We are delighted to announce Dr Judith Neilson as Patron of MasiSports, pictured above with Digby Jennings, Vince van der Bijl and Nceba Jonas.
We are honoured that Judith has agreed to become involved in MasiSports in Masiphumelele township. The reach of her charitable projects is global and she strives to provide a powerful force for change in the lives of vulnerable people in Australia and around the world. Judith has a profound love of contemporary art, is an advocate for women’s rights and a champion of education and life skills.
Neilson was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2016 for significant service to the arts through the museums and galleries sector, and as a benefactor of cultural and educational organisations.
Born in Zimbabwe and growing up in South Africa before immigrating to Australia in the early 1980s, Judith has maintained her deep love of Africa. On her recent Sub-Saharan trip from Australia, Judith visited Ukhanyo Primary, Masiphumelele, with a South African mutual friend, Digby Jennings. Judith was enthralled by the enthusiasm and energy of both the kids and coaches, and the school staff and Principal as they participated in the life skill sessions, sport on the new Astro fields, together with chess and the English and Maths labs.
We then drove past Masiphumelele High School and Judith saw the relative dearth of facilities and kids playing sport.
Following her visit, Judith has pledged to fund the following:
- The building of a 70 x 40m multi sports Astro field, an Astro volleyball court and three cricket nets at Masiphumelele High School
- Art tuition at the Ukhanyo Primary
- A Judith Neilson annual girls sport and life skills festival
- A weekly volunteer litter squad from the schools to clean up the entrance to Masiphumelele
- The employment of four coaches for the new facilities at Masi High and their life skills training
- Operating support for other MasiSports work
Judith’s generosity will revolutionise sport and life skills at the High School. Importantly, the vulnerable teenagers will learn how to navigate the perils of township life. These includes gangs, violence, drugs, sexual harassment and providing an antidote for the sense of hopelessness living in a poor community. The influence on Masiphumelele will be significant.
We welcome Judith as patron and have already gained much from her guidance and ideas. MasiSports and the schools look forward to Judith visiting again in 2023 where she will have the opportunity to see the work that has been possible due to her generosity. The children and families of Masi are truly fortunate for these initiatives.