Rosie Companie lives in a township on the edge of Mossel Bay, in the Western Cape. Twenty years ago, she was an active member of the community and a strong supporter of Nelson Mandela’s ANC and the movement for national independence. Unfortunately for Rosie, when national independence did finally come, she then lost her own as a result of crippling arthritis that eventually meant using a wheelchair and being confined to her house. However, during this time, she signed up to be trained by the Dreamcatcher Foundation to become a Kamamma – cooking traditional South African food for tourists and opening her house as a Homestay, Bed & Breakfast.
However, as the years went by, Rosie’s health sadly deteriorated as the bilateral hip operation that she urgently required, but was unable to get, meant that she was in constant and increasing pain, and her dream of achieving a sustainable income to buy food and necessities was dashed. Until 2013, when due to the extraordinary efforts of three women over a period of eight years – one, a white South African and founder of the Dreamcatcher Foundation, Anthea Rossouw from Stilbaai, the other an Englishwoman, Carole Spiers from London and a third Sonja a Dutch woman from The Hague, the final funds for Rosie’s operation were found for an urgent operation that should enable Rosie to walk once again after more than a decade.
The hospital procedure was scheduled to take place before the end of 2013. Dreamcatcher carefully facilitated the process with a lot of support from Carole, for Rosie until she was handed into the care of the medical staff. Rosie was operated on the 8th of November. Hopefully, it will mean a re-birth for Rosie enabling her to once again become an active and valuable member of her community, helping others as she did previously, over twenty years ago. Once Rosie is ready to leave the hospital, Dreamcatcher will find help to assist Rosie until she is on her feet once again.
However, hidden within this story are the tenacity, faith, commitment and focus of four people: two South Africans, one Briton and one Dutch woman, all of whom never gave up on achieving what looked to be impossible – but wasn’t.
The funding success was due to the efforts of Sonja, who, with the Zandok Hoeve Fonds, was instrumental in completing the necessary financing, (via the Dreamcatcher secretariat in The Netherlands) and based on the known motivation, belief and compassion of Anthea and Carole, who have been so determined that Rosie should walk again in an autonomous South Africa for which she herself worked for so many years during the harsh, unremitting years of apartheid when no one could have imagined the joy of freedom.
In many ways, Rosie Companie is a metaphor for that freedom and an exemplar for hope and human dignity. Likewise Dreamcatcher is making Nelson Mandela’s dream for a “better life for his people”, work.
Written by Michael Halpern, United Kingdom
Update 7th January, 2014
Just two months after her first of two operations, Kamamma Rosie is getting back on her feet, has mobility in her right hip which she lost years before and is ready to take on the next operation so she can become a full time Kamamma again! Rosie has expressed her heartfelt thanks to everyone who made this dream come true. A great thank you to the Zandok Hoewe Fonds and Dreamcatcher the Netherlands, Medical staff and Ministry of Health (Western Cape), Carole Spiers and all carers working with us to make this happen.
Anthea and Team, Dreamcatcher South Africa.
Update 5th January, 2015
Twelve months later we are thrilled to report that Kamamma Rosie back on her feet, has cast aside the wheelchair and passing her days immobile: Rosie can walk again. Though still slowly and in need of physiotherapy to fast track her complete recovery! In the attached vilm, Rosie shares her story and her heartfelt thanks to everyone who made this dream come true. Rosie will be joining the team of Kamammas at the Dreamcatcher Home Office in March for their annual general meeeting and their further updated skills and mentoring transfer! A great thank you to the Zandok Hoewe Fonds and Dreamcatcher the Netherlands, Medical staff and Ministry of Health (Western Cape), Carole Spiers and all carers working with us to make this happen.
Anthea and Team, Dreamcatcher South Africa