Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

December Newsletter 2010

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2010 at 7:15 am


Dear Readers

This is our last newsletter for 2010, and I want to thank each and every reader for their support during this year.
I know I often make this statement, but we truly cannot do what we do without support from people like you, who take an interest in our organisation, our services – you offer your support in so many ways, we cannot thank you enough!
In this edition, you will note that the National Office has launched an exciting new fundraising campaign. Due to the economic downturn every NPO has struggled to keep head above water and Epilepsy South Africa as a whole welcomes any support to help us sustain our service programmes.

You will also read more about the National Office SIYB TOT seminar and our training facilities, which truly are a huge asset.

From the Free State Branch, you can read about their reflection of the year gone past and the exciting initiatives at this Branch.

Mpumalanga once again held their Chef’s Cookout, which was a great success.

Gauteng Branch tells us more about their DSTV initiative, their Christmas card sales (please support them), the family day at their residential care centre and some of their economic development programmes.

At the South Cape Karoo Branch, residents completed their ABET course, an Epilepsy Alive revue celebrated the International Day of People with Disabilities and you will also read more about their outreach programmes.

An article is also included about volunteers with disabilities being used for the London Olympic Games.

For those celebrating Christmas, I wish a blessed Christmas season. I hope that all our readers and supporters will enjoy a peaceful, fun filled holiday season and that 2011 will be a prosperous and jubilant year for all!

Please note that our first edition for 2011 will only be circulated in February 2011.

With much appreciation

Noëline de Goede

BUILDING TRUE POTENTIAL Campaign for people with epilepsy

The National Office of Epilepsy South Africa is embarking on a strong drive to support South Africans with epilepsy and other disabilities. We will be looking for individuals and entities willing to affect change, motivate others and join us in turning obstacles into TRUE POTENTIAL!

The reality is that everyday obstacles are part of the life of people with epilepsy and other disabilities. Therefore, we have decided to make these obstacles our main target for the BUILDING TRUE POTENTIAL Campaign. The walls of self-doubt, stigma, discrimination, fear and rejection prevent people with epilepsy to reach their TRUE POTENTIAL, and we will break these walls down into small bricks that can be used to build new walls of support; walls of TRUE POTENTIAL.

We will continue to build these new walls higher and higher and we will rename them: Wall of Acceptance, Wall of Opportunities, Wall of Health and Wellbeing, Wall of Empowerment and Wall of Good Practice & Excellence.
The BUILDING TRUE POTENTIAL Campaign aims to eradicate stigma, fight for the rights of people with disabilities, guide our clients on their first steps to climb these new walls and overcome the obstacles of living with a disability. We will campaign towards a nation where everyone is accepted and given the opportunity for growth, regardless of his or her disability. We will strive to reach all people with epilepsy in South Africa in need of support and care and endeavour to empower them with skills and confidence in their own abilities so that they too can stand on the great walls of TRUE POTENTIAL.

We will need all the help we can find to achieve this goal. You can buy your bricks at a cost of R250 each. This will enable us to build our walls of TRUE POTENTIAL ensuring essential services to people with epilepsy and other disabilities. We need YOUR help as our loyal and supportive readers.
Please contact us at (021) 595-4900, or at fundraising.no@epilepsy.org.za, to find our how you can acquire your own “bricks” to help us build a better future for people with epilepsy. Choose the Wall of Potential that you wish to support, and see how your contribution makes a difference in the lives of South Africans. Let us take this Festive Season and open our hearts to those who are in need. Contact us now and join us in BUILDING TRUE POTENTIAL.


The National Office hosted an SIYB TOT seminar from 22 November to 1 December in Cape Town. The aim of the seminar was to develop trainers to deliver entrepreneurial development services. We have hosted a number of these seminars, but this was a remarkable seminar in that it provided individual attention at a level never seen before.
When six out of the 11 participants selected for the seminar withdrew three days before the start of training, it seemed like the seminar would have to be postponed. However, the remaining five participants would have none of it and we took the brave decision to turn a challenge into an opportunity. After all, the National Office believes in turning obstacles into true potential.

