Cape Town Initiative ‘Love Wins’ Targets Urgent Need for GBV Intervention

Cape Town Initiative ‘Love Wins’ Targets Urgent Need for GBV Intervention

Pictured above: Neil Matthews, founder of ‘Love Wins’

Neil Matthews, a 46-year-old businessman from Gardens, Cape Town, is pioneering a vital initiative to combat gender-based violence (GBV) in South Africa—where the rates of violence against women and children are among the highest globally.

At his day job at YAXXA, a business solutions company, Matthews is leveraging his professional resources and personal passion to spearhead the “Love Wins” campaign through a crowdfunding effort on BackaBuddy.

Alarming Statistics

South Africa faces a severe crisis in gender-based violence, a fact underscored by statistics provided by Women For Change (WFC).

The femicide rate in South Africa is five times higher than the global average, with one woman murdered every 2.5 hours. In the year 2022/23 alone, the SA reported 4,169 women and 1,192 children murdered. Additionally, there were 43,037 rape cases and 53,888 sexual offences reported to the police, with an estimated more than 95% of sexual offences not reported at all. According to WFC, this ranks South Africa fourth in death rates from interpersonal violence among 183 countries—the highest rate outside of a war zone.

Why ‘Love Wins’?

For Matthews, ‘Love Wins’ is more than just a slogan; it is a principle of action. “It means that before you act, think, and lead with love, because love wins”’ he explains. This belief came into sharp focus when Matthews felt compelled to act against what he describes as ‘a battle between good and evil.’

The turning point was his encounter with staggering statistics about GBV during a meeting with Women For Change (WFC) over five years ago. The overwhelming need for action led him to eventually launch his campaign on BackaBuddy, dedicating his efforts to raising funds and awareness for a pivotal battle against gender-based violence.

Choosing the Right Allies

With his campaign, Matthews has chosen to support Women For Change (WFC) and the School of Hard Knocks due to their impactful work within the community. WFC, known for its vast reach and deep engagement with GBV victims, and the School of Hard Knocks, which addresses trauma through sports in schools, both align with his vision of creating meaningful change.

Pictured above: Passionate coaches from The School of Hard Knocks

The funds raised through ‘Love Wins’ on BackaBuddy will enable WFC to employ additional staff and a counselor to assist victims with various needs—ranging from emotional support to emergency needs like food, clothing, and transportation. Similarly, contributions to the School of Hard Knocks will sustain programs that feed children, pay coaches, and expand their transformative work.

Although the campaign is progressing slowly, having raised over R3000 so far, Matthews remains optimistic. ‘It’s just me and it’s going quite slow, but Rome wasn’t built in a day,’ he remarks, underscoring his commitment to see this through despite the challenges. His hope for the future in combating GBV is focused on making ‘small changes every day,’ adhering to the belief that ‘ONE IS GREATER THAN ZERO.'”

Impact and How to Contribute

Matthews invites everyone to join the movement by spreading awareness and donating to the cause. These funds will directly support the services provided by Women For Change and the School of Hard Knocks, creating small yet significant impacts that can lead to larger societal changes over time.

The ‘Love Wins’ campaign not only highlights the urgent need to address GBV in South Africa but also demonstrates the power of individual commitment in initiating widespread social change. As Matthews continues his work, he serves as a reminder that every effort counts and that, ultimately, love can win against the forces of violence and inequality.

To learn more and support this crucial cause, visit the Love Wins campaign page on BackaBuddy:

Stellenbosch para-triathlete Crowdfunds for Life-Changing Off-Road Wheelchair

Stellenbosch para-triathlete Crowdfunds for Life-Changing Off-Road Wheelchair

Alwyn Uys, a 33-year-old wheelchair athlete from Stellenbosch, is not just a testament to overcoming adversity but also an inspiration to many. Once an avid rugby player for Maties University and the Sharks Academy, Alwyn’s life took a dramatic turn on December 13, 2014. A momentary lapse while driving led to a severe car accident, leaving him paraplegic and having to rely on a wheelchair.

Pictured above: Alwyn spending time with his dog, Dex

Reflecting on the incident, Alwyn shares, “It was a huge change and impact on my life. Everything I used to love to do was now inaccessible to me. I had to change my thinking and how I do life, or I wouldn’t have made it out alive.”

