Local liquor traders recently embarked on an upliftment campaign and visited disadvantaged local schools, engaged with teachers, parents, pupils and local civic organisations.
One such visit was to Bongolethu Primary School in Brown’s Farm, Philippi, where they delivered full uniforms to deserving pupils.
At the school and as part of its community upliftment programmes, the Western Cape Liquor Traders’ Organisation (WCLTO) cautioned pupils that drugs and booze are not good for them.
The organisation said without education, young people have no future.
The WCLTO and its Nyanga branch was at the school on Tuesday February 6, as part of its back to school campaign where it went to motivate and shower pupils with school uniforms. The organisation also visited Masivuke Primary School in Philippi.
Showing their soft side, the organisation advised pupils to listen to their teachers and to always ask questions if they did not understand.
Chairperson Allan Samuels said his organisation was at the school to encourage pupils and to give hope now that the schools have started well. He said a great concern for his members was how children go to school without proper uniforms and food.
Talking to pupils, he said they need to emulate them to be big business people. “We know we are selling liquor. Maybe there are some parents who buy from us and do not support their children. We know we are always criticised for selling liquor. That is just one of the reasons we go to schools and encourage children to learn. We not only encourage them by talking, we also give them clothing like school uniforms. We have all these projects to uplift our communities. This is part of ploughing back and our back to school campaigns. We want to have responsible citizens out of these children,” he said.
Asked about the negativity that goes with the liquor industry, he admitted there is too much negativity about the liquor industry but he said they have upliftment projects not because they want to be seen, but because they are members of the community and responsible citizens.
He said they are going around communities to give back.
Mr Samuels said the organisation is on the verge of creating soup kitchens for poor schools. He said they realise that many children go to school with empty stomachs.
“It is so sad for a child to go to school on an empty stomach and barefoot. It is not a tolerable thing. This is one of the reasons we also give out full uniforms. No child should go to school with an empty stomach. We shall create these soup kitchens soon,” he said.
The Nyanga branch chairperson, Hloniphile Maswana, said he was delighted to support this important initiative, which has already assisted many pupils in different areas.
He said his organisation’s work and commitment to building a better future for pupils will in a few years be seen and appreciated.
Albert Mlindazwe, principal at Bongolethu, said he was short of words but said the uniforms surely will make a huge difference in pupils’ lives and those of their families.
He said he never thought that liquor traders would assist in motivating and encouraging kids to learn. Speaking about the donation of uniforms, Mr Mlindazwe said: “It will also give them dignity. This is a great gift that we received,” he said.
Nyanga Community Policing Forum member, Khayalethu Dyanyi, welcomed the initiatives by the organisation. He encouraged them to continue building trust with people.
He said as much as traders are often targeted when anything bad happens, they should show that they are human too.