The seminar was attended by Sylvanus Ebenezer Venketsamy, Serole Matjabe, Brett Giddy, Lindie Brundyn and Neil Conrad. Sylvanus (KZN), Serole (based in Gauteng with branches in a number of provinces) and Brett (Eastern Cape) are business owners offering a variety of training, skills development and business consulting services. Lindie is the accountant at the National Office who will be offering financial training under the banner of our training division as from 2011. Neil is employed by a major entrepreneurial service provider in Cape Town.

We are excited by the quality of the programmes designed by the new SIYB trainers and look forward to implementation in their own areas of operation.


In addition to hosting a variety of training programmes, the National Office also has training/meeting facilities available which can be rented at very reasonable rates. The venue is available half or full day with a variety of catering options and training equipment available. For more information and to make a booking, contact Marina Clarke at the National Office on (021) 595-4900 or economicdev.no@epilepsy.org.za.


No rain, no complaints, no mystery ingredients, no wet kitchen could dampen the enthusiasm of participants in this year’s Chef Cook out.

The quality of the dishes prepared by the 10 chefs were excellent and the spirit amongst them even better! The cabaret show by Elsabé Zietsman & Janine contributed to the evening’s success.

The judges, Elsabé Zietsman and Christine Hamman had a fantastic time judging the dishes and a hard time deciding on the best team for each category. They eventually capped Walkersons as the overall winner! Congratulations to Adri and Jackpot on a superb performance.
The Protea Boulevard Hotel in Witbank joined the chefs of Dullstroom in their very first Chef’s Cookout and we say welcome and well done! A huge thank you to Maryann and Tonya for taking part as an independent team.

Winners in the various categories were:

Best main meal: Canimambo

Best Starter: Walkerson

Best Dessert: The Poacher

Best table: Critchley Hackle

Best dressed chef: To – Ann / Independents

Best innovative cheat: Pickles & Things

Most creative presentation: Walkersons

Most innovative use of the surprise ingredient (Jungle Oats): Pickles & Things

Best skivvy: Plat du Jour

Drunkest chef: Protea Boulevard Witbank – Ulrich

Most sober chef: Dunkeld – Japie

Most organised kitchen: Walkersons

Most unorganised kitchen: Mrs Simpsons

Epilepsy South Africa would like to thank all the chefs who participated in this event and the community in Dullstroom for your support as well as all the business owners who generously sponsored the prizes and food for the event.



Residents, day visitors and one staff member participated in the ABET programme this year with five of the candidates sitting for their Level 4 examinations during November. The Knysna Community Learning Centre was very excited about their participation as this was the first group of persons with disabilities to ever sit for the ABET exams in Knysna.

Epilepsy Alive Revue

November was an extremely busy time as we rehearsed for the “Epilepsy Alive Revue” starring clients as well as staff of the South Cape/Karoo Branch at the local primary school hall. The event was held on the eve of the International Day for Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) – a fun occasion to emphasize the abilities and strengths of people with disabilities.
Promotion of access to health care 2011

Dr Portgieter’s first visit to the region in 2011 will take place from 28 February to 11 March.

We are currently trying to source funding to extend this program into the Langkloof and Great Karoo areas of Uniondale and Prince Albert – Klaarstroom.

Mathillda Esterhuizen speaks about our services

Mathilda Esterhuizen (here with husband Freek) was born in Beaufort and experienced epileptic seizures from the age of 12. These increased and, since her 16th year she experienced seizures virtually daily.

They moved to Oudtshoorn and in 2007 she met Dr Potgieter from Cape Town who visits the South Cape/Karoo area twice annually. He monitors the medication of people experiencing problems with their seizures. Since his intervention Mathilda’s seizures are so well controlled that she stated: “My whole life changed. I am not scared or anxious any more and can even go to town and to the bank on my own. I am ever so grateful.”

