Change the world


Linda van Oudheusden  is a finalist in The Herald Citizens of the Year Awards in partnership with Nelson Mandela University.

For more than 15 years, Linda van Oudheusden has been at the forefront of raising muchneeded funds for those less fortunate through her work as head of marketing for the Missionvale Care Centre, turning it into more than just a run-ofthe-mill community centre.

The frontline administrator, organiser and executor is The Herald Nelson Mandela University Citizens of the Year 2022 community category winner.

For Van Oudheusden, receiving the recognition was extra-special as the late founder of the care centre, Sister Ethel

Normoyle, was the inaugural recipient of the award in 1989.

“Besides being the first recipient, she loved attending the awards evening every year because it would showcase some of the amazing work being done in the city,” she said.

On receiving news of the award, she said it was an emotional experience because she knew how proud Normoyle would have been.

“It would be impossible to measure the full impact this one little lady had on us — and on thousands of people around the world.

“She taught us countless life lessons that we draw from every day. It is our collective goal not only to continue her work, but to do so with the same unconditional love for the community she will always be remembered for.

“There are so many reasons to keep going. There is still so much to be done.”

Thriving on the difference she could help make through the work of the centre, Van Oudheusden said the centre was alive with activity and positive energy.

“On the way to the centre, you will pass people carrying enormous bags of recycling to bring to the “swap shop” where they can trade the recycling for groceries and various household goods.

“The swap shop doubles up as a clothing warehouse where gently worn items are stored and given to families in need.

“In the morning, you see the children skipping happily to their classrooms while patients begin to queue at the medical centre or at the nutrition unit, their beautiful singing voices filling the air.

“In the sewing unit, there is always music going while the ladies create the most amazing shopping bags, beaded items, tracksuits and more,” she said.

Other work and opportunities offered at the centre included vegetable gardens which “always have that wholesome earthy smell”.

“There are few things as rewarding as seeing wheelbarrows filled to the brim with fresh produce. Everywhere you go you hear something wonderful — kids playing sport, the drumming from the march and drill team, a celebration at a chess tournament won, or little ones practising for the school concert.”

Van Oudheusden said she and her colleagues at the centre were fiercely passionate about creating ways of achieving real community upliftment where the impact was tangible, meaningful and sustainable.

“It is so easy to complain, but how much more exciting is it to be part of finding solutions”

The top 10 category winners will be celebrated at a formal black-tie gala awards ceremony, which will be held at the Radisson Blu Hotel on Friday September 9 at 6.30pm.

Corporate and single tickets are available for supporters who would like to be part of the celebratory event.

Contact The Herald marketing manager Berna Ulay-Walters to book your seat:

This article appeared in The Herald (South Africa) on 22 August 2022 written by Devon Koen


Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777