Phambili, South Africa: Meet some of the good people who keep this country going

South Africa:  a beautiful country filled with bold, brave, and glass-half-full people who push ahead.

As the biggest digital news publisher in Mzansi, we know the news cycle can often feel like a groot gemors.

There's no shortage of crises, political scandals, investigative bombshells, and cringe-worthy corporate blunders in the country - but it's not all mgowo and state capture skollies.

We've put together a Good News project, highlighting some of the heart-warming stories of hope in our country.

You'll meet the tenacious teachers, artists, entrepreneurs, security guards, aunties and uncles who are transforming tears into triumph and taking the country forward.  

So if you're looking for a little hope, have a read through some of the beautiful News24 stories focusing on the best of South Africa!

Your support affords us the time and resources to go out and find the best in South Africa.

Good news story of the week

WATCH | News24 and partners give back to KZN school hit by floods

There was much jubilation and fanfare at the Thandolwesizwe Secondary School in Ntuzuma on Friday after News24 and its sponsor partners donated a number of schooling essentials to pupils at the Durban school.

The donations, led by News24 and its partners, saw every pupil at the school receive a custom school bag, a pencil case with stationery and food sponsorships for the school's feeding scheme programme.

Speaking during an assembly to hand over the goods delivered by Gift of the Givers, News24 Managing Editor Mpho Raborife explained they chose to help the school after the devastating reports the publication had written on the flooding in April 2022.

"We discovered, through the help of Gift of the Givers, that there was a need to for pupils to have the basics. We then started to canvass and see who can help us."

News24 initially started at home, by calling on staff to donate backpacks and stationery sets that were discounted by Waltons, said Raborife.

The good news keeps coming

These grannies from the Gogo Shonisane Mamelodi football club prove age is nothing but a number

The Gogo Shonisane Mamelodi football club is made up of sports-mad older people who love playing the beautiful game and want to stay fit no matter the weather.

Group of Heideveld children get first sailing experience thanks to Little Optimist Sailing Academy

The academy, a flagship programme of The Little Optimist Trust, provides sailing therapy to children from disadvantaged communities across the country.

North West teen puts best foot forward with own shoe brand

Three years ago, North West teenager Utlwanang Mmeti started his sneaker business in his parent's garage in Luka, Rustenburg.

Mom gets new lease of life after Groote Schuur Hospital performs first incompatible kidney transplant

The saying by Vietnamese Proverb, brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet, got a new meaning for Chervon Meyer when her brother Joshua donated his kidney despite not having one blood type. 

PICS | 'I'm a winning gogo': Khayelitsha woman's chicken earns her Western Cape Champion Tavern Chef title

Sixty-four-year-old Grace Telena from Tshawe's Tavern in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, has been crowned Western Cape Champion Tavern Chef.

'I don’t even know about my leg when I’m in the pool': Courageous young amputee finds freedom in water

A young cancer survivor and leg amputee from Scottsdene in Kraaifontein dreams of being a Paralympic swimmer just like Natalie du Toit.

Kind cobbler helps schoolkids put their best foot forward at school

Bongani Denice Maphanga is proof that you don’t have to walk a mile in a person’s shoes to empathise with them.

This Gauteng teen was born with one arm but that hasn't stopped him from being an ace cyclist

Teen para-cyclist Sibonakaliso Mbatha was born with one arm, but hasn't let his disability slow him down one bit.

‘Don’t be ashamed of your hustle!’ Meet the pantsula who makes and sells his own jam

Gontse Selaocoe from Orange Farm is a 23-year-old budding entrepreneur who makes his own jam, All Day Jam. He also grows and sells vegetables.

JMPD officer helps woman give birth on side of the road on first day in higher-ranking post

On her first day in a higher-ranking position at the Johannesburg Metro Police Department, Sergeant Connie Nkuna had to go above and beyond the call of duty by delivering a baby on the side of the road.

'Don't overthink it, the important thing is to just start' – Sneaker businessman Lethabo Mokoena

Nothing was off limits for Lethabo Mokoena on his way to making his sneaker cleaning business a success, not even the sale of some of his favourite items.

