Author Archives: vanzylmarcelle

Changing township lives by helping township pets

As Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha celebrates 20 years of serving animals and their community this year, we plan to roll out our largest campaign yet – providing medical treatment to 12 000 animals. Animal abuse and neglect is part of everyday life in townships across South Africa. But imagine a change – a community where animals are seen as companions by every community member. The Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha is creating this change and we are asking the public to be a part of it.

In just two months we wish to raise the cost of one year’s supply of medical drugs and consumables costs ($40 000 / R600 000) to treat approximately 12 000 animals during our next financial year (July 2016 – June 2017). Our very first Crowdfunding campaign has gone live on Generosity by Indiegogo. In just a few days the campaign raised R25 000 as people are rushing to the online site to support what we want to achieve.

A township such as Khayelitsha suffers from high rates of violence, poverty, disease and social distress. Children are born into a cycle of poverty and insecurity believing that rape, hunger, violence and cruelty are norms. Animals are victims of this environment as much as humans are and the health of the two is undoubtedly linked. “At Mdzananda we believe that a community that loves animals is a healthy community. By looking after an animal people learn responsibility, respect for life, compassion and non-violence. These are valuable attributes which flow over into everyday life,” says Marcelle du Plessis, Fundraising and Communications Manger.


The Khayelitsha township is home to an estimate of 500 000 people and their 170 000 pets. The majority of dogs and cats are unvaccinated, which means infectious diseases are extremely prevalent. Pets are unsterilized and this leads to a constant increase in animals. There is a great lack of knowledge about animal husbandry, leading to nutritional and parasitic diseases. The lack of established properties and stray dog population results in many animals roaming the township and becoming victims of motor vehicle accidents. These are only a few examples of the challenges animals face in a township environment.

Mdzananda 1

However, this does not mean that they are not loved.

“There is often the opinion that people in townships should not own pets. We have a different opinion. Anyone who visits Mdzananda has the pleasure of meeting owners who adore their animals. Lack of education and funds are what generally results in neglect, illnesses and injuries. We work on educating the community while providing low cost veterinary services,” says du Plessis.

Mdzananda 2

“We are excited to launch this campaign in celebration of our 20 year milestone. We have helped thousands of animals through the years and we want to make our 21st year the most impactful one yet. But we need the public to help make this possible by supporting our online crowdfunding campaign.”

The Mdzananda Animal Clinic serves up to 1000 animals per month through consultations, hospitalization and surgery for sick and injured animals, primarily dogs and cats. Other services that we provide include performing continuous sterilizations, rehoming unwanted or abandoned pets and assisting with cases of neglect or abuse.

With 31% of the households in Khayelitsha falling below the poverty line of $121 / R1845 per household per month, it is impossible for most people to afford private or even standard veterinary welfare organization fees. There is also little to no transport for community members to access help for their pets outside the Khayelitsha area. The Mdzananda Animal Clinic offers low cost veterinary services, generally not even covering our cost price, in the heart of the Khayelitsha township.

Mdzananda 3

Apart from our permanent clinic, our Mobile Clinics reach areas of the community that are beyond walking distance from the clinic. Mobile Clinics help to make services for pets easily accessible. An ambulance service that collects and delivers animals is also available.

Mdzananda 4

The Mdzananda Animal Clinic has a strong focus on community empowerment and education. We believe that only through education can we make a lasting impact in the lives of animals and their human companions.

“Our vision is to transform the community into one where every animal is treated with companionship and care and in so doing creating a healthier community for animals and humans alike.”

Support the campaign to change 12 000 township pets’ lives by visiting


The Mdzananda Animal Clinic is supported by individual donors since 1996, the International Fund of Animal Welfare since 2003 and Investec since 2015.


An innocent life depends on human kindness

by Mdzananda Animal Clinic
An innocent life depends on human kindness
It is often of the opinion that people in townships should not own pets. We at the Mdzananda Animal Clinic have a different opinion.
It was a day like any other when an elderly man arrived at the Mdzananda Animal Clinic’s front gate carrying a dirty crate in his arms. It looked like he was carrying a crate filled with books or newspapers but what was inside was a thousand times more valuable – a little life.
The man gently put down the crate and out peered two large brown eyes, sad and confused, but tail wagging slightly. A fluffy Collie cross puppy was looking up at us.
The man from Site C in Khayelitsha who wishes to remain anonymous, had come to hand the little puppy over. His son, a drug addict, had brought the puppy home the previous night. The man did not believe that his son could take care of a puppy due to his drug addiction. He asked Mdzananda for help and to find her a good home.
“My heart always warms up when members of the community reach out to help pets, be it their own pets, a neighbour’s pet or a stray,” says Marcelle du Plessis, Fundraising and Communications Manger. I would like to thank this kind man for caring for this little puppy and for protecting her from a life of harm.”
Covered in car oil – an old wives tale remedy to get rid of fleas – the little puppy was lifted out of the crate and was named “Petal”. Petal underwent some check-ups which revealed that, apart from some fleas, she was a healthy ten week old pup. After receiving a much needed bath, she was fed warm food and was given a cosy place to sleep. After a few days rest, Petal was placed in our “run” where she played all day with our other stray dogs each of which is waiting to be adopted into a forever home.
“I am delighted to announce that Petal was adopted by a loving family. From a little pup covered in car oil to a happy family member with many human and furry friends. This would not have been possible if the kind community member did not look after her and bring her to Mdzananda for help,” says Marcelle du Plessis.
“There is a big misconception that everyone in townships abuse and neglect animals. If you visit the Mdzananda Animal Clinic you will have the pleasure of meeting owners who adore their animals. Lack of education and funds are what generally result in neglect, illnesses and injuries, but it does not mean that they are not loved. Education and lack of funds is a reality that is being addressed by Mdzananda every day as we work on educating the community while providing low cost veterinary services.”

