Community Champions

Our Community Champions could be your neighbour, your colleague, your friend or someone that you see is making a positive impact in their community. Our community champions are inspirational individuals demonstrating how a person with passion and determination can use his or her life to make a difference. If you know of someone in your community that needs a mention here please let us know.

Mercia Sias

Lisa Sesani

Khonzaphi Elliot Falitenjwa

Mercia Sias

Champion Of: Youth Development
Role: Librarian
SNA: Paarl East
Mercia Sias is the Senior Librarian at Groenheuwel Library in Paarl East. She previously served for 20 year at the Drakenstein Library Services and holds a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. As a librarian, Mercia has contributed greatly to the promotion of reading in many communities across the municipality. She was involved in the building of a new library for the community of Gouda among other things. Mercia believes that librarians have a social responsibility towards their community, and she is guided by the principle of “treat everyone as you want to be treated” as her motto. Her approach to crime prevention is though growing literacy and skills programmes. She is passionate about working with the community and getting them involved in programmes.

Lisa Sesani

Champion Of: Youth Development
Role: Placemaker
SNA: Lotus Park
Lisa Sesani is young man (23) from Lotus Park. He grew up in the Eastern Cape then came to Cape Town to stay with his family. In Cape Town, he got involved in many negative activities and did not know what to do with himself. In 2005, Lisa saw an opportunity advertised for the Chrysalis Academy. He applied for the academy and completed. He currently works at VPUU as a Placemaker. He is a managing the Imbola cultural group that consists of about 30 girls and women who love dance. The group participates weekly in public performances. Lisa has a passion for soccer, he plays for the Rhadie United team. He wants to be a change maker and a community builder by being a role model to the youth.

Khonzaphi Elliot Falitenjwa

Champion Of: Community Development
Role: Community Leadership
SNA: Monwabisi Park
Khonzaphi Falitenjwa is a well-respected community member, he is a strong leader in the Monwabisi Park team. He studied and completed a bricklaying course in 2014 and in 2016 he was recommended for a trade test. He was also one of the Monwabisi Park households who received Tenure Certificate from the Mayor in 2016.

Johan Le Roux

Michael Jacobs

Olwethu Xhinti

Johan Le Roux

Champion Of: Youth Development
Role: Safe Node Area Committee member and founder of Bosconian Youth Development
SNA: Paarl East
Johan Le Roux started working with youth in Fairyland squatter camp in the late 90s. When people moved out of Fairyland in 2004, he was known as a Burgermeester (mayor) among the youth because of his involvement with the youth to fight and serve them better. He kept fighting the battle and founded Bosconian Youth Development to serve the youth in the surrounding areas. The youth development is still in operation today with much expertise and success to its name. Johan likes to see true improvement in the lives of the youth. His aim is to further develop youth programmes and camps to capture the essence of the youth within Paarl East and allow them a platform to prosper and change their lives. He believes the youth is the future and their futures must be secured.

Michael Jacobs

Champion Of: Local Economic Development (LED)
Role: Safe Node Area Committee member and Chairperson of Drakenstein Business Development Forum
SNA: Paarl East
Michael Jacobs has built a solid reputation and successful lineage within his community of Paarl East. With over 15 years of extensive experience in trauma counselling and a decade of personal community driven work, Michael is incredibly driven and passionate about community development. He believes that various community challenges can be overcome by improving the status of Local Economic Development within the Paarl East Area. He has successfully arranged various training programmes for youth to enable the youth to improve their business and entrepreneurial drive, he also launched the Drakenstein Business Development Forum. Michael has positive plans for the community and believes that through partnership and communication the youth can be empowered, educated and successful.

Olwethu Xhinti

Champion Of: Youth Development
Role: Sport Development
SNA: Lotus Park
Olwethu Xhinti is a passionate young man born in the Eastern Cape at Engcobo, he currently lives at Lotus Park. He is a die-hard Kaizer Chiefs fan, with a membership card to show for it. In February 2015, when he saw many youth wondering the streets with nothing to do, he started a netball team in his community. The team has won eight tournaments and six trophies. The success is a result of their dedication to training; which takes place every weekday including most weekends. The team is made up of youth from the age of 13 years upwards, and practice on the sports court next to the Neighbourhood Centre. Olwethu has become a role model for the youth and he is currently working on having a Netball Master’s tournament for women of age 30 years and above. His drive is inspired by the motto, “driven to excel”.