This balloon artist is blowing up with his life-size inflatable sculptures

Mark Verge – aka Jungle Jack – has serious powers of puff, enabling him to blow up hundreds of balloons to create towering artworks of air-filled amaze-ballness.

This Pretoria ENT specialist is still practicing at age 96 and has no plans to retire any time soon

He could have retired years ago, but somehow Dr John Callaghan never got around to it – he was too busy and his patients needed him. Besides, he loves his work so much he can’t imagine doing anything else. 

Umhlanga tween is only 11 years old but is already a veteran environmental activist

Romario Valentine (11) isn’t yet in his teens but he’s fast becoming a veteran protector of flora and fauna.

She bought 3 Soweto stands with a few shacks. This is how investor Nomakhosi Makolota developed them

Driving past the townhouses in the suburbs, a spark was lit in her and by her final year in high school, Nomakhosi Makolota knew she wanted to pursue a career in the property industry.

When Mike Sharman's mom had her last chemo session he sent her bare-bum waiters to celebrate

After everything his mom had endured battling cancer, Mike Sharman from Joburg was determined to do something to make her smile.

Young sisters donate their long, shiny locks to help cancer patients

Eva Hanekom (8) – a Grade 3 pupil at Fish Hoek Primary School, decided to not only chop off her long locks but also donate them to the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa).

These South African entrepreneurs are turning tyre trash into shoe polish and business is booming

The trio of young men gazed at the mountain of discarded tyres – an eyesore and an environmental hazard to most people, but to them it was an opportunity to flex their entrepreneurial muscle.

After learning to surf in just 3 months, Khayelitsha youth is riding the wave of conquering the sea

Growing up in Khayelitsha, Khanyisa Mngqibisa never thought she would be an internationally qualified lifeguard and surfing coach. But, the moment she stepped on a surfboard at 21, she fell in love.

‘Don’t give up, even when you fail’: Young mom from Lavender Hill finally obtaining matric

It was a bittersweet moment for Nirvana Carelse (22) when she received her matric results and discovered she passed.

PICS | Cape Town library uses PlayStation, Xbox games to get children off the streets

A library in Delft, Cape Town is on a mission to get young people off the streets and away from a life of crime by implementing a games section that incorporates rewards for reading and learning.

Wheel good: this Pretoria animal lover has changed the lives of disabled animals 

This Pretoria animal lover started Vesper on Wheels – an NGO which gives disabled animals a better quality of life.

WATCH | Hair-banna! Enterprising Cape Town woman conjures up haircare products at home

Leshme de Bruyn from Leonsdale in Cape Town turned a bad hair day into a growing haircare business.

PICS | Cape Town library uses PlayStation, Xbox games to get children off the streets

A library in Delft, Cape Town is on a mission to get young people off the streets and away from a life of crime by implementing a games section that incorporates rewards for reading and learning.

Raising the barre: On pointe Cape Flats dancer lands New York scholarship

A hobby has flourished into a potential dance career for Faahkir Bestman, 19, who has swapped Hanover Park for New York after being offered a scholarship at the Joffrey Ballet School.

Blind Mpumalanga schoolboy gets sight restored with high-tech glasses

His sight was so poor that he was declared legally blind, but now with the help of some special glasses Conrad Otto can read, write and watch movies again.

Meet the Cape Town woman who's changing lives by bringing low-cost internet access to some of South Africa's poorest areas 

Lorna Mlonzi realised the internet opens doors, so she started her own company to bring reliable and affordable fibre to the townships.

Cut above the rest: Dignity of school boys in Kensington restored with free haircuts

Cheslyn Steenberg, who is also a community activist, has started a hair cutting campaign to sponsor boys, who can’t afford to go to the barber, with a free haircut.

WATCH | Cape Town school reclaims field once filled with trash, drug activity

Pupils returning to Webnerstraat Primary School in Cravenby, Cape Town will be greeted by a vegetable garden and clean sports field, which was once littered with rubbish.