Despite the challenges, Alwyn’s spirit remained unbroken. He redirected his passion for sports into becoming a formidable para-triathlete, engaging in triathlons, Ironman events, and other extreme endurance challenges. His remarkable achievements include being the first paraplegic in the world to successfully swim the Robben Island crossing. He is also the first South African paraplegic to complete a full-distance Ironman, earning him titles as a SA para-triathlete and para-cycling gold medalist.

Pictured above: Alwyn completing his first Full distance Ironman

Alwyn’s pursuit of freedom and adventure led him to discover the life-changing potential of an off-road wheelchair during a visit to the USA. “I first experienced this in the USA where they are more freely available to loan at beaches and parks. And it was a game-changer! The freedom I experienced was incredible. Now I was able to do the things I love again! I could move around freely. Go to the beach, go walk with my dogs, like I gained a piece of my life back,” Alwyn explains.

Pictured above: Alwyn testing an off-road wheelchair (Action track) in America for the first time

Motivated to continue his active lifestyle, Alwyn launched a BackaBuddy crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for his own off-road wheelchair. The total cost for the chair and a trailer for transportation is around R300,000, with manufacturing in Pretoria and about R5,000 needed to courier it to Cape Town. To date, his campaign has successfully raised over R165 000 with the generous support of 82 donors.

Alwyn Uys Ministries, his own registered NPC and PBO, issues 18A certificates for tax purposes, ensuring donors can also benefit from their contributions. When asked about the impact of this support, Alwyn states, “Despite the setbacks and hardships I’ve had to face and endure, life is still good, and God is still good to me! I realized through this all the importance of doing what you love in this life and the value of appreciation of what you have and the small things in life. Like being able to walk on the beach with your dogs.”

Pictured above: Alwyn training for Ironman

The acquisition of the off-road wheelchair represents more than just enhanced mobility for Alwyn; it symbolizes a reclaiming of his independence and a return to the joys of his pre-accident life. “It’s regaining a piece back of the life I used to live and being able to enjoy the things I once used to do freely,” he passionately adds.

Watch Alwyn’s Video here:

The community is encouraged to continue supporting Alwyn’s journey to reclaim his independence and spread his inspirational message.

Support Alwyn’s BackaBuddy campaign page:

10 Kilometers for 10 Years: Souper Troopers’ Walk Highlights a Decade of Helping the Homeless

10 Kilometers for 10 Years: Souper Troopers’ Walk Highlights a Decade of Helping the Homeless

As the homeless advocacy organization Souper Troopers marks its 10th anniversary on June 7, 2024, founder Kerry Hoffman, her dedicated team, and many of the individuals they have supported are preparing for a special 10km walk through the heart of Cape Town. This walk, starting and ending at The Humanity Hub—their operational base in Woodstock—will trace their steps through significant areas of Woodstock and the Cape Town CBD, where Souper Troopers has made a notable impact over the past decade.


Pictured above: Kerry Hoffman – Souper Troopers Founder

This event isn’t just a walk down memory lane; it’s a stride toward sustainability. With over 14,000 individuals living on the streets of Cape Town, the need for such transformative efforts remains high. “This 10km walk celebrates our journey and the transformations we’ve witnessed, but it also serves a critical fundraising purpose,” explains Hoffman. A crowdfunding campaign launched on BackaBuddy to support this anniversary event has already raised nearly R50,000 from 29 donors, pushing toward a target of R200,000.

The funds raised are vital for continuing the comprehensive support services offered at The Humanity Hub, where individuals receive not just the essentials—like food, clothing, and toiletries—but also access to counseling, skills training, medical referrals, and much more. “Every rand donated is a step towards ensuring that more people can receive the help they need to turn their lives around,” says Hoffman.

Odette Oliver, who spent many years on the streets of Cape Town, shares her life-changing experience with Souper Troopers. “Souper Troopers helped me to see my self-worth and supported my journey to sobriety and independence. I am so proud that I can pay my bills and be a responsible mother to my child. What sets Souper Troopers apart is that we treat everyone with love, respect, and understanding, which gives each of us the confidence to tackle any challenges that come our way,” says Odette.

