Phathakge-Madiba Care Home

Phathekge-Madiba Care Home

Updated April 2019

Tembisa is a sprawling township north east of Johannesburg. Like many of South Africa's townships it is marked by a vibrancy, a sense of community and a fragility of life. For the poorest, there are few safety nets to save them.


The Phathakge- Madiba Care Home is really just a normal home with a policy of not leaving people behind; run by two ladies who refuse to close their eyes or their hearts to those who are suffering around them. Rebecca Phathakge, and her daughter Lerato, have taken in hundreds of people of all races over 20 years; including the destitute, those experiencing homelessness, orphans and those who need temporary accommodation to get back on their feet. Some live out their days there, many say it saved their lives. All become part of the family.

Gavin Fisher, a BBC journalist based in Johannesburg, wrote as follows: 'I first visited the project as a journalist, to interview Rebecca and Lerato. I wanted to know how these women came to dedicate every waking hour of their lives to others for free, while also fighting to scrape the few hundred pounds a month to keep it running, from friends, relatives and neighbours willing to help. I was struck most by the fact that the work was not a burden but a passion, one that gave meaning and purpose to their lives.

'What a burden is the state of their home. They have built on extra rooms as they have been able to afford them, turning a two- bedroom house into a sprawling space housing up to 30 people at a time. But the work has been shoddy, often unfinished, posing  challenge to their work every day.'


Over the past few months, with funds from Thembisa together with Galvin's  own fund-raising (which included running the Comrades Ulta-Marathon!), building work has now been done on the two bathrooms: a shower, a bath, sinks and toilets installed, and the hot water supply restored. A desperately needed new cooker has been installed. As it is getting colder, the next step, funds permitting, will be to complete the installation of ceiling panels.