When KZN was reeling from the shock of riots in July 2021, Tatum Ridgway, a 28 year old Grade R Teacher at St Henry Marist College, like so many of us, tried to find positivity in the mayhem and madness that ensued.
But each time she logged onto Social Media, she was met only by a barrage of negativity.. Of people caught up in a downward spiral of anxiety and depression.
Determined not to fall foul of this, she started a Facebook Group, “Rebuild KZN”, which she hoped would be a beacon of light in a time of darkness and bring hope to so many of us in a time of desperation and despair.
Within days, 28,000 people had joined the group, eager to share their stories of positivity and read stories shared by others.
People used the group to reach out for help, while others used it to offer help.
When KZN was devastated by flooding in April 2022, after seeing a post on the Group about the rescuers at Virginia Airport and how desperately the needed help, Tatum realized she could use the Rebuild KZN Platform to call for donations and support.
She was overwhelmed by the positive response from people wanting to assist!
Tatum makes it very clear that she was not the one who started the work at Virginia.
“The team is headed up by Lauren Izaaks, and supported by volunteers like myself.
We call ourselves One Love. We work closely with Brenda’s Angels, a team of three sisters, Tammy, Lindy-Leigh and Kirsty, who take care of the K9 needs.
We all have our roles to play, and these have changed and evolved as time has gone by”
Tatum is ecstatic about the support from both Corporates and Individuals who have selflessly given cash or specified items to support the rescuers and the rescue effort.
“We have even received donations from abroad” says Tatum.
“And we have given comfort to relatives living abroad by demonstrating positivity, showing the world how we, as a community, can overcome adversity.
We share on the group all information about exactly what funds donated are used for and where the items donated are used. There is complete transparency.
The vibe at Virginia, in spite of the circumstances, had been incredible. The rescuers are so positive and so grateful for all the assistance the community has given.
Requests for supplies have barely been posted and people start arriving at Virginia or companies offer assistance.
We made a request for gumboots and Neptun Boots didn’t hesitate to donate 67 pairs!
Even the school children played a role, making thank you cards for all the rescuers.”
And Rebuild KZN ZA continues it’s meteoric growth and now has over 31,000 members!
That they would come forward and say ‘We CAN overcome. We WILL overcome!” Because in spite of our hardships and in spite of our differences, we are a country who understands the value of community, and who lives the spirit of uBuntu.
or email her on email@example.com