April Selby

About Us

April Selby has a passion for the African Continent and so far has notched up over 30 visits to the continent. As a travel agent at Helloworld Waurn Ponds, April regularly escorts groups of 20 passengers through South Africa, on her Wonders of South Africa tours.

Here, she recounts her first encounter with Angel and the story of how House of Angels came to be.

It was back in 2002 that I first visited Coffee Bay. My second visit to South Africa and my first experience of the ‘real Africa’.

This is where I experienced the rural life that I had only heard about, the life that I knew nothing about and the venture that touched my life forever. This was stepping back in time… a life that had seemingly been untouched for years yet modern life was slowly encroaching in the good but so often bad ways. White man’s diseases had infiltrated and the curse of the ‘black man’ was also becoming more and more prevalent… AIDS, typhoid HIV, hepatitis and much more were affecting this community more and more.

Each visit that I made to this community I was learning more and more about the disastrous effects these things were having on these close knit, family orientated, and community minded people that were the Xhosa people of Coffee Bay.

On the surface, the people were happy family minded souls, but deep within lay a hidden fear, a deep secret that I was only to learn later on during one of my visits.

Bringing 20 or so people to this area, twice or three times yearly gave me the opportunity to bring a few gifts to brighten the day of the kids and mums of the community. A passenger on one of my tours even suggested that we should perhaps bring soccer balls, as the kids were playing with plastic balls tied with string. This proved to be a great success as with each tour, I would give each passenger a ball to hand out to one of the schools in the area so all kids could enjoy it. It somehow never felt that it was enough.

Then I was to receive a huge request… a staff member of our hotel ‘the Ocean View’ asked for my advice. She was just one of the many members of the staff that I had grown to love and look forward to visiting each time my tour bus pulled into the hotel. Angel was her name and she has turned out to be an ‘Angel’ in nature.

She told me a story that I found disbelieving yet I knew in my heart to be true. There were many children living in the area of Coffee Bay that were without family, food to eat or a warm place to sleep at night. They perhaps did not have a mother or father or both. They had lost one or both of the parents to pneumonia, typhoid or HIV (although this was rarely stated on the death certificates). Many elderly grandparents were in the position of attempting to look after children although they could barely look after themselves. Angel wanted to help these children and give them a roof over their heads and food to eat, but was uncertain how to go about this task. Although she has a family of small children of her own, she was (and is) determined to find a way to help these kids.

Her determination and passion has now meant that she has been granted an area of land by the chief on which to build her orphanage/sanctuary. Her dream is that she is able to build some houses (rondavels) that the kids will be able to sleep in and be warm, without open doors and windows. She will be able to feed them and send them off to school with warm food in their bellies and clothes on their backs. When they return from school, they will be able to help in the vegetable gardens and tend to the goats that will help sustain the orphanage and they in turn will thrive healthy and happy to lead good lives in the community and beyond.

It’s a huge task for Angel, who, while aiming to fulfil this vision, must also bring up her own five children and maintain her basic job in a hotel. But for people like us, with our fortunate lives and the means to give, making a huge difference to Angel and her orphanage is not such a huge commitment to make. With our help, it will be so much easier to give these little ones who have nothing a better chance at life.

With our encouragement, Angel has been granted the land (recently the chief granted Angel another, more appropriate piece of land), and with our help she has acquired fencing materials. Once the fencing is built to secure the land, Angel hopes to buy a goat and some chickens, and once she has been able to secure a water supply to the property, Angel will plant a vegetable garden which, in time, will be cared for by and will feed the children.

Building of the first rondavel to shelter the children has finally begun, but funds will soon be depleted, and that’s where you can help. Angel hopes to build another rondavel to serve as the kitchen, to install a water tank to collect water for the children and for the vegetable garden and the animals. While she is happy to care for the children who need her assistance—and there are many!—the need for funds is critical.

Angel asks for nothing for herself but guidance, and every cent donated goes to House of Angels. But even once House of Angels buildings are established, the need for beds, bedding, kitchen utensils, clothing will continue. Once the vegetable garden is producing and the goat/s and chickens thriving, it will be a fantastic and productive way to improve young lives. Ongoing costs will include medical attention for the children and schooling.

So, I hope that we can find the support we need to make House of Angels a reality and allow Angel to be the person she is destined to be… an angel for the children of Coffee Bay.

Please help us make this happen!

April