Chord in the act: 9-year-old pianist signs collab deal after wowing shoppers in Cape Town mall

Rebecca Seziba is a classical music lover, much to her dad Emmanuel's delight. She is completely self-taught and has never set foot inside a music class.

Nine-year-old helps feed stray dogs in Ocean View

Witnessing hungry and neglected dogs roaming the streets of Ocean View inspired nine-year-old Dane Klein to not only forgo birthday gifts but to also raise funds to feed stray dogs in the community.

WATCH | Soccer injury behind SA twins' concept for ‘Digital X-ray Glasses'

Twin sisters Matlhogonolo and Masego Mphahlele came up with an idea for "Digital X-ray Glasses" back in 2019.

Granny breaks barriers as she realises student dream at 61

After completing Matric at the age of 50, Gail Conrad will make history again when she starts her studies as an Auxiliary Social Worker at the University of the Western Cape (UWC).

Meet the Stellenbosch teacher who creates a song and dance in his classroom to help his students to learn

Thanks to his special teaching technique, Florance Vermeulen from Kylemore in Stellenbosch has made quite a name for himself.

‘It was all love’: Cape Town foundation gifts more than 300 kids with Santa shoe boxes

It was a mouth-watering and teary-eyed experience for more than 300 Lavender Hill kids who were gifted Santa shoe boxes by the Michelle Davids Foundation.

WATCH | Meet the Cape Town family who paint hundreds of faces for Tweede Nuwe Jaar

Ardiel Adams and his two sons, Zubair and Eesaa, are integral in getting the "Kaapse Klopse" ready for the Tweede Nuwe Jaar parade in Cape Town. The family have been adding pizzazz to members' faces for over a decade.

Citizen Canine: Deaf pitbull the first dog to use sign language to pass gold standard

As calls mount to have pitbull dogs banned due to several fatal attacks on children across the country, Xena a deaf pitbull in Fish Hoek is making waves for all the right reasons.

Anele praises father on school-building project: 'My dad built the school, I am just adding curtains'

Television and radio presenter Anele Mdoda has gotten involved in her father Patilizwe's school-building project in their village, Ncembu, in Tsolo, Eastern Cape.

PICS | 'Load shedding won't stop the cheer': Cape Town couple lights up to help animals in need

It's been four years since a Brackenfell couple decided to decorate their entire home with dazzling Christmas lights just to spread some holiday cheer as the year winds down.

'Works of community' – How one local art project is changing lives in rural Eastern Cape

Nozeti Makhubalo was forced to poach abalone under the cover of darkness to feed her kids. Today, she is a master embroiderer and artist with the skills to earn a decent living.

28 GBV survivors are learning to farm in North West village thanks to POWA

Through the programme, partner organisation, Food & Trees for Africa is teaching GBV survivors to use permaculture methods to plant organic food.

Durban student wants to inspire other women after bagging global tech award

Since her appointment as Women in Tech South Africa Youth ambassador, Nitasha Pillay’s aim has been to champion the role of women in technology.

This Cape Town barista has been crowned one of the best coffee-makers in the business: 'It was my proudest moment'

SA’s Phuti Mmotla has shown his hand on the world’s stage and it’s safe to say the coffee pros like his work a latte!

Why these Mpumalanga quadruplets with protruding teeth are looking forward to smiling with confidence

17-year-old quadruplets Thembeka, Thandeka, Thembisile and Thandazo Masango from Emalahleni in Mpumalanga are well on their way to having a whole new lease on life.

'Wow, what big ears you have': meet the Garden Route women who run with wolves

Robin McDonald, Francette Jerling and Amritha Djohoun have made it their mission to care for wolves that have been bred as exotic pets and then discarded when their true wild nature became evident.

This German student mastered isiXhosa in a year and encourages others to do the same: 'It's a respect thing'

German student Noah Baier spent a year mastering the art of speaking and writing isiXhosa at the University of Cape Town. Now, he's become an internet sensation for posting videos of himself speaking to people in isiXhosa on the city streets.

Matric girl walks 16km every day to get to and from school: 'I do this for my family, especially my grandmother'

Come rain or shine, Zinhle Jiane walks 16km to school every day because she desperately wants to be the first in her family to obtain matric.

