Submitted by: Marguerite Whitehead 

Just over five years ago, Marguerite Whitehead’s amazing housekeeper and friend Linda Malangeni (43) from Lwandle in Strand, turned her dreams into reality. 

Linda had always wanted to further her education.  While employed as housekeeper for the Whitehead family, she enrolled at night school to study for her matric certificate.  After achieving her goal, she enrolled for Early Child Development (ECD) courses at a local college.  She had qualified for a learnership, which helped her in her quest. 

From housekeeper to crèche owner  

Her great dream was to qualify in ECD and to open a crèche in her community.  To do part time studies was a challenge in itself.  Nothing deterred Linda.  When the last qualifying courses were only available at Boland College, she travelled to attend classes.

“I just had to qualify.  My love and concern for young children were the driving force.  I just had to make time to study and attend classes,” Linda said.

The hardship was worth the effort this brave woman put in.  After a meeting with her local pastor, something wonderful happened.

What you seek is seeking you

On the church premises, a shipping container stood unused.  When the pastor realised what Linda was planning, the container and the area surrounding it, was made available to her. 

Like the old Sufi poet, Rumi, rightly observed, “What you seek is seeking you.”

Linda shared her good news with Marguerite, and she, in turn, decided to share Linda’s story and windfall on a local Facebook group.  The response was overwhelming. They received toys, books, tables, chairs, and other gifts, enough to fill several trailers. Monetary donations enabled them to buy a huge jungle gym and synthetic lawn for the intended play area.

Soon the opening day arrived, and children from the community enrolled.  The crèche currently has 52 children. “When I see the little ones arriving, my heart bursts with love and gratitude, my dream is real and that is why #ImStaying,” Linda said. 

Marguerite is very proud of her friend.  “She relentlessly pursued her dreams and now she has created a safe environment for the children in her direct community.  Linda leads by example, she inspired my community to get behind her and support her dream.  This is why #ImStaying,” Marguerite says.

Linda is hoping to expand the crèche to accommodate more children.  She invited #ImStaying members from Strand to visit and get involved, as there is always something that needs attention.  Immediate needs are painting and refurbishing the inside of the container. 

Facing challenges

She is very sad and frightened, that as with all schools, that the crèche is closed until 14 April due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  At home, this woman also faces huge challenges, caring for her husband Lutando, recently diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. 

“We must pursue our dreams and face whatever challenges come our way,” is her very positive message. Linda is a shining example to follow in times of trouble. 

Linda, #ImStaying salutes you!

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Edited By: Erna Maré