Sisipho Mayo’s NPO bridges the gap to opportunities

Originally from King William's Town, 24-year-old Sisipho Mayo established the Tozama Foundation to continue her late mother’s work in helping and assisting large numbers of people. The foundation serves as a bridge between people and internships available in South Africa, and Sisipho’s involvement is, in part, to fulfil her mother’s lifetime goal. Her aim, she says, is “to support the less fortunate by giving back to the community through my foundation.”

Sisipho says that, most of the time, people do not know what is out there. In her words, “It is not easy to find internship and employment opportunities. I look for employment for people – matching their skills with opportunities out there. The foundation partners with colleges so that we are able to apply for people to study there. I also help them to apply the to universities of their choice,” she adds, “and I use my own laptop, data and time to do this.”

Sisipho Mayo

Sisipho has a Higher Certificate in Marketing and Communications from Unisa. “I am also a working student, doing an internship at Coega Development Corporation and studying to obtain a BCom Degree in Supply Chain and Operations Management with Unisa.”

Growing up in a rural area near King William’s Town, Sisipho has seen how young people struggle with technology. “Many,” she acknowledges, “are not familiar with computers and therefore do not know how to surf the internet, use search engines and attach documents.”

Her current base is in the far-flung areas of the Eastern Cape where access to opportunities is limited. She has worked many times with institutions in Gqeberha. “I hope to expand the service to the rest of the country in the near future so that I can help people make it in life,” she says.

Over and above her work with the Tozama Foundation, she is also involved in charity work in Gqeberha, donating clothes and sanitary towels to charity organisations. “I speak to homeless people and find that many are educated but because of different reasons in life, they find themselves where they are,” she says.

Sisipho held a “Valentines for All” initiative in February 2021 and went around Gqeberha distributing clothing, sanitary towels, stationery and food to less privileged people, including children in children’s homes. “We chose Valentine's Day because we wanted to make them feel loved and special on that day. The Herald Newspaper also published the story. Community service projects are an important part of the platform, as well as personal development, and nothing speaks louder than personal experiences,” she says.

Sisipho was also behind a youth empowerment event held on 16 June 2021 to motivate the youth. Clothes, sanitary towels and stationery were distributed to the youth who attended that day and, later, two children's homes were visited and clothes distributed.

Sisipho is also a model and motivational speaker. She has entered many beauty competitions and won, despite being a little on the short side and not skinny in the usual model mould. Sisipho finds that this platform helps her to motivate the youth as she is doing this despite not meeting the requirements that modelling normally imposes.

* By Busisiwe Mahlangu, Communications Coordinator, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2022/02/08