Paws on the Promenade

by Mdzananda Animal Clinic


The Mdzananda Animal Clinic Khayelitsha is hosting “Paws on the Promenade”, our very first Dog Walk fundraiser on the Sea Point promenade. Come join in the fun and get some exercise all while supporting the Mdzananda Animal Clinic Khayelitsha who enhances the well-being of animals and their community through providing veterinary services and education. Bring your friends and your dog’s friends too. Humans without dogs are also welcome. Face painting for kids and great raffle prizes to enjoy on the day.

Date: 21 February 2016
Time: 9am
Place: Mouille Point Lighthouse
Route: 5km to Sea Point Swimming Pool and back (2.5km half way turnaround option and 1km turnaround option for old / injured pets)
Price: R25 per person; R25 per dog
Pre-registration: At Vondi’s Holistic Pet Food, 59 Regent Road, Sea Point (get free biscuits) or via email to
On day registration: 8am – 8:45am
Dress code: Wear something orange or dress like your pet
Bring along: Water, sunscreen, caps
Free dog bandanas for first arrivals
Dogs need to be on leads at all times

Event link on facebook:

Paws on the Promenade

Thank you for making it all possible this 2015

By Mdzananda Animal Clinic

The dogs, cats and staff from the Mdzananda Animal Clinic wish to thank all our friends and supporters for all the help in 2015. YOU made it all possible… Our staff wish to bless you with a Christmas hymn. Watch them sing it to you and see how many pets from Khayelitsha we served this year…

Thank You

Watch us sing on this link:

12 Kittens for the 12 days of Christmas

by Mdzananda Animal Clinic

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

A kitten, a kitten and more little kittens…


Dear Animal Friends

In the spirit of the festive season I would like to share with you a heart-warming story of unconditional giving and love. Young Mommy Cat was brought to the Mdzananda Animal Clinic early September 2015. Her owner brought her with great concern – something was wrong with her cat as she had progressively become larger and larger. Mommy Cat was admitted to the cat ward where her growing tummy gave birth to five little kittens.

Mommy Cat, who was a baby herself and only 6 months old, adored her five kittens. Every day they snuggled up to her, clawed at her belly as they drank and she licked them clean with great love. But Mommy Cat had more love to give… Two ginger kittens, each only two weeks old, were brought to Mdzananda a week later. Their mother had disappeared and their human owner did not know how to feed them. Mommy Cat came to the rescue and adopted both these little kittens as her own.

As time went by Mommy Cat’s 7 kittens grew older and people came to adopt them. As each one left with their new families, Mommy Cat waved them goodbye. Then her last little kitten was taken to her new home and Mommy Cat was left alone.

mom and babies

A few days passed and then one morning a boy came to Mdzananda carrying a cooking pot. Inside the cooking pot were 5 little kittens. Their mom had passed away and he needed help. Mommy Cat heard the sound of kittens squealing and quickly opened up her heart to them. She adopted all five little kittens as her own once again.

These little kittens stayed with Mommy Cat in her cat ward and are now ready for their forever homes. Our biggest wish was that dear loving young Mommy would find a forever home where she could be loved by a human family and shown the unconditional love that she showed to 12 little kittens. We are overjoyed that a loving family adopted Mommy Cat and one of her surrogate kittens. Thank you for all the love you showed 12 kittens Mommy Cat. We wish you a wonderful, happy life!

The maternal instinct that young Mommy Cat feels for any kitten is the way we feel about each little pet that comes through the front doors of the Mdzananda Animal Clinic. We pride ourselves in not just providing routine treatment but treating each pet for its individual needs, providing the best love, care and medical practices we can. Our vets and animal welfare assistants work tirelessly to help each little animal.

The Mdzananda Animal Clinic is a veterinary council registered, NPO animal clinic in Khayelitsha, a township which is home to over 400 000 people (census 2011). We serve their animals at a very low cost. Many people may think that people from townships should not have pets – we have a different opinion. We see hundreds of community members bringing their beloved pets to receive help. Some walk many kilometres to bring their pets to Mdzananda. Some find creative ways to transport their hurt pets as they do not have access to transport. We see pets arriving in wheel burrows, prams, shopping carts and even carried on wooden planks on strong shoulders. At Mdzananda we can treat up to 1000 pets per month. We also educate the owners about better ways of looking after their pets and becoming responsible pet owners.

