Gender Based Violence Feature

How the Yokhuselo Haven became a beacon of hope

On October 18 1986 a Famsa Port Elizabeth social worker, May Daniels, arranged a seminar which was held in a church hall in the city’s northern areas.

The theme was “Women Abuse”.

A movie was hired that depicted violence against women. Filmed in the US, it was the story of three couples who were experiencing domestic violence and how they, especially the women, dealt with their situations differently.

There were already numerous havens in the US. The first couple who could engage with a counsellor and explore their challenges were able to restore their relationship and deal with their issues without resorting to violence.

The second woman was unable to proactively deal with the challenges, returned to her abusing partner and the pattern continued.

The third woman was able to rehabilitate herself, restore her self-esteem with the help of a haven.

A resolution was passed at that seminar for Famsa to start working on establishing a non-racial haven for abused women and children in the Port Elizabeth area.

May Daniels left Famsa shortly after this and the then director, Lorna Brown-Morton, continued with the project.

A committee was formed with representatives from numerous NGOs in the city who met regularly over a number of years.

The objective of these meetings was to discuss the need for a haven, the viability of establishing a haven, and to pursue ways and means of acquiring one.

One of the first tasks was to do a research project to establish the extent of the problem.

It became blatantly clear that there was a high rate of violence and abuse in families who needed help.

The discussions then turned to involving the com- munity as well as monitoring press reports and court cases involving violence and abuse.

In 1988, a public meeting was organised by Famsa and held in the Walmer Moth Hall.

The Rev George Irvine opened the well-attended meeting where several people were elected to serve on the first board of what became known as Yokhuselo Haven. Yokhuselo is an Eastern Cape, isiX- hosa word meaning “safe place”

Daryl Burman and his late wife Olga served as office bearers on this first board and worked tirelessly to get a building from which to operate.

They together with a few other stalwarts gave generously of their time and energy to find suitable staff, equip and run the haven, which have served as a home for many women and children.

Burman has served many terms as chair and still serves on the board today.

Yokhuselo Haven Board Members: (from back, left) Miranda Paulsen, Joanne Anthony-Gooden, Colleen Ngwekazi, Amelia Johnson, front Antonette Hamman, Daryl Burman, Moya Rossouw Image: Supplied
Yokhuselo Haven Board Members: (from back, left) Miranda Paulsen, Joanne Anthony-Gooden, Colleen Ngwekazi, Amelia Johnson, front Antonette Hamman, Daryl Burman, Moya Rossouw Image: Supplied

At the end of 1995, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Port Elizabeth very generously gave the use of a building in Prospect Hill which was run as the “Mother of Hope” centre.

This centre became the public face of the organisation.

In January 2014, the Prospect Hill Crisis Centre re- located to the existing premises in Walmer, under the name of Yokhuselo Haven.

As well as assisting women and their children, the organisation endeavours to educate other organisations on domestic violence, and how to assist victims and their families.

In 2015, a range of training and empowerment courses was established, to assist clients as well as women in the community with topics ranging from catering, bookkeeping, basic computer skills, sewing to interview skills and entrepreneurial skills.

The 30th anniversary was celebrated in 2018 of what remains the only dedicated shelter for gender- based violence in Port Elizabeth.

The average monthly cost to run the haven is R35,000.


  • Electricity, water and tele-communication
  • Monthly salary for one staff member
  • Cleaning equipment and consumable
  • Petrol and vehicle maintenance and licencing
  • Office consumables
  • Food and toiletries for clients (adults and children)
  • Baby necessities
  • Occasional transport costs for a client who may have support in another town or city
  • Adhoc maintenance and haven upkeep costs
  • Clothing for both adults and children where none has been donated
  • Training equipment — laptops, printers, software, licences and online training    programs
  • Fencing around perimeter

There are several ways the public can help, including:

  • Be a Yokhuselo Haven ambassador — know what we are about, connect us with your contacts, be our voice in your community;
  • Donate items or funds for specific areas that they are needed in;
  • As an individual or organisation become a monthly sponsor;
  • Become a volunteer – offer your time, knowledge, skills or talent;
  • Assist with fundraising initiatives;
  • Donate an amount once a year (your birthday month) to support a family; and
  • As a registered NPO organisation we are able to issue a Section 18A certificate for tax purposes.


Tel: 041-581 4310/ Cell: 076-312-7730/ Fax to email: 086-415-3844. Address: 1 Duncan Ave, South End

 This article is part of a sponsored feature.

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