The smile on six-year-old Imange Dibi’s face, as she showered her new doll with hugs and kisses, was priceless.
The little girl was one of 7 000 children in Nelson Mandela Bay for whom Christmas came early as they received either a doll, a toy car or a ball from the Motsepe Foundation yesterday.
For many, it was the first Christmas gift they had ever received.
Alfonso Arries Primary School in Chatty was abuzz as pupils raced to a classroom which held a truckload of gifts.
Their excitement was palpable as they jumped up and down, singing, while waiting for their gifts.
Ovayo Fanqa, 3, received his firstever Christmas gift, a moving moment for his grateful mother.
“My child has never received a Christmas present as I am unemployed,” his mom, Noluvuyo, 30, said.
“I buy him a small toy once in a blue moon when I can … this means a lot to us.”
The foundation distributes 1.4 million toys to children all over South Africa every year and works with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in identifying needy schools in the metro.
Motsepe Foundation representative Sandile Langa said the aim was to change the world one child at a time.
“We try to target children who come from poor families, children who otherwise would not get a Christmas present,” Langa said.
“To see those smiles and to see their faces light up is something else.
“We strongly believe that if you invest in your children, you invest in your future – and [this is] a small contribution towards developing these kids into responsible and productive citizens.”
The toy distribution began in Uitenhage while another group of Motsepe Foundation representatives tackled schools in townships areas and the northern areas.
In total, pupils from 13 Bay schools received toys.
The windy and wet weather did not dampen their joy as they ran around the school grounds, showing off their new presents.
Alfonso Arries Primary principal Andile Lucwaba said seeing the excitement of the pupils was humbling.
“The school is the only upgraded structure in this area and there is a high rate of unemployment,” he said.
“The likelihood is that many of them would not have gotten a toy this Christmas. “This is a blessing.” Deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani, who entertained the children with songs, said the municipality was excited to have an agreement with the Patrice Motsepe Foundation.
“We are very grateful that children from poor families also get to be happy this Christmas, especially because some children are orphans,” he said.