Every year The Sox Factory donates over 35,000 pairs of socks to communities and organizations in South Africa. In 2022, as part of Mandela Day, we partnered with Groot FM to donate socks to Tebogo Maredi’s initiative and include them in each child’s goody bag. Read more about this amazing story and how he is uplifting his community in Soshanguve.

Tebogo Maredi is a 32-year-old man who left his successful job as operational manager to make a difference in the community of Soshanguve. He started educating children on how to treat animals – with love, respect, and compassion. With initiatives such as the ‘walk-the-dog-challenge’ he taught them that a dog can be so much more – a companion, a life-long friend, and someone they can talk to when circumstances at home get rough. 

As Tebogo started this journey with the children, teaching them to love animals, he realised that by teaching them this love, this could also encourage love between people. By building a relationship with the children, he then realised that these children often go to school on an empty stomach. This is where his other initiative started. 

What started out as a few sandwiches – coated with peanut butter and jam – has exploded in a full-blown feeding scheme, with children walking different routes to their respective school, to also receive something to eat along the way. This, as Tebogo mentions, is also in most cases the only meal they receive during a day. Indeed, children can not concentrate on an empty stomach, and soon the number of children visiting his ‘station’, quickly escalated to more than a hundred.  

This ‘station’ is so much more than a place where they receive a sandwich. It is a place where Tebogo can show them what love really means. How compassion is exercised and how trust is earnt. When he sees a child roaming the area within school hours, he also confronts the parents and child, to determine why the child is not at or yet in school. 

Tebogo has become not only the one who feeds, but the one who holds others accountable, confronts in love and truth, and inspires so many others to like him, be the change. 

His daily expenses are difficult to determine, but includes more than 20 loaves of bread, 1 kg of peanut butter, and 1 kg of jam. This adds up to approximately R500 per day, and will only increase as the need and number of children multiply. 

His biggest wish is to have a facility with a kitchen where the children can eat, not only once a day before school, but after school before they return home to who knows what circumstance awaiting them. A facility where they can not only eat, but learn, and do their homework. A safe space where they can be taught how to love and build relationship. An environment that will remind them of how life is supposed to look like. Tebogo would love it if this facility also has space for stray animals. Where they can love the children, and the children can love them. He dreams more of a facility that is positioned next to a sports field, where the children can really embrace being a child – playing, laughing, living. 

Tebogo’s team has grown, with volunteers making themselves available – as his project grows exponentially. Rifilwe Mogomotsi, Caroline Ncoko and Zakhona Mudau are the three women that have made Tebogo’s hands stronger. 

SPAR heard of Tebogo’s story, and it too, inspired them. Not only did they donate R1 500 SPAR-voucher towards his cause but decided to donate a further R5 000-voucher. When Tebogo and his team heard the news, they were beyond elated, as he shares with us how they wonder daily where tomorrow’s food will come from. 

Dear Tebogo, thank you that you have not only shown the children what love and service and compassion really means, but, that you have shown us, the community of Soshanguve, Pretoria, Gauteng, and soon, the whole world. May we all also be inspired not only to take part in making a difference, but to be the difference. 

Tebogo’s story from https://www.grootfm.co.za/