Clover Mama Afrika wraps up another successful Smarties Week
Flower arranging, painting, presenting skills and mosaic art work- these are just some of the skills acquired by Clover Mamas during last week’s annual Clover Mama Afrika Smarties Week. Of the 41 mamas appointed, 20 mamas gathered together in Johannesburg for a week of training and skills building that will see them sharpen their skills to further aid their communities.
The Clover Mama Afrika project started 12 years ago as a small project and has since grown into Clover’s leading CSI project. Since the project was founded, Clover Mama Afrika has chosen 41 Mamas around South Africa who assist disadvantaged people in their communities, such as children and the elderly, many of whom have been abused or are homeless. Smarties Week is a hands-on training course that sees the Clover Mama Afrika ladies travel from different provinces across the country and unite to partake in a week of value added workshops.
Usually, Smarties Week takes place in the month of May, but this year the Clover Mama Afrika team decided to do things a little differently. Professor Elain Vlok, manager for Clover’s corporate services and founder of Clover Mama Afrika believes that to get anywhere, it’s important to stop talking and start from the beginning. This is exactly what happened and this is how the theme ‘fresh beginnings’ came about and the reason why Smarties Week was brought forward in 2016. Professor Vlok, explains, “How better to celebrate the beginning of a year by empowering Clover Mama Afrika’s from across our country as we did over the last few days, right here in Roodepoort. These special women are now able to go forth and use these skills during the rest of 2016.”
During this year’s skills building week, the Mamas worked on painting, mosaic creation, flower arranging and baking. The week started off with a relaxing and gratifying art class with Ezette van der Merwe of Creative Heartz. On day two of the course, the Mamas were given an opportunity to do a presentation of their projects and were given feedback on how to improve their operations. “Each Mama was well prepared and really showed how they reflect the true spirit of Clover Mama Afrika. They have really come along way. Having the mamas present was of real value, because they need to build these skills to better their businesses but also to think innovatively in terms of how they can improve,” says Vlok.
During the rest of the week the Mama’s got a chance to sharpen their mosaic skills by decorating bird baths under the guidance of teacher Charlotte Coertze. They further built on their flower arranging skills with a new level of flower arranging which was taught by Wiehahn Ludick and Brent Carpenter. Towards the end of the week, Siyabonga Africa shared some marketing tips on how the mamas should sell their baked products, which included an informative lesson on different baking techniques.
Finally, Smarties Week concluded with an award ceremony that all the Mamas look forward. The ceremony honours and salutes these amazing mamas for their continued selfless good work. The following awards were presented:
- Mama Sipiwe Solomons of Hazyview, Mpumalanga was named as the Performer Extraordinaire;
- Mama Florence Nyakiso of Botshabelo, Free State was awarded as Business Woman of the Year
- Mama Daphne Oliphant of Roodewal, Western Cape was awarded runner up for Business Woman of the Year and she also received the award for Cleanliness and Hygiene at her centre.
- Mama Mirriam Toni of Mbekweni, Western Cape was crowned Top Achiever of the Year and recognised as the mama with the Ultimate Cleanliness and Hygiene;
- Mama Mirriam Makamu of Tembisa, Gauteng was awarded Most Improved.
The Mamas were surprised on their last day with a workshop hosted by Chef Martin Kobald who heads up Clover’s Little Big Cook campaign. He spent the morning with the Clover Mama Afrika’s and gave them a demonstration on cupcake decorating. Chef Martin offered co-sponsorship of the Part Time City & Guilds Certificate course for one lucky mama to become a chef, worth R45 000.00. The fantastic opportunity was given to the daughter of Mama Shirley Merime of Ennerdale, who has a passion for baking and cake decorating.
Vlok proudly says, “I congratulate all our individual winners and am so grateful for each and every one of our mamas, they are the change we need in this beautiful land. Together we can continue to be Way Better – as long as they always believe that they are making a difference no matter how big or small the contribution.”