The Ithemba Foundation


Newsletter November 2021


Never give up on HOPE


One of the classic symptoms of depression is that the hopelessness makes you feel unable to make decisions. But you can still decide to get help. And one step at a time, no matter how small, is progress. You might think you are too depressed to help yourself, but you can start a whole series of actions by just clicking on the link below to help you take that first step to seek help. Remind yourself that it is an illness and that there is treatment available, whether with the help of a psychologist, or by including a psychiatrist. If you were ill with other symptoms, you would not delay seeking help. Why should you when you’re feeling so terribly depressed, or with that anxiety that’s eating away at you? Just take this small step by clicking on this link: What if I'm Too Depressed to Help Myself? | HealthyPlace.



And then there is … eco-anxiety


Although not yet regarded as a diagnosable condition, researchers recently published a study on “eco-anxiety” and how the climate crisis is taking a growing toll on the mental health of children and young people. “Eco-anxiety” is defined as “the chronic fear of environmental doom”. Public health experts warned that its consequences are underestimated and damaging to many in the long term. It also has a disproportionate impact on children and young people. According to a 2020 survey of child psychiatrists in England, 57% of respondents were seeing children and young people who are distressed about the climate crisis. Read more at ‘Eco-anxiety’: fear of environmental doom weighs on young people | Anxiety | The Guardian. You can also read more about a new poll carried out shortly before COP26, in which 78% of respondents reported some level of eco-anxiety: Eco-anxiety over climate crisis suffered by all ages and classes | Cop26 | The Guardian.



Erns was … ‘Elders’ – running a marathon


Erns Grundling ran his first-ever marathon when he completed the Cape Town Marathon on 17 October. Erns is, of course, much better known as a travel journalist, as well as for his highly popular Elders TV series. In addition to all the adventures in his life, he ran the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in aid of Ithemba to raise awareness of mental health. Being the month of HOPEtober, his aim was to raise the distance of a marathon in Rands, in other words, 42,2 km, translated into R42 200. And he did it! Erns wrote on his GivenGain page about his progress, and how he prepared, mentally and physically, for this übermensch race. This is how he introduced himself: “My name is Erns Grundling, I’m a journalist, author and TV presenter of the kykNET travel show Elders. I’m also someone who knows and lives with the Black Dog, as depression is commonly known.” Thank you for your übermensch effort, Erns!

Erns, centre, ran in a skyblue-for-hope shirt, sponsored by First Ascent’s Warren Butler (left) and Riaan Oosthuizen (right). In front are Mika and Suki, Erns’s usual running mates (but not for a full marathon).



‘Blue represents hope and our smiles resilience’


We rang in the month of HOPEtober with our Hope Hike and Hope Bike on 3 October. As a virtual event, participants could again do their thing wherever they were – even all the way from China. Thank you to all who participated and helped to break the silence around mental health. Mental health matters, more than ever before, because of the fall-out of the pandemic, but together, we can all make a difference and hold on to hope. As one of the participants posted together with her selfie: “The blue represents hope and the smiles on our faces represent resilience.” Participants could post selfies until 10 October, World Mental Health Day, and the lucky draw for 10 R500 Woolies vouchers was an online event – thank you to Jana van Rensburg, Ithemba’s social media manager, and all at Ilse Cilliers Strategic Communications. The winners of the vouchers are:



HOPE is a flower, happiness, the spirit of ubuntu …


From Kathu to Klerksdorp, primary and high school learners wrote about what that magical word “hope” means to them amidst the ongoing pandemic in an essay competition centred on October as Mental Health Awareness Month.

Hope is a flower. Hope is a glimpse of the African sunset. Hope is a new beginning. Hope is happiness. Hope is the spirit of ubuntu. These are just some of the descriptions of what the word hope means to South African primary and high school learners who entered Ithemba Foundation’s essay competition. With research underlining the negative impact the pandemic has on children and teenagers, Ithemba conceptualised the competition and collaborated with Curro schools country-wide to help learners express themselves about what “hope” means to them in these difficult times. To top it all, well-known award-winning journalists assisted with the judging in both the English and the Afrikaans categories. In the English section, Marianne Thamm and Rebecca Davis selected their winners, and in the Afrikaans section Dana Snyman and Erns Grundling were the judges.

Ithemba sponsored a total amount of R24 000 as prize money. The first prize in the primary and high schools category in both English and Afrikaans was R3 000 (totalling R12 000); the second prize R2 000 (totalling R8 000), and the third R1 000 (totalling R4 000).
The winners are:

English primary schools:
First prize: Shreya Harbans (Curro Grantleigh, Richards Bay; prize money R3 000)
Second prize: Tasheek Dullabh (Curro St George, Gqeberha) and Nala Vilakazi (Curro Waterstone, Johannesburg) (sharing R2 000, thus R1 000 each)
Third prize: Harshivan Naidoo (Curro Heritage House, Durban) and Mehul Morar (Curro Waterstone, Johannesburg) (sharing R1 000, thus R500 each).

English high schools:
First prize: Anela Vundla and Merique Pillay (both Creston College, Port Shepstone; sharing R3 000, thus R1 500 each)
Second prize: Kayise Khumalo (Curro Grantleigh, Richards Bay) and Dallin Naicker (Creston College, Port Shepstone) (sharing R2 000, thus R1 000 each)
Third prize: Joel Janneker (Curro Langebaan) and Mirthav Lachman (Creston College, Port Shepstone (sharing R1 000, thus R500 each).

Afrikaans Primary schools:
First prize: Cleone Stone (Curro Hermanus, prize money R3 000)
Second prize: Shani Blom (Curro Hazeldean, Pretoria) and Ruben Kotze (Curro Durbanville; sharing R2 000, thus R1 000 each)
Third prize: Juanel Brits (Curro Langebaan) and Tenisha Steenkamp (Curro Academy Wilgeheuwel, Roodepoort; sharing R1 000, thus R500 each).

Afrikaans high schools:
First prize: Carli Kruger (Curro Kathu; R3 000)
Second prize: Alexa Vivier (Curro Hermanus; R2 000)
Third prize: Johan Ferreira (Curro Sitari, Somerset West) and Johanne Strydom (Curro Kathu; sharing R1 000, thus R500 each).



Talking the talk and walking the walk


Thank you to Curro Hazeldean, Pretoria East, for organising a special fundraiser for Ithemba with their awareness raising campaign on World Suicide Awareness Day on 10 September. With their activities they collected a whopping R3 306 in aid of Ithemba. As teacher Anru Nel said: “We, as Curro Hazeldean, wanted to show our solidarity towards your foundation.”
Thank you, Anru, and thank you to all at Curro Hazeldean for raising awareness by talking the talk, and literally walking the walk.




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