Zimele Project: Launch

Zimele Project: Launch

This January, there was a buzz of excitement at Philippi Village as 120 new staff members arrived ready to make a difference in their community through the Zimele Project. To date, this will be the largest single project that the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation has ever taken on, and we are now excited to share the details of this project with you.

In partnership with the Western Cape Government and funded by The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation is launching the Zimele Project, a unique multi-dimensional health and social intervention programme for our youth aged 10-24 years. The programme is designed for 20 000+ participants in and out of school and will run for 2 years in the Mitchell’s Plein/Klipfontein health sub-district.

Philippi Village: a new entrepreneurial development that will house the Zimele team.

The Zimele Project aims to provide comprehensive, integrated, adolescent-friendly healthcare services, together with strong educational support and social empowerment. By focusing on adolescents across the second decade of life, various programs will help adolescents come to terms with key life skills and equip young women with the skills to deal with puberty, impending adulthood and the use of education as a tool for success.


Different projects are set up for different age groups, and will include:

  • School-based interventions for 10-14 year olds modeled on the famous Soul Buddyz clubs
  • School and community-based programs for 15-19 year old girls that will build motivation to remain in school and provide important life skills, health services, and educational support.
  • Uplifting monthly empowerment sessions for 19-24 year old women in the process of transitioning to adulthood. Aptly named Women of Worth, this program will aim to ignite these women’s dreams and provide guidance as to how to achieve them.
  • Teen parenting workshops, child protection services, career jamborees and community dialogues will be hosted throughout the program to provide opportunities, reinforce community alliance, and help those most Zimele Project: Launchvulnerable.
  • The provision of convenient and comprehensive adolescent-friendly mobile health services for all

At the induction, Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, who is the Project Director, said ”Zimele is a unique opportunity to see the impact of integrated, adolescent-tailored, structural, clinical and community-based interventions that aim to ensure healthy and vibrant adolescents in Cape Town”.  Riaan Beukes, AcoE: Adolescent Program Manager said that this will be an exciting year, with an exciting team. ”I can’t wait to get started and work with this amazing community.”

Xolani Gambu who is employed as a Social Auxiliary Worker said that he heard about the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation from an NGO that he previously worked for. ‘I am excited about the Zimele Project but also working for the Foundation because of what Desmond Tutu stands for. People look up to him and respect him. I previously worked for a project called Dreams and since this project shares some similarities with the Zimele Project I was interested right away.

Emmanuel Gebashe is a Research Assistant who heard about the Zimele Project from a friend that works at UCT. He previously worked for the Department of Health and with the knowledge he gained he hopes to use this expertise while working on the Zimele Project. He said,”South Africa has one the highest HIV/AIDS infections rates and I want to work for an organisation that not only empowers young women and girls but also works to fight for a lower HIV/AIDS new infection rate.

Mziwamadoda Mampintsha is also employed as a Research Assistant, previously worked for Soul City so he has always known about the Foundation. He said, ”I am very, very excited about the the Zimele Project and this will be a whole new field of work for me, I am very much looking forward to working here”.

Zimele – through working together.

DTHF staff induction in January 2017 to welcome the Zimele team to the organisation.