Q2 2018

posted Jun 25, 2018, 2:28 AM by Elsabe Ros

This year we can commemorate that the work of Khothatsong, albeit initially under other names, has been going on for 20 years. In 1998, when my family came to South Africa the HIV/AIDS epidemic was killing thousands of people. The government was doing very little to help and NGO’s were scrambling to fill the gap. My mother, Nellie Kleijn, together with a team of fellow-Christians heeded God’s call to “preach the good news to the poor” and to “bind up the brokenhearted” (Isaiah 61:1).

Initially, they started the process by forming an AIDS subcommittee of the Evangelism Committee of the Free Reformed Churches of Pretoria. The first work of this committee was to develop an awareness pamphlet and poster. The pamphlet and poster boldly proclaimed the gospel news that there was hope and forgiveness, even in the face of AIDS-related death.

Through networking with various other concerned people, the AIDS Committee soon grew into an organisation that was given the name Kagisong. The organisation provided both home-based and hospice care.

In the meantime, South Africa’s second democratically elected president, President Mbeki, led his government on the road of AIDS denialism. He and his minister of Health, Dr Tshabalala-Msimang, claimed that AIDS was not caused by HIV, but was rather a socio-economic issue. They refused to provide anti-retroviral treatment (ARV’s), desite the numerous court cases brought against them.

When the government was finally forced to relent in 2003, it continued to drag its feet and failed to meet its roll-out targets. Dr Tshabalala-Msimang even went so far as to warn people against using ARV, claiming that they were poison. She instead recommended a variety of remedies such as garlic and beetroot, earning her the nickname “Dr Beetroot.”

The government’s attitude resulted in at least 300,000 deaths. It also resulted in a highly stigmatised illness. Myths about AIDS abounded, including that it could be cured by raping a virgin. People who had AIDS were rejected by their families and communities.

In 2008, I experienced the horrors of AIDS and its stigmatisation. At the time I was working as social worker for another organisation. My work was focused on the townships around Pretoria. I had a team of social auxiliary workers working with me. One of them, let’s call her Jane, was constantly sick. She, however, did not want to discuss the matter with me.

By that time, Kagisong had ceased to exist and had been replaced with Khothatsong. The organisation had started another hospice and continued to provide home-based care. Since my work was in the same community, I regularly passed that hospice and told my colleagues about Khothatsong and my mother’s role in that organisation.

One day Jane told me that she wanted to meet my mother to tell her something. By then she was actually quite ill and was struggling to work. During a private conversation with my mother, she admitted that she had AIDS and begged my mother to help her. That same day my mother dropped her off at the hospice.

However, rather than this being the beginning of her recovery, it was the beginning of what would become a tough six months. After about a week Jane decided to walk home from the hospice because she was worried that her family would steal her salary out of her account. I managed to have her readmitted. She developed a form of AIDS-related dementia and was a real handful for the hospice. She ran away a few times and eventually the hospice no longer wanted to take her back.

She then stayed at her parents’ house. I regularly visited her there and got to know her family quite well. Her parents had quite a number of children. However, by 2008 they had already lost a few of them, one or two to AIDS and another to gunshot wounds. As soon as Jane had started to become ill, her mother began to emotionally detach herself from her. Although she allowed her to stay at her house, she did little to support her. Due to the stigmas, Jane was not allowed into the kitchen for fear that she would make everyone else ill. Her 13-year-old son did his best to care for his mother – at times preparing her some food.

Whenever she had to go to the hospital or clinic, she would phone me to ask me to take her, as her family did not really want to do so. By the end of the year she seemed to be feeling a bit better, although she was still painfully thin. In December she said that she would love to attend a Christmas party that my other colleagues and I had organised for some of our clients. When I, however, arrived at her parents’ home to fetch her she was crying from pain. She begged me to take her to the hospital. Her mother was rather dismissive and suggested that she was just putting it on. I ended up taking her to the hospital and she was admitted. I stayed to see her settled in her bed. She then asked me to please fetch her phone and purse and drop it off at the hospital. When I returned to the hospital about two hours later, the nurse would not let me go to her room and instead took me to the nurses’ room. She asked me to sit. She then told me Jane had passed away. She said that normally she would not be telling me this, but due to the fact that she could see that I cared and the fact that her family were dismissive of requests that they come to the hospital, she felt compelled to tell me. She asked me to contact the family and urge them to come to the hospital.