Tanya Snyders values our services

Tanya Snyders from Beaufort West is multiply disabled due to a prolonged birth process. Both her parents passed away earlier this year (February and April respectively). Tanya has two brothers and two sisters and was placed in the care of her 21-year old sister, Beverly Snyders.

Tanya was seen by Dr Potgieter who is currently adjusting her medication. She has already improved a great deal.

Support groups

Thanks to funds received from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) we were able to appoint a community worker to deliver services to people with disabilities in areas lacking sufficient services. Members of the Sunshine Group in Buffelsnek voiced their opinions:

Sarie Olifant (Veldmanspad)

“Epilepsy South Africa means a lot to me because I receive help in all matters. I never used medication to control my seizures, nor did I have an identity document. Mrs Louw wrote to Dr Potgieter which enable me to see the doctor who diagnosed my condition and prescribed the necessary medication. Epilepsy South Africa collected me from home for this appointment as I did not have any transport.

I also told Mrs louw that I had no food in my home. She returned to Epilepsy SA and brought me a large hamper, as well as regular food parcels thereafter. I also did not know how to apply for an identify document. Epilepsy South Africa walked the road with me every step of the way until I received my ID. The Department of Home Affairs delivered my ID personally at Epilepsy South Africa due to a misunderstanding.

I now belong to the Buffelsnek Sunshine Group and appreciate that Epilepsy SA created such a group. I learn a lot every Wednesday. We dance here and forget about our problems. Things become more serious when we learn a variety of skills like making aprons, bags for washing pegs, etc.
Epilepsy South Africa really made a difference in my life.”

Christine Watsonof (Veldmanspad)

“Epilepsy SA helped me to start using medication. I heard in Diepwalle that Epilepsy SA delivered services and asked people there to send me to them. Since then I have joined the Epilepsy SA group in Buffelsnek. I am collected at home every Wednesday and transported to Buffelsnek. We are served sandwiches and other food. It helps me a lot and I also learn a lot. It is good to be part of the Epilepsy SA group.”

If names like Veldmanspad, Buffelsnek and Diepwalle sound familiar, it is probably because you read about these places in Dalena Matthee’s book Fiela’s Child. These are forestry stations along the way Fiela walks in the story. People who live there are largely cut off and live in an isolated world. Epilepsy SA started working in the area due to the limited community development services available. We do not limit our services to people with disabilities, but also draw in able-bodied people.

Wonderful friends

Desiree Barnard of the Human Development Department at the Overstrand Municipality in Hermanus has been a loyal friend to Epilepsy SA in Knysna and assists with the sale of Casual Day stickers every year. This year she sold stickers to the value of R2,000.



As you are aware, Epilepsy South Africa has partnered with DSTV to explore epilepsy in an in-depth manner. In our last newsletter we requested suggestions of aspects of epilepsy that you would like to have more information on. Please send your suggestions to Sharm Knobel at pro.gp@epilepsy.org.za. Without your help, we will not be able tokeep this slot for much longer. We look forward to getting exciting suggestions from you.

Christmas Cards

Now is your chance to buy beautiful cards with an African theme to send to family and friends this Christmas. The kiosks selling these cards will be open six days a week (Monday to Saturday) until 17 December. They are situated in Sandton City, Killarney Mall, Bryanston Shopping Centre and Heathway Shopping Centre. The cards are in packs of five and include envelopes and sell at a cost of R18 per pack. The cards are also available from the Gauteng Branch. Please call (011) 816-2040 to place your order. Go on – Do your good deed for the day!

Daggafontein Centre celebrates Family Day

There was lots of fun, laughter, joy and excitement on 30 October at the Daggafontein Centre (a residential centre of the Gauteng Branch). This day helped to restore and sustain healthy and stable relationships between the residents and their families.

