New hands at the helm of Beautiful Gate

The new executive director of Beautiful Gate SA in Philippi East, Minah Koela, addresses the crowd that came to see her appointed and celebrate the organisations 25th anniversary. With her is the founder of the organisation, Toby Brouwer and his wife, Aukje, and the outgoing executive director, Vaughan Stannard.

Faith-based organisation, Beautiful Gate SA has appointed Minah Koela as their new executive director.

Ms Koela takes over from Vaughan Stannard and will have oversight over all staff and programmes, including family strengthening, education support and child health.

The organisation made the announcement at their offices on Thursday October 10 and celebrated its 25th anniversary on Saturday October 12.

They said it was fitting that as a ministry committed to empowering local community members and their own staff in particular, they were also celebrating a new leadership structure.

They said over the years Beautiful Gate SA has grown its volunteer staff considerably, to over 80 staff serving children and families in the Philippi District.

Dr Stannard led the organisation for the past 12 years and will still be involved.

His new role includes driving the development of the social services hub at Beautiful Gate in Lower Crossroads and serving community organisations and structures to continue in building a healthy and safe community for families and children.

Dr Stannard said as a Christian, faith-based organisation with roots in defending and promoting mercy and justice for the oppressed, Beautiful Gate not only needs to ensure a continuing transformation of representative black South African leadership, but in fact, to lead such a transformation process so often lacking in the sector and the country.

“We are therefore committed to creating opportunity and transformation within our own organisation which leads us to empower black South Africans into greater leadership roles,” he said.

In accepting the position, Ms Koela admitted there will be challenges along the way, however, she remained positive about the growth of the organisation under her leadership.

“I think in any transition there will always be challenges. Being a woman is always a challenge.

“But also it has been 25 years of different history. It won’t be easy. I am not being racist but most guys who led were white so people will always measure you against them. But I am positive and passionate about what I will be doing. My passion is that God is the one that changes the heart and we just do certain things.”

She said a starting point would be to make the place safe for children and create a space for healing. “It should have an aura of peace.The community should trust us like it did Vaughan,” she said.

Local councillor Mboniswa Chita thanked the previous leadership and appealed to the coming one to bear with them and work with them again.

He said the community and the organisation had challenges before but he was happy that was all water under the bridge now.

Mr Koela also got blessings from the founders of Beautiful Gate, Toby and Aukje Brouwer, who graced the occasion.

Ms Koela was born in Gugulethu and grew up in Crossroads, Section 3. She attended Noxolo Primary School and completed her matric at Nelson Mandela High School, also in Old Crossroads.

She volunteered at Beautiful Gate Street Children’s ministry alongside founder, Toby Brouwer, from 1995 to 1998.

In 2012 she completed her Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management through UCT‘s Graduate School of Business and in 2016 specialised in Leadership Innovation.