The Ithemba Foundation


Newsletter February 2022


2022 – we see you


Do you also feel as if the new year has already evaporated into thin air, with January just a vague memory …? Well, you’re not the only one. It seems we are all already close to Burnout Central, what with all the stressors surrounding us. The whole world seems to be in turmoil, but for us South Africans the year really started with bad tidings, including the trauma of seeing the symbol of our democracy, our Parliamentary complex, going up in flames. In fact, we’re a traumatised nation. So how to hang on to hope? One answer is to take control. We know it is easier said than done, but it starts with you. We CAN, ’cause we’re South AfriCAN.

This year also sees Ithemba’s 10th anniversary in October, or HOPEtober, in Ithemba-speak. And with our eyes on HOPEtober and our 10th anniversary this year, we’ll bring you HOPE in the form of pointers that you can apply to your life, even if it is only one at a time. So, to start off, let’s just say: 2022 – we see you. And we have the trump card in our hands! Stay positive! Let’s make 2022 just betterer and betterer! You CAN – you’re South AfriCAN.



5 Emotional wellness activities to change your life


That magical phrase “emotional wellness” is not unattainable. You can take control by taking small steps towards that goal. Five such activities are to “make meaning”, to “cultivate a sense of awe”, to “seek connection”, to “embrace gratitude”, and lastly, to “never lose your sense of humour”. How?

The website emphasises the fact that emotional wellness is more than managing emotions and feelings. Yes, it is an attitude. Managing emotions and feelings is just part of it. Your emotional health encompasses all of who you are – and it’s a lifelong process of becoming fully you. How can you make a start?

  1. You can “make meaning” of so many things around you: Your family, your job, as a partner, as a parent, as a friend.
  2. Instead of brooding over the bad shape we’re in and all the bad things that are happening, try to concentrate on the positive: “Cultivate a sense of awe”. Think of something bigger and brighter than the gloom and doom around us.
  3. “Seek connection”: See how you can connect with others in ways that give meaning to your life.
  4. “Grow a sense of gratitude”: Yes, even if things feel as if they cannot become worse, there will still be things you can be grateful for.
  5. Never lose your sense of humour. It is restorative and releases feel-good hormones in your body.

For each of these five pointers there are activities that you can do to help you find your balance – and they are all doable. Please read more at and see how taking small steps can make a huge difference.



10 Reasons that might cause your anxiety


When you experience anxiety, it is as if your brain is racing faster than that superhero of a horse named Kommetdieding, who won both the Durban July and the Cape Met. But that racing is certainly not as pleasant an experience as seeing a beautiful animal graciously racing towards the finishing line. In fact: It is exactly the opposite. You want to sit in a corner, hiding yourself from the outside world. And you have no control whatsoever over that racing, racing, racing brain of yours. Plus, on top of the anxiety, the never-ceasing questions of WHY am I so anxious? What causes my anxiety? Especially if it comes out of the blue.

As if experiencing anxiety is not enough, not knowing what causes it makes you even more anxious. There are different types of anxiety. The Mayo Clinic lists everything from generalised anxiety disorder, to panic disorder, to social anxiety disorder – and a lot in between, including various types of phobias. According to there could be ten possible causes of anxiety. They list them as 1. Your background; 2. Trauma or stress; 3. Behaviour; 4. Substance use; 5. Physiology; 6. Genetics; 7. Medical factors; 8. Personality; 9. Your thoughts; and 10. Your emotions. Read at about what can cause your anxiety – and, especially, what you can do about them. Most importantly, always remember: You are not your anxiety. Don’t let it rule your life. You can do something about it. Yes, you CAN.



Save the dates!


While our year is already running away with us, circle these dates on your calendar: Friday, 3 June is #CrazySocks4Docs Day, and just about all of October – or Ithemba’s HOPEtober – for our Hope Hike and Bike and the Cape Town Marathon.

Let’s make this a memorable year of HOPE – we all need loads and loads of it. And we can do it. Remember, we are South AfriCAN! So, circle these dates on your calendar:

With Ithemba’s CS4D Day we, as the public, can show our appreciation and gratitude to all healthcare workers by wearing our fun and funky mismatched socks to show we #Care4OurCarers. Even before Covid, the healthcare sector was under indescribable stress because of a lack of resources - from infrastructure, to staff shortages, to non-existing budgets. Since 2020, with Covid ravaging through our communities, our healthcare sector took even more strain, emotionally and physically. CS4D means it is our turn to #Care4OurCarers.

Also: Please circle the whole of October as Ithemba’s HOPEtober and South Africa’s Mental Health Awareness Month. Our Hope Hike and Bike will be on Sunday, 2 HOPEtober. This year we will host a real (Covid-permitting) and virtual event – so you can, wherever you are, do your thing to raise HOPE and awareness of mental health. On Sunday, 16 HOPEtober, it is time for the Cape Town Marathon. And, oh yes, we’re looking for participants for both the marathon – come on, you CAN do it! – and participants in the Peace10 run or walk along the Sea Point Promenade. Contact if you’re interested in raising awareness of mental health and participating in Ithemba’s name. So: On your marks, get set, go!




ITHEMBA FOUNDATION - NPC 2012/171250/08 - PBO 930/048/019