Avenue, Uitsig, in early July 2020.


Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Barbara Thomson, awarded Mhani Gingi Social Entrepreneurial Network’s Founding Director, Lillian Masebenza, a Certificate of Recognition at the 9th Women in Environment Indaba. The event was hosted by the Department of Environmental Affairs in White River, Mpumalanga, on 23-24 August 2018.

Certificates honouring projects that contribute towards women’s empowerment in the environmental sector were presented at a Networking Dinner held at the Ingwenyama Conference & Sports Resort.

Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Barbara Thompson, presenting a Certificate of Recognition to Mhani Gingi Founding Director, Lillian Masabenza.

Founding Director Lillian Masebenza at the Mhani Gingi exhibition at the Women in Environment Indaba.

Lillian Masebenza greeting visitors to the Mhani Gingi table.

Lillian Masebenza providing input during the plenary session.

Mhani Gingi receives recognition for gender equality

Mhani Gingi Social Entrepreneurial Network has been recognised for qualifying as a top gender empowerment organisation.  The award was made by the Top Women in Business & Government publication which recognises those companies demonstrating the greatest commitment to – and achievement in – workplace equality.

“We feel honoured,” said Lillian Masebenza, Founding Director of Mhani Gingi Social Entrepreneurial Network, on being recognised as a leader among gender-empowered businesses.  “To us it is very important to empower women so that they can improve their livelihoods.  For this they need self-esteem which comes about from coaching and mentoring,” she said.

Mhani Gingi is dedicated to helping women and youth to create sustainable livelihoods for themselves.  To achieve this Mhani Gingi delivers tailor-made training solutions and provides mentoring and support that enables women and youth to engage in income-generating activities and create viable businesses through social entrepreneurship.

The 2016 Top Women in Business and Government survey researched more than 7 000 companies in South Africa to prepare a ranking and benchmarking report.  A little over a quarter of the companies qualified against the criteria.

 Gender equality is good for business

“Compelling research supports the idea that the employment and empowerment of wom(e)n in any business is beneficial for that organisation,” said Top Women in Business and Government on announcing the awards.

Lillian Masabenza wins another award!

Lillian Masebenza, Founding Director of Mhani Gingi Social Entrepreneurial Networks, has won two awards in the 2015 Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards made by CEO Communications.  The awards recognises titans on the continent for the meaningful contribution they have made in their industry and the positive impact this has had on their country.

Lillian was announced Winner for South Africa and Regional Winner for the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region in the category of Education & Training: Private at a function in Johannesburg on July 28 2015.

As a social entrepreneur, Lillian facilitates tailor-made skills training to empower women and youth to perfect to competitive levels their products and services in the market place.  She then links them to funding and marketing opportunities.  Lillian’s holistic approach and the business model she has developed not only addresses economic issues but education, health, human rights and gender equality, while also promoting self-esteem and social cohesion.

July Activities

A New Garden Shed in Guguletu

Thanks to a generous donation from Mr. and Mrs. Eriksson, the Flagship Project in Guguletu received a much-needed shed in early June 2015. The shed provides shelter for the garden workers when it rains, as well as a safe place to store tools. Arbor Designs designed and constructed the shed, and I.D. Mkize School provided the space.



Mhani Gingi Collaborates with Proud2b ME

Mhani Gingi collaborated with the organisation Proud2b ME to organize a four-day project in Parkfields Primary School in Hanover Park.

Proud2b ME is a global organisation that provides practical tools and strategies to help people worldwide to live more responsibly, happily, and confidently to enjoy relationships at home, in the community, and at work. This people based program creates a basis for building a healthy and responsible child, a responsible home, a responsible school, a responsible community, and in turn, a responsible nation.

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1.6 Million Club South Africa to Host Workshop Series

The 1.6 Million Club South Africa, an organisation with the primary goal of ensuring all women have the best possible quality of life and health, is collaborating with Mhani Gingi to host a series of health workshops throughout July and August.