Pictured above:  Odette Oliver

The inspiration for Souper Troopers came from Hoffman’s personal life changes and her desire to redirect her compassion from personal relationships to communal care, starting with simple acts of kindness like distributing soup and sandwiches. “It always seems impossible until it’s done,” a quote from Nelson Mandela, echoes as a mantra for the organization, reminding them of the impact even the smallest gestures can have.

Pictured above: Souper Troopers

As they look back on a decade of service, Souper Troopers not only celebrates their achievements but also calls on the community for continued support. Everyone is encouraged to get involved, whether by participating in the walk and seeking sponsorships or by donating directly to their BackaBuddy campaign. Each donation will be matched by an anonymous benefactor, effectively doubling the potential impact.

To support Souper Troopers’ commemorative walk, visit their campaign page at:




Pictured above: Madswimmer Founder Jean Craven waves the SA flag high  

CAPE TOWN – “The Sky is the Limit” Madswimmer Team triumphantly returned to a camp in Kagkot in the Himalayas on Sunday afternoon, the 12 of May, marking their reconnection with civilization and their first steps on solid ground after a grueling fifteen-day ascent on the icy slopes of Mt. Putha Hiunchuli in the Himalayas. Their mission was to complete the highest-altitude swim ever recorded.

On the morning of May 10th, at an altitude of 6,405 meters, the team achieved their ambitious goal. They surpassed the previous record of 6,370 meters set by Australian Dan Bull in the Andes Mountains in South America, thus shifting the highest swim record to a new continent under challenging conditions- a testament to the indomitable human spirit.

Jean Craven, expedition leader and founder of Madswimmer, noted that the trek to the swim site was the most arduous part of the journey. Following three flights and a nerve-wracking 17-hour Jeep ride along steep cliffs, the team embarked on a 138km uphill trek that lasted 15 days. With the aid of eighteen sherpas and a caravan of 35 donkeys and yaks, they transported over a ton of equipment and supplies essential for their survival. They faced harsh icy conditions, battling wind and snow, and navigated treacherously near crevasses that threatened to collapse beneath them.

Pictured above: Madswimmers Vanes-Marie Du Toit,  Neo Mokuene, Deniz Kayadelen, Chiara Baars (Team Doctor), Thufayl Ali (Cameraman), Sean Disney (Himalaya Tour leader) and Sean Jean Craven, Madswimmer Founder  


Describing the swim, Jean recounted, “The last accessible liquid (swimmable) water was found at 4,900 meters. To achieve a world record, we needed to venture higher and create a suitable swimming environment at 6,405 meters. We carved out a swimming hole in the ice and melted ice in large drums that preserved the liquid water overnight. The swimming hole was covered under a tent canvas to prevent refreezing at night. The next morning, we removed the canvas, filled the ice hole with the liquid water we preserved, and took turns swimming in it for about three minutes each, wearing Speedos only. The water was chillingly cold at 3.7 degrees Celsius, with the outside temperature at minus six.”


Pictured above:  Madswimmer Vanes-Marie Du Toit takes the plunge


The expedition was conducted with a commitment to environmental stewardship. After their historic swim, the water was carefully returned to the mountain, where it refroze.

Dr. Chiara Baars, the team doctor, diligently monitored the members’ vital signs and general health throughout. Oxygen levels were measured in the morning and again at night and it was interesting observing how sleep aided their acclimatisation overnight. Despite most team members lacking experience in high-altitude climbing, none suffered severe shortness of breath or other altitude symptoms. Three members took medication to facilitate acclimatisation, which was discontinued as they began their descent. Post-swim, everyone was warmed in heated tents, dressed in warm clothes covered with hot water bottles, ensuring their bodies recovered well from the extreme cold.

The team emphasised that their expedition aimed to witness and document the impacts of climate change. They encountered alarming signs, like running water appearing nearly 5,000 meters above sea level. The solid ice is crucial for binding the soil in these frigid zones. The melting of it threatens devastating land and mudslides that could obliterate communities. With global awareness campaigns initiated by Nepalese tourism and the vivid documentation by Madswimmer, the team hopes to spark meaningful discussions and highlight the urgent need to address climate change.