Various activities ensured that everybody participated fully and enjoyed the day. Staff members engaged families and residents in sporting activities. The Rotary Anns of Springs sourced donations of trees from PJ Nursery and arranged a tree planting ceremony. Premier Foods baked cakes and entertained everyone with music. Meat Mecca, Jansa (Pty) Ltd, Mikes Kitchen, Chipkins Catering and Flower Line, among others, donated prizes for the raffle, which raised R17,605. The families were fantastic in their support of this event.

New hydroponics tunnel for Geduld Centre

The DG Murray Trust generously sponsored a hydroponics tunnel which has been built at the Geduld Centre in Springs. This will enable the project, together with the existing tunnel, to increase vegetable production. Epilepsy South Africa is very grateful to the DG Murray Trust as they have assisted us to take a step towards sustainability, which is a long term goal.

Kathorus Epilepsy Self Help Organisation

This self help organization was started in 2004 by a very courageous, determined lady – Nomvula Letsatsi. She is married with children, but still made the time to help other people. There are 10 persons with epilepsy and other disabilities working in this project. In times where business is slow, Nomvula and her group persevere because they know that the work they produce is of a very high quality. They produce beaded items such as men’s and women’s neckties, coffee mugs, jewellery, goblets, vases, traditional beer pots, cellular phone and pen holders, key rings, dress collars, belts, artwork and frames. They also weave floor mats, wall hangings and place mats for tables.

Their work is unique, versatile and creative. Items are custom made according to the requirements of customers. What could be better than a custom made gift for your loved ones or a gift with your company logo as a corporate gift. In ordering these handcrafted items as gifts you will also be supporting a good cause. To obtain more information and place an order contact Nomvula at 072 653 2459.


If you are disabled and seeking employment, send your CV to Melissa at consultant@bradshawleroux.co.za, Liz Murray at lizm@crs.co.za or Sharm Pillay at sharm@resourceagency.co.za. They specialize in placing disabled people in various positions throughout South Africa.

You can also register your CV and look for employment, as well as for advertisements on training/learnerships and internships suitable for people with disabilities on http://www.jobaccess.co.za (a website exclusive to people with disabilities) or http://www.ibility.org.za (an initiative of the Services SETA).


Year end

2010 is almost over and for our Branch, this was a special year characterised by hard work and effort from supporters and staff alike. Support came from young and old as illustrated by the hard work of high school learners to purchase new linen for our residents. Thank you to every person that assisted us throughout the year. Please have a good rest during the holiday times and for those that are keeping the wheels turning, our thoughts are with you and thank you for keeping the pace up.

During November our branch had much to do giving back to the community. The office in Tumahole, in conjunction with the HIV/AIDS support group (Ratanang) and Discovery planted 50 trees in Tumahole. May these trees grow big and very old to provide air to generations to come and provide shade when it is hot.

The year is not over yet and there are many things to do in the limited time remaining. We look forward to the International Horse Championships. The residents of the Residential Care Centre in Parys unable to return home for the December holidays will participate in a full programme of fun activities to make their stay during this time as pleasant as possible.

Our wish for everyone is for hope, love, health and wisdom. May these wishes go with you wherever you may go during the Festive Time and 2011.


London Olympic Games 2012

Six thousand persons with disabilities have volunteered to assist with the 2012 London Olympic Games, representing a significant change in attitudes as well as the rising profile of the Paralympics. Games organizers had especially encouraged the participation of volunteers with disabilities, to ensure the London Olympic Games represented diversity and inclusion. More information can be found by visiting http://ablemagazine.co.uk/six-thousand-disabled-people-volunteer-for-london-2012/.


The Conference, focusing on disability inclusion, equality and diversity will take place in Honolulu, Hawaii on 18 and 19 April 2011. The theme will be “Humanity: Advancing Inclusion, Equality and Diversity”. Organisers anticipate the attendance of more than a thousand participants at the Conference which will feature 15 topics and 30 keynote speakers.