Thus Jane passed away alone in the hospital, without any loving support of her family. This happened at a time when ARV’s were available. She had not had the support she needed to consistently take her medication. It broke my heart…

This happened ten years ago. What is the situation like now? Khothatsong no longer has a hospice. We now have a team of home-based carers as well as two foster homes and an awareness programme. The government has improved its ARV programme, and access to this vital medication has changed many people’s lives. However, the stigma often remains. People often still do not want to disclose their HIV status for fear of being rejected. Although ARV’s are now more readily available, government policy does dictate that the patient’s immune system needs to have been compromised before they qualify for treatment. In addition, there are people who stop using their medication and become seriously ill as a result. The infection rate, especially among young people remains high. In the last couple of years drug use has also contributed to this infection rate. The latest trend is the “blue-tooth” drug use, where one person injects the drug and others then withdraw blood from that person and inject themselves with that blood. Khothatsong’s work is far from over; although AIDS is no longer the death sentence it was in 1998. Please continue to pray for and support our work.

Willemien Kleijn

Thank you - Nov 2017

posted Jan 24, 2018, 11:19 AM by Elsabe Ros   [ updated Jan 27, 2018, 6:15 AM ]

We thank so many people that have shown their support to the Foster Care project. Thank you for those that do maintenance repairs to the houses. Those that bring clothes, books, toys, foods and time that brings joy to the children’s hearts!

We want to thank Celebration Church and the Women’s Group in Australia that both donated blankets during the winter for our patients and children respectively. Thank you for your warming contribution to lives of the people we serve!

Thank you to the youth of FRC Pretoria for organizing a fun day for the foster children at the botanical gardens and for One Joy for painting the bedrooms of the children. It looks beautiful! We love your initiative!

One of our home-based care workers: Violet’s house burnt down. She received many donations of clothing, bedding etc to help her on the road again. Thank you for reaching out!

Thank you, Jeanette Hamming or donating beads, to the support group. They used it to decorate their wonderbags that were made and are for sale at the Khothuismark at the FRC Pretoria from 28-30 November.

The wonderbag does wonders to save electricity when cooking. Do support them there if you can!

Thank you also to Gert van Rensburg from Langplaas who donates fresh fruit and vegetables regularly to our project. You are a blessing to us!

Thank you also to SA Guide Dogs Association for the Blind for your workshop of visual impairment and for helping us to help our blind patients. We appreciate your input!

Thank you to Janet Bunk to adds fragrance to our patients’ lives with her aromatherapy. We appreciate your efforts and help.

To our regular donors in Canada, The Netherlands, Australia and South Africa – we appreciate your ongoing support. This work would not be possible without you! Thank you to everyone that remembers our work in their prayers. This means a lot to us. Because our help is from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.

We want to thank you - April 2017

posted Jan 24, 2018, 11:06 AM by Elsabe Ros   [ updated Jan 27, 2018, 6:15 AM ]

To everyone who contributed throughout the year: thank you very much for your time, and for opening your hearts and wallets to Khothatsong!

A special thanks to:

  • CRWRF and DVN who have been supporting us for years with funding and their guidance and advice.
  • The Gereformeerde Laerskool Johannes Calvyn (Reformed Primary School John Calvin) for contributing to schoolfunding.
  • The owner of Langplaas, who donates vegetables towards our organisation's patients.
  • The group of ladies in Australia who frequently send us blankets.
  • The Kothuismark who gave us a big donation.

Thank you also to the local community who regularly donate their time, food, clothes and money. We truly appreciate it.

We thank God for all your help – we of course have great gratitude towards Him! He provides the talents and care we need, and stirs our hearts, in order to achieve our goals. He continues to open doors to make our projects possible.


posted Jan 24, 2018, 11:04 AM by Elsabe Ros   [ updated Jan 27, 2018, 6:14 AM ]

Originally pusblished in November 2016

It is almost time for me, Nellie Kleijn, to leave South Africa with my husband, Kees. On the 22nd of November we hope to be emigrating to West-Australia.

I would like to use this newsletter to write a short overview and to thank and strengthen those that will be continuing this beautiful work.

After 18 years of involvement, Khothatsong is very close to my heart.

In the beginning of the project, it was heart breaking to see how many people died of HIV/AIDS.

Through God’s grace we could bring relief to the people we visited at home. We couldn’t heal them of their illness, but could give them relief by caring for them in their difficult circumstances. The most beautiful part was that we could also comfort them by speaking to them about the saving work of the Lord Jesus. Often, God made the hearts of the ill soft and gave them faith, so that they could die in peace. Sometimes there was also resistance. People would say: “I lived such a bad life, I don’t believe that God would have anything to do with me.”

But God’s word can work miracles and we then told them about 1 John 1:8 and 9: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

The Lord has blessed the work of Khothatsong in all aspects.

