Rosie Mashale, popularly known as Mama Rosie, the founder of
Baphumelele Children’s Centre of South Africa has emerged winner of
the 2019 Daily Trust African of the year award.
A seven-member award selection committee led by the former president
of Botswana, Dr. Festus Mogae, announced her as the winner on November
29, 2019 after rigorous selection meetings in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Mama Rosie won the 2019 award for her continuous commitment to
providing loving care to thousands of orphans mostly from Khayelitsha,
a community afflicted by the largest HIV/AIDS epidemic in the world.
The abandoned children are mostly ‘children no-one wants’.
HIV and AIDS are endemic in South Africa, infecting and killing
hundreds of people, leaving babies as orphans, many of them also
In 1989, Mama Rosie moved to Khayelitsha, one of South Africa’s
poorest townships, as a teacher there, and saw children scrounging for
food in a garbage dump, and brought them into her home to feed them.
This was the start of a remarkable programme that has been sustained
Founded in 2001, Baphumelele Children’s Home was a response to an
alarming situation Mama Rosie is contending with. She had no money
when she decided to provide a home and place of safety to children who
were orphaned, abandoned, abused, and neglected, but she had a vision,
a large heart, a lot of resolve, and the constant support of her
The children’s home now provides these orphans and vulnerable children
with a stable, loving and permanent home. It also serves as a place of
safety for children in crisis 24/7. Because so many of these children
are sick Baphumelele now includes a medical centre to treat their HIV
and/or other diseases.
Mama Rosie has won several local and international awards for her
unprecedented care for the orphans.
Chairman of the selection committee, Mogae said “Mama Rosie deserves
the award for her continuous courage and dedication to save the lives
of thousands of abandoned children affected by HIV/AIDS, he
congratulated her for emerging the winner of the prestigious Daily
Trust African of the year award for 2019.
Responding to her selection, Mama Rosie expressed gratitude to the
committee for selecting her for the award out of more than 400
nominations from across Africa. She confirmed her personal attendance
at the award presentation ceremony to hold on January 15, 2020, in