Saturday, 25 July

What: An interactive seminar around women’s mental health and substance abuse. When: 10:00 – 14:00. Please arrive 30 minutes prior to the event.                               Where: Manenberg/Tambo Village, Cape Town                                                             Cost: None

Saturday, 1 August

What: An interactive seminar around gender based violence in collaboration with Saartjie Baartman Centre.                                                                                                       When: 10:00 – 14:00. Please arrive 30 minutes prior to the event.                               Where: Saartjie Baartman Centre in Manenberg, Cape Town                                       Cost: None

Saturday, 22 August

What: A health convention focusing on a variety of topics including mental health and how it plays a vital role in creating holistic health and wellbeing. International and local experts from various medical fields will share their knowledge.                                                 When: To be determined.                                                                                           Where: Jubilee Church in Observatory, Cape Town

To sign up or learn more about these events, visit the 1.6 Million SA Club website

Email:               Tel: 074 890 1887



Mhani Gingi at the SA Innovation Summit

16th –18th September 2014

Cape Town Stadium

The SA Innovation Summit has become a noteworthy South African event. The event aspires to raise awareness in innovation, facilitate collaboration among multi-helix actors and contribute to building the national system of innovation. These aims will in essence amplify South Africa’s competitive edge and accelerate economic growth.

Mhani Gingi was sponsored by The Summit to become one of its exhibitors. The Mhani Gingi team were delighted by this fact and made a promise to The Summit and ourselves that Mhani Gingi was going to be a fun, inspiring, and innovative exhibitor.

We can proudly announce that we kept our promises.

The Summit was a fantastic experience, showcasing innovation and stimulating new ideas. The event had a great balance between informative speeches and fun performances. For an event focusing on innovation, one expects to be surprised. And this event did not let anyone of us down in that regard. We witnessed everything from connected fire detectors that help prevent shack fires, to schoolbags for children with incorporated solar power for after dark homework. The Mhani Gingi Team were truly amazed by the interest around social innovation…which is ultimately what Mhani Gingi is all about.

So what did Mhani Gingi do at The Summit?

In fact, a better question might be: What did Mhani Gingi not do?

Via a wonderful joint effort, Mhani Gingi ended up with a colourful and creative stand infused with Hope Soap soaps and Fettle Fox pottery, as well as earthy elements from Jamie’s Vertical Gardens, and the worm hammock. Not to mention the medicinal plants and our network members’ ecological fruits and vegetables. We got very positive feedback about our stand. It proved itself to be a great meeting point for the whole team to interact with many interesting people from all spheres of society. We strongly believe that some of the contacts we made during The Summit will lead to fruitful and interesting collaborations in the future.

(Photo: Mhani Gingi’s intern, Deidre Huising, was an amazing driving force throughout The Summit. Here she is at our stand)

The Mhani Gingi team had decided beforehand that we were going to be an active force during The Summit. Therefore we were not content with only having a stand. We used all our creativity in order to connect and interact with our surroundings, ultimately ending up in a cavalcade of speeches on stage and dancing routines. Both TV and radio also interviewed us. We did our best to engage with everyone at The Summit and we especially loved to witness how the youth and students got enthusiastic by our message. Mhani Gingi’s founding director, Lillian Masebenza, provided an excellent platform for the whole team to elevate from, daring to task risks in seek of reward – and that platform was and is based on love. Love for sharing, collaborating, uplifting and connecting.

(Photos: To the left, Lillian Masebenza was as inspiring offstage as onstage. She embodies true passion. To the right, Lillian shows that true women empowerment and solidarity is not only her job – she lives it. Here she gives away seedlings and soil to an inspirational woman working at The Summit).

Oh, and did we mention that Mhani Gingi got second prize for best exhibitor at The Summit?!

Lastly, from the Mhani Gingi team to all of you: Thank you for your support! We are truly grateful and we are looking forward to hearing from you soon.