Editors’ Choice of Covid-19 Frontliners

Lebohang Leuta, 30

Founder/chief executive
Atlehang Foundation

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.

Author - James Nash
Blake Pittaway, 20

Blake Pittaway, 20

Founder and chairperson
Project18

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.

Shai Rama | mg.co.za
Jonathan Moustakis, 29

Jonathan Moustakis, 29

Medical doctor
Johannesburg District Health, Gauteng Department of Health

Jonathan Moustakis started working at Lenasia Community Health Centre a week before South Africa’s first Covid-19 case was reported. Suddenly, Covid-19 policies had to be implemented urgently, and he had the privilege of launching the facility’s Covid-19 task team. He created procedures including guidelines for patient flow, screening, triage and case management, adapting them as new evidence emerged. He now also oversees its Covid-19 vaccination services. During the initial level five lockdown, he researched the physical and mental effects on patients who couldn’t get treatment for other illnesses, and his article in the South African Medical Journal has been cited by authors globally. “To be able to contribute to scientific literature allowed me to extend my impact and, hopefully, make a difference on a larger scale,” he says. He’s also establishing clinical services specifically for LGBTIQ+ individuals to offer stigma-free care, including HIV treatment and mental health support.

I’m not saying I can change the whole world, but at least what I do puts a smile on people’s faces, and that drives me to wake up and go be the change I want to see.

Lesley Stones | mg.co.za
Eurika Mogane, 30

Eurika Mogane, 30

Healthcare professional
Nelspruit Integrative Medical Centre & Spa

From humble beginnings as an office cleaner to several years of varied medical science and psychology studies, the multidimensional Eurika Mogane is now focused on patient care and functional medicine at the Nelspruit Integrative Medical Centre & Spa. There she serves as a colonic hydrotherapist, but is also actively involved in the marketing, public relations and communications aspects of the organisation. Her diverse skill set and interest in healthcare saw her drafting a free online course on Covid-19 in 2020, which received commendation from the Golden Key International Honorary Society. Her foray into online education appears to be an initial step in a broader quest to provide health and wellness support to those in need. Mogane provides free nutritional therapy to the disadvantaged, and professes a desire to continue compiling and translating healthcare content and materials for free online use.

To be great, you need to write your own rules and venture into the unknown.

Zia Haffejee | mg.co.za
Keegan Naidoo, 32

Keegan Naidoo, 32

Fashion design lecturer
Vega School: Durban campus

Currently in his final year of a master’s in applied arts degree, Keegan Naidoo began his academic career at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) with a diploma in fashion and textiles, and followed it up with a bachelor’s in technology specialising in fashion. He progressed to working as an assessor and facilitator, when a surprising turn of events led to lecturing. “The biggest surprise of my career was that I did not anticipate having a successful career in higher education,” says Naidoo. Awarded for having presented the best master’s paper from DUT in 2020, Naidoo put forward Hope and Resilience in a Community – a befitting title describing his very own academic journey in the fashion industry. Naidoo stresses the importance of believing in oneself wholeheartedly and building an unbreakable exterior of resilience. “Use your strengths to your advantage while constantly working on your weaknesses.”

Never doubt your ability to succeed.

Mosibudi Ratlebjane | mg.co.za