Tich Smith is a visionary who is resurrecting the spirit of Ubuntu in KwaZulu-Natal. Born in 1951 and educated at St Stithian’s College and King Edward VII High School, Smith was a talented sportsman who played Schools rugby and cricket for Natal and South Africa. His sporting career came to an end in 1984 when he announced his retirement from cricket.
Smith’s crusade to see a thousand villages built for vulnerable children was sparked by a vision he had in 1997. It took more than 13 years before this dream became a reality. In the interim, however, he and his wife Joan, became benefactors in the region with a feeding scheme and education programme in Amaoti, the largest informal settlement in KZN.
Lungisisa Indlela (“the right way”), is a Section 21 company established to facilitate this work. It has paid for the feeding of 2 000 children, 30 crèches and paid for the schooling of 600 orphans. In January 2009, Tich Smith passed this initiative on to the local staff in Amaoti, as he began the work of building his village for orphans and vulnerable children. Over the past nine months he has set up Lungisisa Indlela Village (LIV), on the outskirts of Verulam.
“My vision is to have a thousand villages to take care of every orphan and vulnerable child in South Africa. We believe these thousand villages can change the world. If we are known as a province and as a country that looks after vulnerable children, the heartbeat of the nation will change. The perception of South Africa in the eyes of the global community will also be altered.”
LIV endorses the philosophy to keep existing expertise in businesses in order to mentor young apprentices from the village. LIV partners with government, business and the church in providing holistic residential care on a large scale for thousands of children.