Khayelitsha resident Brenda Mamputa is basking in the glory of having been honoured by the City of Cape Town Neighborhood Watch Awards Committee for her unwavering commitment in community building.
The ceremony was held at the Cape Town Civic Centre, on Thursday November 26, in recognition of endless efforts by volunteers and active neighbourhood watch groups to root out crime in communities. She received a Safety City award.
The 40-year-old mother of two said she had always been passionate about improving her community and sharing whatever little things she had with others. She has worked extensively with a number of community-based organisations to fight crime. She was also instrumental in the fight to dismantle gang groupings such as amavura and vato which terrorised Khayelitsha a few years ago.
Asked how she felt about the accolade, Ms Mamputa, said: “I feel truly honoured and it has not yet sunk in that I have actually scooped the award. This shows there are people who are watching the work that I’m doing. People who know me, say even when I was still young I would share whatever I had with others, irrespective of how little it was.”
But Ms Mamputa is not only a crime fighter. She is also the country’s first black female cricket umpire and the organiser of the Miss Khayelitsha beauty contestant.
She started the initiative seven years ago, to develop young people around Khayelitsha, and to equip them with knowledge and skills to make informed decisions. She said the contest was also aimed at dispelling the myth that beauty pageants were for white people.
When she started the initiative, she had no funding or resources, but she was determined to turn the dreams of young people into reality.
She forked out money from her own pocket to fund the project. She added that for several years she battled to find a sponsor, but she knew that the project was touching the lives of young boys and girls.
“What makes me more excited and proud is that the girls who have won the beauty pageant have gone on to win the Miss Cape Town. This year Miss Khayelitsha walked away with a brand new car and a R5 000 cash prize.
“Next year I will be organising Miss Cape Town,” she said.
Ms Mamputa said through the Miss Khayelitsha pageant, she discovered that most Khayelitsha residents battled to cope with high poverty levels. As a result, she launched a soup kitchen at the beginning of the year, through which she feeds more than 500 people every week.
She plans to launch another one next year.
Ms Mamputa also runs a hair salon in Site B and works as a financial adviser.
And when she is not busy running her hair salon or looking for sponsors to support her initiatives, Ms Mamputa is at the cricket grounds officiating in school cricket matches.
Asked how she become an umpire, Ms Mamputa said she was fascinated by the sport. She decided to attend an umpiring course two years ago.
She said she could not believe it when she was informed that she was the first black female cricket umpire.