The Sandown Washbay Project turns one!

Amid much applause and ‘lumps-in-throats’, the Sandown Washbay Project celebrated its first anniversary in December 2011.

The project – part of  The Sandown Way – saw 12 young learners from seriously disadvantaged backgrounds  receiving training in all aspects of successfully running a washbay by the staff of Cleaning Africa Services.

These learners are from Nokuthula School in Alexandra. Not only are they from some of the poorest communities in Gauteng, they have the added burden of learning disabilities. Without knowing what to expect, these dozen enthusiastic learners started off their new lives at Sandown in December 2010: nine were employed at Mercedes-Benz, Sandton. The other three were employed at CJD Sandton.

The group has grown from strength to strength. At least four of the initial 12 have moved onwards and upwards to tackle other, exciting challenges in Sandown, while two more groups of learners have been successfully trained and employed at various Sandown dealerships in Gauteng.

Joyce Mahakoe, stalwart Principal at Nokuthula School & Centre, bubbles over with praise for the project, and says it’s like a dream come true for her and her team. “It just goes to show that, given the chance, everyone can prove themselves.

“The project has made a very positive impact on the learners and on the greater community in Alexandra. It proves that there is hope for everyone.”

Group MD at Sandown, Roy McAllister, says the project has become an integral part of their business – and it shows how The Sandown Way really does work in practice. “It’s all about the transformation journey and The Sandown Way is about creating opportunities for people to improve themselves and their lot in life. It’s living proof that there is ample space under the sun for everyone.”

Colin Richardson of Mercedes-Benz, Sandton told how his team had created a supportive environment for the learners – but had also learned so much from the Nokuthula students in return.

Pat Nndwamato of Cleaning Africa who oversees the learners’ training said: “We were all a bit nervous at first, but it has been a wonderful, rewarding journey for everyone involved.”

Spokesman for the learners, Piet Maake ended the speeches by thanking everyone – from teachers and parents through to the company and the workshop manager – “for creating this wonderful opportunity and making it work!”

To celebrate this occasion, The Sandown Group made a donation of R100 000 to the Nokuthula School & Centre in Alexandra.

Cleaning Africa salutes the Sandown Group and The Sandown Way initiative, and is proud and pleased to be involved with the training of these bright, young, future stars. The sky’s the limit!

How does an Eagle change its feathers?

When needs must, it seems.  Because what began as just another golf fundraising day, has developed into a soaring relationship – and a chameleon eagle, of sorts.

It was at their Golf Day at Southdown’s Golf Course in Johannesburg on 11 November 2010 where Midge and some of the Cleaning Africa partners were first introduced to and became a champion of the Ama Wheelies.

Perhaps three is a lucky number: Midge loves golf, is a bird lover and has high regard for those who beat the odds.

And this day provided all three … in spades.

The golf was great with excellent company.  There was an auction with an amazing black eagle artwork that caught his eye.  Especially as it was created by Henry Blighnaut, a foot-and-mouth artist using a profile cutter operated by a stick that he held in his mouth.  Midge was sold. He won the bid and proudly took the eagle back to his offices of Cleaning Africa Thuŝanang to hang in pride of place.

What he wasn’t prepared for was the complaints and strong feelings from some of the staff – saying that the black eagle symbolised bad witchcraft and made them very uncomfortable.

There was no other way around it.  The eagle had to undergo an identity change and so it did; re-emerging as a fine specimen of a fish eagle.

Coincidence or not?  Since the eagle changed its feathers, Cleaning Africa’s fortunes seem to soar once again.  New contracts were signed, making it possible to renew Cleaning Africa’s commitments to BEE and the community, allowing more donations and support for the Ama Wheelies.