This event is hosted by the Center on Disability Studies (CDS), a University of Hawaii Board of Regents recognized center of programs focused on the development and conduct of interdisciplinary education/training, research/demonstration and evaluation, through university and community services.
For more information contact Genesis Leong by e-mailing to prinfo@hawaii.edu or visit http://www.pacrim.hawaii.edu.

November Newsletter 2010

In Uncategorized on December 1, 2010 at 9:03 am


Dear Readers

October brought a hive of activity focused on our 4th National Wine Auction held on 28 October 2010 at the Westin Grand Hotel, in the heart of Cape Town. Guests were welcomed to a complementary wine tasting prior to the actual auction, accompanied by the soothing jazz of Urban Groove. Master of ceremonies, Paul Buckby, got the evening into full swing before Auction Alliance master, Ish Hendricks, auctioned 55 lots – including wine, art and sporting memorabilia. Sterling EQ added a touch of glamour with their smooth sounds while Jonty Rhodes (an old friend of Epilepsy South Africa), Cindy Nell-Roberts and Dr Divan Serfontein added a special sparkle. Read more about this exciting event below.

As though it is not enough to organise an event of this magnitude, the National Office also completed the re-modelling of the new venue for our training division. Find out more about this development below.

Xolisa Nkonyeni offers advice on taking control of your own life in addition to free life coaching services to people with epilepsy in the Eastern Cape.

This newsletter also offers you the opportunity to catch up on all the exciting developments and happenings at the Epilepsy South Africa Branches. The Mpumalanga & Limpopo Branch reports on their sports day, service plans and a sad farewell to one of their residents, Gideon Kilian, while looking forward to the annual Chef’s Cookout in November 2010. The Western Cape Branch opened new community counselling satellite offices around the Peninsula and participated in research on disability and human rights. Members of the Parys community, including the local Mica outlet, assisted the Free State & North West Branch to upgrade the sickbay.

You can contribute to the debate about epilepsy by suggesting topics for the DSTV series or support the organisation by buying beautiful Christmas cards. In addition, people with epilepsy and other disabilities are assisted in finding employment through a variety of service points.

If you wish to become more involved with our organisation, please contact your closest Epilepsy SA Branch by phoning 0860 EPILEPSY (0860 374537).


Noëline de Goede


The 4th Annual Wine Auction of Epilepsy South Africa proved to be another great success for the National Office! The event, held on Thursday, the 28th of October 2010, raised almost R70,000 from lots and selected raffle items. Cipla Medpro stepped in as main sponsor for this year’s event at the luxurious Westin Grand Ballroom in Cape Town. Familiar faces, like Jonty Rhodes, Cindy Nell and Dr Divan Serfontein (Cipla Medpro), joined guests in bidding for exclusive wine lots, art and sports memorabilia. Paul Buckby led the proceedings as master of ceremonies and added his own unique musical contribution. Sounds of Jazz trio, Urban Groove accompanied the wine tasting offered by 13 wine estates and distributors. In addition, the classical allure of renowned Sterling EQ produced an evening with a memorable, lingering aftertaste that will be hard to surpass at next year’s 5th Annual Wine Auction!

Epilepsy South Africa National Office thanks Cipla Medpro for the enormous role they played in making this year’s wine auction such a raving success. A special word of thanks also goes to major supporters, especially Auction Alliance, for felling the hammer for four consecutive wine auctions; Tomcat Advertising Agency, for more than just design and printing; and Slaley Wines, who sponsored the entire range of table wine for the event. We would also like to extend our heartfelt thanks to other sponsors, especially the wine estates for their contributions of wine lots and tasting displays, prize sponsors with particular mention of the Taj Cape Town, Van Deijl Jewellers Tygervalley, Cindy Nell for her gifts from Cosmetix, Shoprite Checkers for the delectable cheese and biscuits, Chris Cloete Photography for the photographs of the evening, Homebrew Films for their support and filming of the event and everyone else who supported this major fundraising event. We are immensely grateful for your generous support and we’d like to invite you to join us again for the 2011 entry on the Cape Town social calendar.


