Mama Palesa


Simphiwe Mbeje, CAST’s Lamontville Area Coordinator (on right), works with many women in his community who are the sole supporters of their families. He ensures these women receive food parcels from CAST’s Povery Relief Programme. One of those ladies is Mama Palesa (on left). She lives in a simple home, cooking samp and beans from her CAST food parcel over a fire outside her home. Supporting her seven children and eleven grandchildren, Mama Palesa makes and sells children’s clothing in Durban Central.

Mama Palesa experienced the loss of her husband in 1995. In the past, she had supported her family through sewing and gardening alone. However, things became more difficult as her family continued to grow. Mama Palesa began to sell meat bones out of desperation to make ends meet. With no one else working in the family, Mama Palesa was not coping well with the load she was carrying.

Last year, someone told her about CAST. Mama Palesa met with CAST’s Lamontville Area Coordinator and was put on the food parcel programme. Mama Palesa thanks CAST for the support because she is able to feed her family. Her grandchildren even receive Christmas gifts through CAST’s lovebox drive!

One of Mama Palesa's grandchildren

One of Mama Palesa’s grandchildren


Mama Palesa is always looking for ways to support her family, so she also joined the CAST Business Forum. She has always used sewing to support her family, but CAST gave her the opportunity to sell at other markets, such as Hope Market in Umhlanga. In addition to making and selling clothing, Mama Palesa collects bottles and cans outside her home to recycle as a small income.

Mama Palesa is one of many women in Lamontville who have been empowered by CAST’s services. If you are interested in supporting someone like Mama Palesa through CAST’s business forum or food parcel programme, please contact Murry, our Volunteer Coordinator, at


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