SA Idols cop might have won a million but he's not about to quit his day job

Thapelo Molomo, the singing cop who stole hearts during season 18 of Idols SA, is now R1 million richer and a whole lot more famous – but he has no intention of quitting his day job.

A 26-year-old South African is teaching the Dutch about African coffee

Swahili-speaking South African Stean Fasol has introduced beans from Rwanda and Kenya to one of the world’s oldest coffee cultures.

The maths magician: meet Antonette Jordaan, the teacher making shapes and numbers fun and practical

There’s no such thing as “I can’t do maths, Miss,” or “It’s too difficult, Miss”. In Antonette Jordaan’s classroom, there’s a permanent ban on those phrases.

Lockdown nearly broke this exotic-pet-food exporter. Now it is in 270 Checkers stores.

Maneli Pets, founded by Nhalnhla Dlamini, is a South African business that makes pet food and treats and now supplies to 270 Checkers stores nationwide.

'A glimpse of God in a fearless, free fall': Paarl woman breaks bungee world record

In what may seem a crazy feat to many, Linda Potgieter now holds the Guinness World Record for accomplishing 23 bungee jumps in one hour, something she describes as “a glimpse of God in a fearless, free fall”.

From losing her job to turning a profit: Khayelitsha mom used lockdown to make an upturn

Many South Africans were hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic with some losing their jobs and subsequent lockdown regulations which banished them into their houses. Lungiswa Bonda was no different.

WATCH | Cat's nine lives intact after Cape Town firefighter rescues it from telephone pole

A Cape Town cat nearly lost one of its nine lives when it got stuck up a telephone pole, but Epping Fire and Rescue service saved the day.

'I know what it feels like to not have money': Father of three tells how he wrote book

Frank Bantsijang (52) from Kraaifontein works in a supermarket in Tyger Valley during the day, but at night follows his passion as a writer and illustrator.

She started baking at night during lockdown. Now this vegan baker supplies 40 Checkers stores.

When Heidi Dempers' full-time job in the tourism industry could no longer sustain her during the Covid-19 lockdown, she turned to baking to make ends meet. Now she supplies vegan treats to more than 40 Checkers stores in Gauteng.

PICS | Keeping it wheel: Gugulethu goes gaga for go-karts

Two large wheelchair wheels and two dustbin wheels. Wooden planks, bearings, rods and nails. These are the materials children have used in Gugulethu to build go-karts to race through the township streets.

Gauteng baby girl who was the weight of a small bag of sugar at birth finally goes home after seven months in hospital

Little Marné Muller is seven months old now and weighs 3,7kg, the size of a healthy newborn. But when you consider she weighed just 630g at birth, her growth is nothing short of remarkable.

WATCH | MPs help clean up Cape Town canal to raise awareness of single-use plastic

To raise awareness of the impact single-use plastic has on oceans and waterways, members of the Portfolio Committee on Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment on Monday carried out a clean-up in Cape Town.

PICS | South African para surfers hope to make waves at World Champs

Fourteen para surfers from across the country hope to make waves at the World Championships in Pismo, California, in December.

Meet the Eastern Cape man who overcame abject poverty to become a neurosurgeon

Neurosurgeon Dr Zwelithini Mpungana says his impoverished start in life didn’t hold him back.

PROFILE | How Andile Hote went from teller to Sasfin’s head of commercial banking

Andile Hote started his career as a bank teller at FNB in Gqeberha. Today, he is head of commercial banking at Sasfin.

He sold ice cream to pay for his school uniform – now this Rhodes University lecturer is about to start his doctorate

As a teenager he started selling ice lollies to holidaymakers – he wanted to make enough money to buy school clothes. Thoughts of tertiary education and degrees were so far removed from Sisipho Hamlomo’s mind that he didn’t even consider them a possibility.

Meet the Joburg man who feeds 400 mouths daily and offers afterschool classes too

Percy Malepe (27) from Diepsloot in Johannesburg is the founder and chairperson of Ikemeleng Foundation – an NPO that feeds 400 people a day, offers free sports and afterschool classes to learners and a food garden.

