Linda Twala Keeps Hope Alive on Christmas

Making music in Alexandra.

Making music in Alexandra.

South African philanthropist Linda Twala turned 70 at the end of 2014 and celebrated by hosting a Christmas party for the senior citizens and orphans of Alexandra township. Atlas Finance helped out with the fete, too, which drew more than 4,000 attendees. For elderly residents who couldn’t make it, volunteers delivered food to their homes.

Alexandra, or “Alex”, has long been a neglected and underserved part of Johannesburg and Twala remains one of its strongest advocates. During Apartheid, he organized anti-state meetings at his Alex-based house despite threat of retaliation. Indeed, his home was once set on fire by Apartheid supporters.

An entrepreneur and provider of funeral services, Twala enjoys sharing his success with less-fortunate members of the community. He now wants to obtain affordable housing for Alex through Habitat for Humanity.

“The government needs to give away RDP houses instead of charging people for them,” he says. “And people who are selling vetkoek on the pavement should be given flats. They can’t supply the banks with credit guarantees but they have viable businesses.”

Like the township’s own Santa Claus, Twala continues bringing whatever gifts he can find to Alex and its people.