Mr Mufudzi Wamambo, chief operating officer (COO) and founder of A Helping Hand (SA), writes:
The untimely passing of Alderman Amie Chhaya represents the end of an era of generosity, humility and kindness. It also presents us with the onset of a new dawn of reflection as well as individual and collective introspection as to whether the high standard of humility, kindness and generosity as embodied in the late Alderman Chhaya can, shall and will ever be equalled by any of us mortals.
It remains to be seen if anyone will be up to the occasion of heredity seeing as the likes of the late great Alderman Chhaya will be next to impossible, let alone difficult to replace.
The late Alderman Chhaya (may his dear soul rest in peace) was a pillar of strength not only in times of need but as an inherent attribute in his life.
It need not be over-emphasised that the late great Alderman felt over-powered by sympathy at all times as if it was inhuman for him to do otherwise. One never really had to look to him to do the right things but he lived it. He was just about always there when the need arose.
I, as founder and COO of A Helping Hand (SA) NPO, had a chance of a lifetime to interact with the late Alderman when he became our main benefactor for necessities extended to immigrants at the height of the mass influx of foreign nationals from the north of Limpopo around 2008 onwards for as longs as the need was there.
A Helping Hand (SA) operated a soup kitchen at the Motortown testing station in Louis Trichardt at the time, feeding in excess of 300 foreign nationals a meal per day. Amongst these hundreds of destitute were young children, both boys and girls, who came unaccompanied and risked malnutrition, abuse and eventually criminality if no timely intervention was forthcoming.
There were also artisans and graduates, teachers and school principals who were trying to escape the jaws of economic collapse and political malice in Zimbabwe who all would have turned to common criminals had the late Alderman Chhaya not been steadfast in supplying us with food, blankets and soap. The soap so supplied went a long way in restoring the dignity of all which had been stripped off by conditions at the Musina Showgrounds where they would spend up to a week in a queue for documentation, a queue which meandered for miles within the precincts of the showground where their position in the queue also doubled as their beds for the night’s rest, or else lose that same position to others.
I could write on and on about the big heart of the late Alderman Chhaya, but will not succeed in capturing the essence of what made him who he was – and ultimately embodied of Ubuntu.