How a local graduate of Obama's young African leaders initiative is inspiring underprivileged pupils

A product of former US president Barack Obama's Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is using skills acquired in the programme to train underprivileged Eastern Cape high school pupils to become leaders of tomorrow.

'The thrill of racing is what I like most about sailing' – Young SA sailor ready to take on Cape2Rio

When 22-year-old Azile Arosi took up sailing, she knew nothing of the sport, only that she loved water – despite not being a confident swimmer.

Powering it forward: Backup device gifted to teacher whose business was shut down by load shedding

A Free State woman, who threw in the towel after she lost 80% of her international student clients in her online teaching business due to load shedding, has been given a lifeline by a Good Samaritan who sponsored her with a backup power device.

Meet the Soshanguve animal lover who's changing children’s attitudes toward dogs

Tebogo Maredi is hard at work encouraging the next generation of animal lovers. Every Friday at 4 pm, children gather outside his house with their dogs. Then they go for a walk, and they're taught how to take better care of their furry friends. The pets are also treated to a wash. 

Doctors told her parents she'd never walk but this Paarl woman has just walked 100km to help other disabled people like her

Against all the odds, Brittany (25) not only learnt to walk, she's walked 100km to raise funds for the Paarl School for kids with disabilities in Brackenfell, Cape Town, so it can buy wheelchairs and other necessities for its pupils.

eSports, blockchain, coding – how this Johannesburg school is revolutionising the way kids learn

Don’t dare say the word “classroom” at this school – it could get you into big trouble. The correct term is “learning hub” and it’s where you’ll usually find learners lounging on beanbags with their laptops as they learn to code or are taught about cryptocurrency.

One stitch at a time: Homeless woman who escaped abusive marriage finds courage making 'worry dolls'

For years Odette Oliver struggled with drug addiction, the tortures of an abusive marriage, and a short stint living on the streets of Cape Town, before she found refuge making African "worry dolls" for Souper Troopers, a non-profit organisation assisting the homeless.

Heroes who look - and speak - like us: Two women are bringing African folktales to young readers

The women noted a shortage of literature in their mother tongue so they decided to balance the scales by starting their store six years ago and becoming instrumental in helping children to learn in their mother tongue as it enhances cognitive development and learning abilities.

WATCH | 'Have that relationship with your child' – Soweto businessman who carries his son while working

Mncube has been baking and selling biscuits since 2020 and carries his 10-month-old son to sell biscuits on the roadside, or when he delivers orders to clients, a sight unfamiliar to many.

How a KZN nurse is providing a life-changing gift of shoes for girls at rural schools

Zinhle Ndlovu, who works at the Netcare Kingsway Hospital in Amanzimtoti, used her savings to start the Sinomusa Sonke Foundation in 2018.

How a Soweto woman's prosthetics company is giving hope to amputees

A 32-year-old Soweto woman continues to forge her way in the biotechnology and healthcare industry - and has become a beacon of hope for amputees in South Africa.

OPINION | Jonathan Ancer: Cutting-edge heritage

Jonathan Ancer describes the journey of a giant pair of scissors that made their way from Poland to South Africa. He writes that it is a piece of history that links him to a Polish village, whose name he can't pronounce, but also it connects him to his grandfather.

Dancer to designer: Verushka Pather blends her Indian and African heritage to create stunning garments

Verushka Pather is on a mission to take the best of South Africa and share it with the world, and she's doing it all through fashion.

The Banyana effect: History-makers inspire next-gen in promising teen Saaniyah Domingo

Banyana's Women's Africa Cup of Nations win has inspired the next generation of women footballers, such as Espanyol Academy product Saaniyah Domingo.

Woman says her street hawker mom is the reason for her success - 'I was never ashamed'

Bomikazi Chinhamo spent her childhood watching her mother, who was a street hawker, selling chickens, vegetables, and eggs on the side of the road. She says it is exciting to see South Africans and Africans embrace their heritage through art as it is a weapon to rewrite a distorted history.