October saw the realisation of a long-held and cherished dream of the National Office – the opening of our very own training division. When we moved to Parow during February 2010, we immediately saw the potential of our new home to host the training division. While the new division was officially launched in August 2010, we still did not have a home of our own. We were content using the National Office Boardroom as an interim measure, but during October, a section of our office building was re-designed and re-modelled as a training room! Dust went flying in all directions while we ripped out dry-walling, re-tiled and repainted. Melanie Lubbe found a contractor willing to provide services free of charge and the work began. What was previously a collection of small offices took shape as a training/meeting room with additional storage space and even a small catering area, identified for the serving of tea/coffee and meals. On 26 October 2010, we hosted a meeting of the South African Disability Alliance (SADA) as our venue can comfortably accommodate people with disabilities, including wheelchair users. The next big event will be the Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) Training of Trainers seminar to be held from 21 November to 3 December 2010. This venue will not only function as a home to the training activities of the National Office, but also be rented out to others. For more information on costs and how to book the venue, please contact Marina Clarke on (021) 595-4900 or economicdev.no@epilepsy.org.za.


This has been my standard excuse since I started having epileptic seizures in High school. A close friend of mine once laughingly asked me: “What happened to us? We were so ambitious when we were younger; we were going to serve the UN!! We were going places, you and I…” Of course my standard answer was, as above. This still did not register when my younger sister asked the same question albeit differently: “What happened? You were the one who was going to be successful, you were the one who was going to get married and be a great mother. What happened?” Of course my answer was pathetically self pitying and rather self righteous: “But, you know I fell ill…” Epilepsy is a lot of things but it is not some disease or curse that one cannot live with. This I discovered only a year ago when I started to take responsibility of my own life. This knowledge has led me to studying Life Coaching, where clients are assisted to set goals and from their life coach get feedback, insights from a totally impartial point of view. This is an on-going partnership and unlike counselling where the root of the problem is investigated, life coaching is built on taking action, based on current conditions.

With some life coaching, I have discovered that I can do anything an able-bodied person can – in some cases even more. I have also learnt that by taking responsibility of my own life, I put the power back in my own hands. There are six “rules” to life I try to follow which have helped tremendously:

Take responsibility for your life at all times. This is not the same as self-blame, which implies that you cannot change the situation, regardless of the circumstances. Taking responsibility for any situation – results are determined by your response. By controlling your response to any situation, you now control the outcome in your life, thereby enabling you to change the situation (if the response was not favourable) or maintain the action (if it produced good results).

Be constantly aware of things that make you happy. By constantly revisiting and accentuating the positives – the negatives become a pesky sideline rather than your focus.

Do not define success by other people’s standards. Success to you may not necessarily have financial implications, but it could be services rendered in a certain manner to others. You are then able to set your own goals. It might be to gain some form of self-actualisation. Once you are able to identify your success using goals to achieve it, it becomes easier to attain.

Be confident at all times, because the Universe reverberates in your life what you shout out. If you portray self confidence, the feedback you receive from your external world is reflective of that and this further builds confidence for you to venture where you would not normally go, where you would otherwise believe you cannot go. This leads to the next point.

Do not be afraid to try something new. Go for something artsy, gutsy or fun. This helps to give you variety in life and constantly reinforces that you actually can.

Find your purpose in life. Purpose is self-evolving. By living your life the way that best builds you and others, you slowly discover your purpose in life. Through this, self-actualisation can then be attained. With life coaching, it is easier to attain self-fulfilment and I would like to offer 15 individuals (in and around the Queenstown/East London area) an hour’s session of my coaching services to help determine their goals. This will be free of charge! All I ask in return is that they complete and sign a feedback form. This acknowledgement will help me attain my qualification in Life Coaching.

Please contact: Xolisa Nkonyeni on (045) 838-4274 during office hours or 074 218 1176, or e-mail xolnkonyeni@vodamail.co.za. To learn more about Life Coaching, please visit the New Insights Africa website.