Pictured above: Madswimmer Neo Mokuene takes an icy dip.



Crowdfunding on BackaBuddy

‘The Sky is the Limit’ Madswimmer Team has launched a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy to support two children’s charities with their dedicated swim: the Universitas Academic Hospital Oncology Unit for Teens and Adolescents and the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.

  • Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Cape Town

The Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town provides critical paediatric care to children from across South Africa. Support for this hospital ensures the continuation and expansion of their life-saving work, offering a brighter future for children in need.

  • Adolescent Oncology Unit, Universitas Academic Annex Hospital, Bloemfontein

The Adolescent Oncology Unit at Universitas Academic Annex Hospital in Bloemfontein focuses on providing specialised care for teenagers battling cancer. Donations help fund renovations, create a lounge and entertainment area, and ensure that teenagers receive the best possible care during their fight.

So far, the BackaBuddy campaign has raised R24,200 of their R2,000,000 goal with the support of 17 donors.

Donations can be made via BackaBuddy:





  • Jean Craven, Madswimmer Founder  
  • Vanes-Marie Du Toit
  • Neo Mokuene
  • Deniz Kayadelen
  • Thufayl Ali (Cameraman)
  • Chiara Baars (Team Doctor)
  • Sean Disney (Himalaya Tour leader)
A Special Birthday Wish: Jaco and SPCA Rally for Toby, An Abused Dog’s Comeback

A Special Birthday Wish: Jaco and SPCA Rally for Toby, An Abused Dog’s Comeback

Every year, Chief Inspector Jaco Pieterse of The Cape of Good Hope SPCA commemorates his birthday in a profoundly meaningful way. Instead of seeking gifts, he dedicates his special day to the voiceless and vulnerable. This year, he has chosen to champion the cause of Toby, a dog whose heart-wrenching plight and indomitable spirit epitomize the essence of survival and hope.


Image: Jaco and Toby. (Cape of Good Hope SPCA)

A Harrowing Rescue from Despair

It was a distressing weekend when Inspector Jeffrey Mfini rushed to save Toby following urgent reports of neglect. Tragically, Toby was found emaciated and barely alive, punished by his owners—who starved him for allegedly harming a cat—confined in a narrow, dark alley beside their house. This cruel treatment has since led to legal action against the owners, spearheaded by the SPCA.


Image above: Survival dog Toby

Toby’s Fight for Life

Upon rescue, Toby’s condition was critical, scoring just 1 out of 5 on the health scale and suffering from severe anemia due to starvation. The SPCA’s dedicated team wasted no time in administering emergency care, including a lifesaving blood transfusion needed to replenish his depleted red cells and restore vitality to his weak body. With each passing day under meticulous care, Toby shows small yet hopeful signs of recovery; his first joyful bath marked a poignant milestone, washing away some of the pains of his past.


Image: Toby is making a comeback


A Birthday Wish to Save Lives

This year, as Jaco Pieterse celebrates another year of life, he is fervently rallying support for Toby through a BackaBuddy campaign launched in honor of his birthday on May 18. Inspired by last year’s success, raising over R45,000 and catalyzing numerous rescue operations, Pieterse is determined to exceed that achievement. Just three days into the campaign, the generosity of over 100 donors has brought hope closer to reality, amassing nearly R40,000 towards the goal.


Image: Washing away the pains of the past

Toby’s Remarkable Recovery

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA shares an encouraging update: “Is it our imagination or is there a little more pride in the tilt of his head? He has a little more swagger and a little less stumble in his step that’s for sure. It’s amazing what love can do, and there’s no shortage of it for Toby! Not from our Chief Inspector Jaco Pieterse, our hospital team, or YOU! Thank you for supporting Toby’s fight to live so generously.”


Join Us in Making a Profound Impact

“Please consider making a donation to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA in honor of my birthday on May 18. Your generosity will support not only Toby’s recovery but will also ensure that the SPCA can continue their critical work. Let’s make this birthday one that brings hope and new beginnings to many. Thank you for helping us continue our mission,” says Jaco.


To contribute to Toby’s journey to a new life, please visit the BackaBuddy campaign:


Source: Cape of Good Hope