Gladys Ntshota

Maritza Welmans

Cynthia Pietsersen

Gladys Ntshota

Champion Of: Community Administration
Role: Volunteer
SNA: Lotus Park
Gladys Ntshota is originally from Qoboqobo in the Eastern Cape, she currently lives in Lotus Park. She stated working for VPUU as a Numbering fieldworker and a month later she became a Community Register Office volunteer. She is a champion because she creates change through community administration, her guiding motto is “lend a helping hand”. Gladys surveys the community to identify the needs that they require from VPUU and other organisations. She is proud of herself because she has learnt communication skills among others and has had the opportunity to have new experiences.

Maritza Welmans

Champion Of: Community Development
Role: Community leader
SNA: Villiersdorp
Maritza is a wife and a mother that is driven and very active wherever she is needed, her humility and personality easily attracts people. Not only is she involved in the community of Villiersdorp but she is also part of VPUU, the Breast Cancer Association, Restoration Community Centre, Proud2beMe and Woman4Change.  She is very helpful in her community.

Cynthia Pietsersen

Champion Of: Community Development
Role: Community leader
SNA: Villiersdorp
Cynthia is a mother, grandmother and above all she is a real pillar with a warm and loving heart. She drives 10km every morning and evening to help those who dropped out of school to further their education and training. She is the Centre Manager at Villiersdorp Community Learning Centre and assists the young and old to get their NQF3 and NQF4. Cynthia is well known for her computer skills since her days of teaching at Kosie de Wet Primary. Her involvement in Proud2beMe encouraged many young mothers to participate.

Werner Welmans

Leon Jacobus

Hermanus Visagie

Werner Welmans

Champion Of: Community Development
Role: Community leader
SNA: Villiersdorp
Werner Welmans is driven and passionate about the Villiersdorp community. He is a member of VPUU Safe Node Area Committee, Restoration Community Centre, Inter Governmental Steering Community and Building Bridges Nationwide. He is greatly involved in his community; he likes to help his community members.

Leon Jacobus

Champion Of: Community Development
Role: Community leader
SNA: Villiersdorp
Leon Jacobus started as a volunteer at Villiersdorp CLC (Abet), teaching Family Literacy and he later completed his NQF 5 in Adult Education and Training Practitioner. He participated in the Household Survey, Business Survey and ECD Survey at VPUU in Villiersdorp. He is a respected and helpful member of the community.

Hermanus Visagie

Champion Of: Community Development
Role: Community leader
SNA: Villiersdorp
Mr Hermanus Visagie is one of the elderly members at Israellaatreën Church in Villiersdorp, yet he is young in spirit.  He believes in the soft, gentle and loving approach to change people’s lives. Mr Visagie takes part in Agri Training and is set up for computer Training, he believes that no matter how old a person is, it is never too late for them to learn.  He participates in Outreach Programmes as well as all community related life-changing programmes. He and his wife provide food to the elderly twice a week in the local community without any financial assistance.

Sindiswa Krenya

Janap Salie

Sindiswa Krenya

Champion Of: Community Safety
Role: Secretary of Fairyland Neighbourhood Watch
SNA: Paarl East
Sindiswa is the secretary of Fairland Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) part of the Alcohol Harms Reduction and Afterschool Game Changers. She receives and records all community complaints that are brought to the NHW and reports them to the SAPS. She assists her team members in all administration and using technology. Sindiswa is passionate about her community and sees herself growing from the skills opportunities that she receives from the programme.

Janap Salie

Champion Of: Community Development
Role: Community Leadership
SNA: The Heights
Janap is a 44 year old, unemployed, mother of five. She is a community leader who represents the Hill View 1 Camp on the Safe Node Area Committee. She wakes up with the sparrows every morning of the week to attend to her children and to spend her days assisting her community. She describes her role as the link between her community and the City of Cape Town. She attends to issues brought to her attention by her fellow community members and accompanies the City of Cape Town officials as they repair damaged taps and pipes in the area. She also works with representatives from neighbouring camps when the greater area is being addressed or attended to. Janap also runs a community netball team which was a beneficiary of the VPUU Social Development Fund (SDF) in 2015. The SDF has allowed Janap to equip her netball players with uniforms, equipment, and transport which allows them to attend matches beyond The Heights. Janap is proud of her players and believes the youth in her community hold great potential which often gets supressed by the social ills which linger in the area. Her netball practices and matches provide young girls of The Heights with a healthy activity which may deter them from risky behaviour, as they learn the importance of team commitment, staying fit and healthy and striving for a goal and purpose. Janap says that VPUU has changed her life by providing her with support as she tries to support her community. She feels that VPUU provides her community with hope and a clear vision in moving forward.

