Philisa Abafazi Bethu

Philisa Abafazi Bethu is a non-profit organisation. NPO registration number: 104-870-NPO

About Us

Philisa Abafazi Bethu (isiXhosa for “Heal Our Women”) is a gender-based
violence organisation based in Steenberg
(Cape Town, South Africa) and was founded by feminist activist
and community leader Lucinda Evans in 2008.

Our Community

While the community, where Philisa Abafazi Bethu was born, is called Lavender Hill, fields of blossoming flowers are far from view in this struggling community. Like many other communities and townships on the Cape Flats, Lavender Hill was formed as a result of the Group Areas Act of 1950 during the times of apartheid. It has a population of about 100 000 people including five informal settlements that contain high levels of drug abuse, violence, gangs, and crime. There are numerous gang members in more than 137 gangs in the Cape Peninsula. Between 40% and 60% of crime on the Cape Peninsula is gang related and the violence is primarily directed towards the most vulnerable: women, children, elderly, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. There is currently a 60% unemployment rate in Lavender Hill largely due to the legacy of apartheid. More than 25 years after apartheid, communities on the Cape Flats are Lavender Hill is still struggling to keep their head above water in post-apartheid South Africa.

Our Journey

Lucinda Evans’ dream of protecting and empowering abused women and children in her own organisation was realised when she witnessed a crowd gathering around a man beating his wife in the street. People were watching, yet no one was doing anything to stop the violence, so she decided that she would be the one to do something and launched Philisa Abafazi Bethu in 2008.

With no financial support, but her family and close friend Janine in the back, Lucinda started Philisa Abafazi Bethu in her own dining room and garage and opened her first safe house in her backyard. Since 2008, the organisation has been growing rapidly; Lucinda and her team first moved the programmes from her family home to CAFDA (the Cape Flats Development Association) in 2016, before she moved her six containers to the grounds of Lavender Hill High School in 2018. In 2020, amidst the covid-19 pandemic, the organisation eventually opened the Philisa Abafazi Bethu Women and Family Center in Steenberg where all programmes are based now. Just one year after the move, Philisa Abafazi Bethu opened a second safe house for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Mission Statement

Our mission has always focused on healing women with a stress on gender-based violence prevention and child protection. Over the years, Philisa Abafazi Bethu has expanded to include programmes that reach young women, the elderly, children, LGBTQIA+ persons and men. Programmes are developed on the basis of the need felt by people and developments in the communities we serve. 

At Philisa Abafazi Bethu, we actively educate our people and our communities on gender-based violence prevention. We aim to be an organisation that others can rely on for protection and reassurance in the community of Lavender Hill, Steenberg and the surrounding areas. We will stop at nothing to make sure that women, children, elderly, and LGBTQIA+ persons have a place that offers them hope in their often intolerable situations.

Team

Philisa Abafazi Bethu consists of a highly committed team of social workers, after school facilitators, a programme manager, administrators, house mothers, drivers, a cook, a housekeeper, and security guards. Our team is extended by a music teacher, as well as by surfing coaches, and an art therapist.

Zimvo Katsala

Samantha Davids

Esmeralda Greef

Ashwin Scott

Stacy Samuels

Janine Poggenpoel

Gavin Peters

Roelien Pimental

Lucinda Evans

Fransina Echbach

All our work would not be possible without our board members, who have been supporting us for many years now