Auntie B plans surprise gifts for Women’s Day

Veteran activist Bertha du Toit, of Scottsdene, shows off her mayoral award.

Surprise, surprise! Popular Scottsdene activist Bertha du Toit, 58, will be showering women with surprise gifts to celebrate them on August 9, Women’s Day.

Ms Du Toit runs a soup kitchen, which, since 2008, has been feeding pupils, the homeless and the elderly. She also hosts Christmas dinners and annual Women’s Day events in Scottsdene.

Her plan for the upcoming Women’s Day had been hamstrung by Covid-19 regulations, she said.

She usually hosts an annual modelling show for women aged 20 to 60 at Gabriel Court parking lot, where residents vote for princesses and a queen.

Ms Du Toit will now be visiting women door to door to present them with gifts.

“I will be surprising them. It won’t be announced. I love surprising women. I do it from time to time, but this time around I will be visiting households to drop off the goods.

“I don’t want to put the seniors at risk, so that’s why we decided against the modelling show this year,” she said in an interview on Wednesday August 4.

“This year, we’re going to be giving them a gift pack and a snack pack. I’ve asked my friends and family members.”

She started raising the money in early June.

Auntie B, as she is affectionately known, aims to give 70 women the gift packs.

Her love for helping others recently saw her win a mayoral award for social support. The awards were hosted virtually on June 29.

“I’m driven because I know what it is like to not have a plate of food for your kids at night,” she told Northern News.

She has often worked with Ward 7 councillor Grant Twigg, who describes her as a very active community member whose focus is the youth in gang-ravaged Gabriel Court.

Ms Du Toit recalled a difficult time before 2008 when she was unemployed and her mother would bring her a plate of food at her home in Scottsville.

“(One time) I came home crying because I was unemployed that time, and I prayed asking the Lord for provision. Then I just decided to start making porridge in the morning with the maize meal of my kids,” she said.

When she started her soup kitchen with a pot of soup and a meal in 2018, it wasn’t enough to feed the many young men and women who lined up outside of her home.

She realised she needed to rope in friends and family, who have since been helping her realise her dream of feeding the community.

With the help of Mr Twigg, she met mayor Dan Plato during the first hard lockdown and he sponsored her with a three-burner gas stove, two big pots and ingredients for porridge and soup

“My love for my community has grown so much in this time, and it warms my heart when I come inside the complex to see how the kids run to me and hug my legs, and some hugging me as though they’re my own.”