Mercia Sias

Mercia Sias

Champion Of: Youth Development
Role: Librarian
SNA: Paarl East
Mercia Sias is the Senior Librarian at Groenheuwel Library in Paarl East. She previously served for 20 year at the Drakenstein Library Services and holds a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. As a librarian, Mercia has contributed greatly to the promotion of reading in many communities across the municipality. She was involved in the building of a new library for the community of Gouda among other things. Mercia believes that librarians have a social responsibility towards their community, and she is guided by the principle of “treat everyone as you want to be treated” as her motto. Her approach to crime prevention is though growing literacy and skills programmes. She is passionate about working with the community and getting them involved in programmes.

Lisa Sesani

Lisa Sesani

Champion Of: Youth Development
Role: Placemaker
SNA: Lotus Park
Lisa Sesani is young man (23) from Lotus Park. He grew up in the Eastern Cape then came to Cape Town to stay with his family. In Cape Town, he got involved in many negative activities and did not know what to do with himself. In 2005, Lisa saw an opportunity advertised for the Chrysalis Academy. He applied for the academy and completed. He currently works at VPUU as a Placemaker. He is a managing the Imbola cultural group that consists of about 30 girls and women who love dance. The group participates weekly in public performances. Lisa has a passion for soccer, he plays for the Rhadie United team. He wants to be a change maker and a community builder by being a role model to the youth.

Khonzaphi Elliot Falitenjwa

Khonzaphi Elliot Falitenjwa

Champion Of: Community Development
Role: Community Leadership
SNA: Monwabisi Park
Khonzaphi Falitenjwa is a well-respected community member, he is a strong leader in the Monwabisi Park team. He studied and completed a bricklaying course in 2014 and in 2016 he was recommended for a trade test. He was also one of the Monwabisi Park households who received Tenure Certificate from the Mayor in 2016.

Johan Le Roux

Johan Le Roux

Champion Of: Youth Development
Role: Safe Node Area Committee member and founder of Bosconian Youth Development
SNA: Paarl East
Johan Le Roux started working with youth in Fairyland squatter camp in the late 90s. When people moved out of Fairyland in 2004, he was known as a Burgermeester (mayor) among the youth because of his involvement with the youth to fight and serve them better. He kept fighting the battle and founded Bosconian Youth Development to serve the youth in the surrounding areas. The youth development is still in operation today with much expertise and success to its name. Johan likes to see true improvement in the lives of the youth. His aim is to further develop youth programmes and camps to capture the essence of the youth within Paarl East and allow them a platform to prosper and change their lives. He believes the youth is the future and their futures must be secured.

Michael Jacobs

Michael Jacobs

Champion Of: Local Economic Development (LED)
Role: Safe Node Area Committee member and Chairperson of Drakenstein Business Development Forum
SNA: Paarl East
Michael Jacobs has built a solid reputation and successful lineage within his community of Paarl East. With over 15 years of extensive experience in trauma counselling and a decade of personal community driven work, Michael is incredibly driven and passionate about community development. He believes that various community challenges can be overcome by improving the status of Local Economic Development within the Paarl East Area. He has successfully arranged various training programmes for youth to enable the youth to improve their business and entrepreneurial drive, he also launched the Drakenstein Business Development Forum. Michael has positive plans for the community and believes that through partnership and communication the youth can be empowered, educated and successful.

Olwethu Xhinti

Olwethu Xhinti

Champion Of: Youth Development
Role: Sport Development
SNA: Lotus Park
Olwethu Xhinti is a passionate young man born in the Eastern Cape at Engcobo, he currently lives at Lotus Park. He is a die-hard Kaizer Chiefs fan, with a membership card to show for it. In February 2015, when he saw many youth wondering the streets with nothing to do, he started a netball team in his community. The team has won eight tournaments and six trophies. The success is a result of their dedication to training; which takes place every weekday including most weekends. The team is made up of youth from the age of 13 years upwards, and practice on the sports court next to the Neighbourhood Centre. Olwethu has become a role model for the youth and he is currently working on having a Netball Master’s tournament for women of age 30 years and above. His drive is inspired by the motto, “driven to excel”.

