With an aim to combat the abuse and neglect of animals around South Africa, Blake Pittaway started Project18 for his 18th birthday (instead of having a party or receiving presents), and continues to be a voice for those who can’t speak for themselves. Project18 is a non-profit organisation that raises funds to help animals in need across the Western Cape. Through a variety of programmes, Project18 cares for more than 3 400 animals, from those in shelters to ones in impoverished communities. Through the feeding programme, food is bought and distributed to animals who need it most, while the medical programme focuses on the vaccination and sterilisation of animals to ensure they remain healthy. Blake’s efforts are not limited to caring for animals. He tries to help everywhere he can and has also assisted families during the Covid-19 pandemic, and supported many of the first responders during the recent Table Mountain fires.
Lebohang Leuta is the founder of Atlehang Foundation, a non-profit organisation that raises awareness about rare medical conditions, and supports parents raising children with special needs and disabilities in Soweto. It was inspired by Leuta’s experience raising her child Atlehang, who was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis. During the pandemic, Leuta began organising soup kitchens, handing out face masks and raising awareness about gender-based violence in her community. The foundation is running an anti-bullying campaign in Soweto schools. Leuta operates the foundation from her bedroom. In 2020 she was recognised by the National Youth Development Agency in its Trailblazer Campaign. Her advocacy has made her a role model in Soweto, where many people notice the efforts she makes to better the lives of others. “For as long as I live,” she says, “I will keep on providing solutions instead of being a critic.”
It’s fulfilling to play a role in assisting artists to get heard and, most importantly, documenting their stories.