Braai, friends and pickled kumquats - Kriya Gangiah shares her take on Heritage Day

For TV and radio personality Kriya Gangiah, honouring her Indian heritage is so important, which is why she takes every chance to celebrate it.

 Service on a bike: How Eldorado Park man took the plunge to bring much-needed services to his community

Armed with inspiration from another business and a community with few delivery services, an Eldorado Park resident has taken the plunge and launched his own delivery service.

WATCH | Sisters pass on secret ingredients to preserve culture through cooking

Shenaaz and Sydda Essop grew up in the Karoo, where their mother taught them how to cook Indian food. Now, the sisters are passing on the secret ingredients to preserving culture through cooking to their children and grandchildren.

The garden box that's generating R5k per month for poor households

Reel Gardening has started providing gardening boxes to vulnerable households for subsistence and to generate an income of R5 000 from just one box of seeds.

'Proud Motswana' makes heritage part of his tourist offering

As a proud Motswana, his culture and heritage form an important part of Percy Koji's tour operator and travel agency business, Travel With Confidence (TWC), which was established in 2005.

A seat at the table: Conscious Carnivores creators on city's first curated halaal market

Makers Landing will host the city's first-ever "curated halaal market," as Conscious Carnivores' Mohamed Mohidien calls it, on 24 and 25 September.

A worm farm rewards Diepsloot communities with food and clothes for their food waste

"Wastepreneur" Nondumiso Sibiya and her business partner have a "worm farm" that's turning food scraps into organic compost and they are bartering for waste with clothes and food.

'Absolutely surreal': 29-year-old Durban author books her place among publishing giants

Keli Hariparsad left a career in medicine to start her Durban-based publishing company, Krest Publishers, which is nominated alongside publishing giants for the Book Behind Best Publishing Company Award.

Durban boy, 11, couldn't find a 'child-friendly' book on conservation. So he wrote his own

Romario Valentine, who has previously worked with the United Nations to further his environmental awareness cause says his passion to protect the planet continues to burn strong.

Exclusive Mercedes-Maybach S 680 sold for millions on auction to raise funds for Gift of the Givers

Mercedes South Africa has reportedly donated R6 950 000 to the Gift of the Givers Foundation following the auction of a Mercedes-Maybach S 680 4MATIC "Edition 100". 

Joburg woman ranked world no.1 in aerial sports after spinal injury

Six years after falling and breaking her back during training, Kaitlin Rawson has not only made a remarkable recovery but is now ranked world number one in pole and aerial sports.

WATCH | How 5FM's Dan Corder learned to drive in 2 months – 'I'd been through 3 learners' licences'

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post sits down with 5FM breakfast host Dan Corder to find out about his journey and what it was like learning to drive from scratch and getting his licence in just two months.

'I'm blessed' - Dad of 24, Ace Ncobo, urges men to embrace fatherhood

While the idea of parenthood might make some people nervous, former FIFA referee and television personality Ace Ncobo is proud to be the father of 24 children - and he has no plans to stop expanding his family any time soon.

 Home baker helps make SA's favourite treats vegan

In the land of braaivleis and biltong, veganism is not exactly synonymous with being South African, least of all on Heritage Day, when meat seems to be the order of the day. 

SA sailing team to make history at iconic Cape2Rio yacht race

Six young South Africans will be making history at the upcoming Cape2Rio race as the first complete crew from marginalised communities to take part in the iconic event.

How a Hartbeespoort rugby club tackled Covid head-on... and achieved a rapid rise

Wolverines, a community rugby club in Skeerpoort near Hartbeespoort, made the brave decision to form slap-bang in the Covid pandemic and have been rewarded with a meteoric rise.

How Ford's V6 engines for next Ranger are built in Gqeberha, and why the SA factory is so unique

There's a new thrum of activity inside Ford's Struandale Plant as the first V6 engine, which will go into the locally-built flagship next-generation Ranger, leaves the assembly line to much fanfare and applause.

Take care of yourself, please.

Sometimes the world can seem pretty dark, and we know that the news might seem overwhelming at times. Our Wellness team has curated some top tips to help you lift your mood and go about your day in a happier, kinder way.