Through the home visits, the desire developed to give these very ill people, that often lives with 3 or 4 generations in the same shack, a peaceful place where they could be looked after. Khothatsong could, two times, start up a hospice. We could also train 40 people for home based care.

Now we also have, to our joy, two houses in Soshanguve where two loving mothers look after and bring up a number of foster children.

We also have a team of 10 workers that provide home based care to sick people in New Eersterust. One of the team members is a pastor that takes the job of pastoral care on him and one of the others is a gardener that helps people to start their own vegetable gardens.

Then there is also a team of volunteers that gives education about AIDS to children and young adults through summer camps and follow-up meetings throughout the year.

First, I want to thank the Lord that he used me to do this work. Without the Father’s help we would not have been able to do any of this. We could pray to his promises and see his strength and his glory, as it is mentioned in Psalm 63: ”Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.”

I want to thank everyone that we could take care of and their families. You have always greeted us with open arms. Do not be fearful, the care will continue, the Lord has provided.

To the carers, I have enjoyed working with you a lot and you have all crept deep into my heart. I will miss you. You have become very independent through the years. I depend on the fact that your love for your work will stay. You do it for your neighbours. Do not be afraid, do your work with all your heart, because you have God on your side. Stay true to Him.

My thanks also go out to all the donors. You have made sure that we were never in financial difficulties. We could always call on you. Your prayers, especially, gave us the strength to go on. The work is always so needed and will probably never end here on earth.

Finally, a word to the management, manager, the volunteers and everybody that has helped in the past to run Khothatsong. Thank you for the trust that you have placed in me. I have learned a lot from you. I could depend on you in so many different circumstances. Be strong and brave to continue with this beautiful work. Make your dreams and desires come true, to strengthen and expand the projects. Make the Lord bless you.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.“

With loving greetings,

Acknowledgements - Nov 2016

posted Jan 24, 2018, 10:57 AM by Elsabe Ros   [ updated Jan 27, 2018, 6:12 AM ]

To all who contributed to the work of Khothatsong through their contributions of all sort, thank you very much you time and for opening your hearts and purses for thework of Khothatsong!

A special word of thanks to the children of John Calvin School in Pretoria, for their constant monthly contributions for the school fees of our foster care children.

We are also grateful to CRWRF (Canadian Reformed World Relief Foundation) and the DVN (De Verre Naasten). Both of those organisations visited Khothatsong this year. For those who have not met Jakolien and Konnie yet, these representatives of both these organizations and have been supporting us at various levels for many years. We also continue to receive guidance and assistance from them.

We also constantly receive gifts in kind – eggs, lemons, clothing and pieces of fabric. Thank you very much to these donors. Everything has been put to good use.Finally we would also like to single out our monthly, quarterly and annual donors. It is heart-warming to see how many people and organisations continue to support thework of Khothatsong. Please keep the church in your prayers that we can continue to be a shining light in these political turbulent times.

We thank the Lord for this, because our greatest thanksgiving belongs to our heavenly Father. He continues to move hearts and provide strength for the work. He alsoconstantly opens doors for the continuation of the projects.

Personnel matters - Nov 2016

posted Jan 24, 2018, 10:55 AM by Elsabe Ros   [ updated Jan 27, 2018, 6:14 AM ]

Nellie Kleijn is leaving

We are saying farewell to Nellie Kleijn who on 22 November will be emigrating to Australia with her husband for their retirement. On the 15th of October she attended her lasts board meeting. Even though she has cut back on her involvement with the project in the last year it will be hard to imagine that we have to go further without her.

Over 18 years she has become the heart of Khothatsong. Her energy, initiative and care made her the face of Khothatsong here and overseas. Through her work literally thousands of people suffering with aids received physical and spiritual help. The entered the shacks of hopeless people and with her smile, medical knowledge and the Bible at hand she offered them hope and healing.

Over the years the projects in Khothatsong grew. We now have many full time staff. We are thankful for the two hospices that we had, and now for the large home based care team, awareness team and foster care houses. There is still a lot of work to be done.

The Lord blessed Nellie’s work over the years. May the Lord also bless the continuation of this work. We wish her a well-deserved rest in Australia.

More about our new CEO

In our last newsletter we mentioned that we would share more about our new CEO Unathi Nomagagase Twalo.

Most importantly, Unathi is a Christian and a mother.

Her profession is a social worker and she lives in Garsfontein, Pretoria. Unathi has amongst other a Master of Science Degree in Child Care and Protection from theUniversity of KwaZulu-Natal. Unathi has also been lecturing at Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria, Gauteng.