Gladys Ntshota

Gladys Ntshota

Champion Of: Community Administration
Role: Volunteer
SNA: Lotus Park
Gladys Ntshota is originally from Qoboqobo in the Eastern Cape, she currently lives in Lotus Park. She stated working for VPUU as a Numbering fieldworker and a month later she became a Community Register Office volunteer. She is a champion because she creates change through community administration, her guiding motto is “lend a helping hand”. Gladys surveys the community to identify the needs that they require from VPUU and other organisations. She is proud of herself because she has learnt communication skills among others and has had the opportunity to have new experiences.

Maritza Welmans

Maritza Welmans

Champion Of: Community Development
Role: Community leader
SNA: Villiersdorp
Maritza is a wife and a mother that is driven and very active wherever she is needed, her humility and personality easily attracts people. Not only is she involved in the community of Villiersdorp but she is also part of VPUU, the Breast Cancer Association, Restoration Community Centre, Proud2beMe and Woman4Change.  She is very helpful in her community.

Cynthia Pietsersen

Cynthia Pietsersen

Champion Of: Community Development
Role: Community leader
SNA: Villiersdorp
Cynthia is a mother, grandmother and above all she is a real pillar with a warm and loving heart. She drives 10km every morning and evening to help those who dropped out of school to further their education and training. She is the Centre Manager at Villiersdorp Community Learning Centre and assists the young and old to get their NQF3 and NQF4. Cynthia is well known for her computer skills since her days of teaching at Kosie de Wet Primary. Her involvement in Proud2beMe encouraged many young mothers to participate.

Werner Welmans

Werner Welmans

Champion Of: Community Development
Role: Community leader
SNA: Villiersdorp
Werner Welmans is driven and passionate about the Villiersdorp community. He is a member of VPUU Safe Node Area Committee, Restoration Community Centre, Inter Governmental Steering Community and Building Bridges Nationwide. He is greatly involved in his community; he likes to help his community members.

Leon Jacobus

Leon Jacobus

Champion Of: Community Development
Role: Community leader
SNA: Villiersdorp
Leon Jacobus started as a volunteer at Villiersdorp CLC (Abet), teaching Family Literacy and he later completed his NQF 5 in Adult Education and Training Practitioner. He participated in the Household Survey, Business Survey and ECD Survey at VPUU in Villiersdorp. He is a respected and helpful member of the community.

Hermanus Visagie

Hermanus Visagie

Champion Of: Community Development
Role: Community leader
SNA: Villiersdorp
Mr Hermanus Visagie is one of the elderly members at Israellaatreën Church in Villiersdorp, yet he is young in spirit.  He believes in the soft, gentle and loving approach to change people’s lives. Mr Visagie takes part in Agri Training and is set up for computer Training, he believes that no matter how old a person is, it is never too late for them to learn.  He participates in Outreach Programmes as well as all community related life-changing programmes. He and his wife provide food to the elderly twice a week in the local community without any financial assistance.

Sindiswa Krenya

Sindiswa Krenya

Champion Of: Community Safety
Role: Secretary of Fairyland Neighbourhood Watch
SNA: Paarl East
Sindiswa is the secretary of Fairland Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) part of the Alcohol Harms Reduction and Afterschool Game Changers. She receives and records all community complaints that are brought to the NHW and reports them to the SAPS. She assists her team members in all administration and using technology. Sindiswa is passionate about her community and sees herself growing from the skills opportunities that she receives from the programme.

Janap Salie

Janap Salie

Champion Of: Community Development
Role: Community Leadership
SNA: The Heights
Janap is a 44 year old, unemployed, mother of five. She is a community leader who represents the Hill View 1 Camp on the Safe Node Area Committee. She wakes up with the sparrows every morning of the week to attend to her children and to spend her days assisting her community. She describes her role as the link between her community and the City of Cape Town. She attends to issues brought to her attention by her fellow community members and accompanies the City of Cape Town officials as they repair damaged taps and pipes in the area. She also works with representatives from neighbouring camps when the greater area is being addressed or attended to. Janap also runs a community netball team which was a beneficiary of the VPUU Social Development Fund (SDF) in 2015. The SDF has allowed Janap to equip her netball players with uniforms, equipment, and transport which allows them to attend matches beyond The Heights. Janap is proud of her players and believes the youth in her community hold great potential which often gets supressed by the social ills which linger in the area. Her netball practices and matches provide young girls of The Heights with a healthy activity which may deter them from risky behaviour, as they learn the importance of team commitment, staying fit and healthy and striving for a goal and purpose. Janap says that VPUU has changed her life by providing her with support as she tries to support her community. She feels that VPUU provides her community with hope and a clear vision in moving forward.