On behalf of your colleagues, we welcome you at Khothatsong and wish you every success here. We believe that your experience in amongst other raising funds,organisation development, budgeting, risk identification and management, writing and publishing articles and in particular your linguistic ability in many languages i.e.English, Xhosa, Zulu, Swati, Sotho will ease Khothatsong into the next more formal organizational chapter Khothatsong is entering. We hope you will take pride in being a member of our team and that your experience here will be challenging, enjoyable, and rewarding.

In the few months you have been part of our team, you have become part of the team and have spontaneously blended into the Khothatsong culture. It is not an easy environment being managed by volunteers.

Again, welcome!

Words of Thanks - 2016(1)

posted Jan 24, 2018, 10:52 AM by Elsabe Ros   [ updated Jan 27, 2018, 6:15 AM ]

The shop, Fruit and Veg, has donated 45 food parcels to patients and carers. Those who have enough does not always realise what big difference only one food parcel can make in the lives of disadvantaged people. Thank you!

We also want to thank Baobab, who gave us two luxury buses at a reduced rate to transport the youths to the awareness camp.

The knitting group from Australia has made two more beautiful blankets. They are lovely and colourful. Thank you for your efforts, sisters from overseas. Our thanks also to those who brought the blankets to South Africa. It is wonderful that we are united by our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and that He works in our hearts to look after each other.

We have received a lot of eggs and lemons. This is a tremendous benefit to the two foster care homes and the home based care patients. Thank you!

We are still receiving clothes, bags, toiletries and toys that can be used by all our projects. Heartfelt thanks to all our donors.

We also want to thank all our loyal donors who continue to contribute financially. In the recent months there have also been a number of anonymous donations. Thank you for the gift!

We want to thank De Verre Naasten, who has been supporting us financially for many years. Two representatives of the organisation has recently visited our projects. Thank you for your encouraging words.

The Canadian Reformed World Relief Foundation, who has been supporting us the longest, now also wants to give more money and also an extra amount specifically for the foster care project. We are very glad and want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Our biggest supporter is our Father in Heaven. Thank You! You give us what we need in your time. Sometimes we go through tough times, but You always encourage us again. Father, give us a new CEO, that can continue the work of Khothatsong. We know that without your faithful Father Care, we will not be ableto do this work. To You all praise and honour.


The Lord has answered our prayers and provided us with a CEO, Unathi Magase. She commenced with her duties on 1 May 2016. We look forward to introducing her to you in the next newsletter.

Administration - 2016 (1)

posted Jan 24, 2018, 10:47 AM by Elsabe Ros   [ updated Jan 27, 2018, 6:13 AM ]

The newest addition to Khothatsong is Tineke Kerkhoff, who will be taking up the nursing duties. She frequently visits patients and supervises the team of home based care workers. Tineke, welcome, and we are very glad that you have responded to this call.

We are looking for a CEO again. With sadness, we inform you that Riesl Spies has resigned after a short but fruitful period of involvement with Khothatsong, because of personal reason. We want to thank Riesl for her contributions to Khothatsong.

Sietze Snijder has taken over the financial management of Khothatsong from Marjan Bijker. Marjan has retired after many years of involvement with Khothatsong. Marjan, thank you very much for your dedication and faultless management of Khothatsong’s finances. Sietze, welcome, to the Khothatsong team. Right from the start you showed enthusiastic commitment, including at your first monthly board meeting and the missionary afternoon on 6 March.

Janet Pouwels and Elsabé Ros have also been involved with the board meetings of Khothatsong for about 6 months, coming from the church youth. On behalf of the youth, they have added a lot of value to the meetings. Although Janet is involved as the youth representative and Elsabé as IT help, they are both part of the strategic planning of Khothatsong.

Mission Afternoon in the Pretoria Church

posted Jan 24, 2018, 10:46 AM by Elsabe Ros   [ updated Jan 27, 2018, 6:14 AM ]

On Sunday the 6th of March, a mission information afternoon was held in the building of the Free Reformed Church in Pretoria where church councils and members could meet various missionaries and volunteers doing missionary work in the province Gauteng. Some of the organisations present were CBI (prison ministry), French radio distribution, presentations from churches in Soshanguve and Mamelodi, the Reformational Study Centre and Mukhanyo Theological College.

The missionary commission also asked Khothatsong to have a table with information and materials telling about the work.

Khothatsong put up posters and showed pictures of the awareness camps, home based care and the foster care homes.

A number of volunteers from Khothatsong, as well as John Mahlangu, could talk to a number of visitors in a relaxed atmosphere. Also important is the contact between the people of the various missionary activities.

The afternoon was closed off with a church service.

This was the first time that such an afternoon was organised and we look forward to the next one. We encourage everyone to come and enjoy a good atmosphere and the pleasure of a nice cup of coffee.

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