Christmas and end of year is a difficult time at the Mdzananda Animal Clinic. Most of the community members go to the Eastern Cape to visit their family leaving their animals behind with friends. Very regularly these friends do not know how to look after animals. Their homes are not always equipped for animals – they get out of the yard, end up in dog fights or get hit by vehicles. We receive many animals that have fallen sick due to insufficient nutrition or non pet friendly living conditions. Many community members also hand over their pets to Mdzananda during this time. We need to cover all their costs.

The festive season is a time of joy and we aim to ensure that all animals in Khayelitsha stay healthy and happy. The work of Mdzananda is supported by donations and gifts. Through this letter I would like to ask you to consider making a gift to the Mdzananda Animal Clinic over this festive season. Any gift, big or small, is greatly appreciated and will change the lives of animals in need. Mommy Cat sends out a big PURRR, hoping that you hear her asking too.

With sincere gratitude (and wags!)

Felipe Perdomo – Director (and Mommy Cat)


Mdzananda Animal Clinic, Standard Bank, Account number: 075595710, Branch: Rondebosch, Branch Code: 025009, Reference: MommyCat + Your Name

Sms “donate dog” to 40580 at R20.

Imagine being dumped like this!

By Mdzananda Animal Clinic

Imagine being dumped like this

Six little lives in a bucket…

Six little lives dumped…

Imagine the fear…

Just moments ago they were safe in their home, now they are piled on top of each other in a tiny space, left out in the cold.

Puppies in Bucket copy

Dear Animal Friends

It was a cold morning in September when two kind hearted community ­­­members from Khayelitsha were walking to work. They noticed a bucket on the side of the road but thought nothing of it. Only when they reached it and heard squealing sounds did they realise what they had found – a bucket filled with 6 small puppies, each approximately four weeks old, dumped!

They scooped up the bucket and rushed the pups to the Mdzananda Animal Clinic. Thank you kind hearted men for caring for these little souls. At Mdzananda they were met with gentle caring arms, good food and warm blankets. Remarkably they were in good condition and all received their first dewormer and vaccination. You are safe now little ones.

Stories like these are all too common in a township like Khayelitsha where there is a vast amount of free roaming pets, many of which have not yet been sterilized. Puppies are bred to sell for income. Many unexpected litters are born. When the mouths become too many to feed they are left to fend for themselves.

At Mdzananda we are grateful that many community members are responsible pet owners and hand their pups over to us when they can no longer look after them. We are grateful for the vast amount of community members who care for animals bringing strays and dumped pets to Mdzananda for help. The animals of Khayelitsha thank you!

When pets are handed over they need tender loving care, good food, vaccinations, dewormers and most of them require medical care and need to be admitted to our hospital or theatre. The costs add up.

This spring we ask you to open your hearts to the ones who cannot look after themselves. Your donation will help us care for the many unwanted pets left at our door.

We would be so grateful if you could make a donation, big or small, before kitten season sets in. Kittens are in abundance towards the end of September until the end of the year. Last year our cat ward was filled to the brim with unwanted kittens during this period.  This is the time when the number of kittens vastly exceed the number of homes available. They will stay with us until we can find homes for them. Our banking details are Mdzananda Animal Clinic, Standard Bank, 075595710, Code 025009, Reference: Pups+YourName

Thank you for taking the time to consider my request.

With sincere gratitude (and wags!)

Marcelle du Plessis – Fundraising & Communications Manager

Just three weeks old, left in the cold…

by Mdzananda Animal Clinic


Just a moment ago I was with my mommy cuddling warmly. All of a sudden I am cold. My body is shaking. Why am I in the mist, in the wind, in the rain? Where is my mommy? And then the gentle hands picked me up…

Dear Animal Friends

If you’ve started to feel the icy chill in the Cape Town air, be sure to know that the animals in Khayelitsha are feeling it too – especially little Cocophonix. Cocophonix was just three weeks old when he was left outside the Mdzananda Animal Clinic front gate on a cold, misty, rainy morning. It was 8 am when the first staff member arrived and spotted a blue t-shirt on the pavement. It looked like just another cloth that had been blown by the wind.

Lalaphi, our maintenance manager, started cleaning outside around 8:30am. Imagine the shock when he picked up the shirt and a puppy rolled out. Cocophonix was so extremely small when we found him. This tiny little puppy was shaking from head to tail from the cold and crawled into Lalaphi’s arms, squealing with gratitude. Yes Cocophonix, you were close to death, but we got you just in time. The little squealing pup was rushed to our hospital where he was given warm puppy milk, hand fed through a syringe. He gobbled it up as if he had not eaten for days. We wrapped him up in a blanket, put him in a little bed and he fell fast asleep. You are safe now little one…

We are so grateful that Cocophonix’s owners left him at Mdzananda. Many community members are not able to or do not know how to look after little puppies. There are numerous reasons as to why they might not have been able to care for him. But Cocophonix was lucky! Many little puppies and kittens end up on the street in the cold and rain with no one to care for them.

Winter is not an easy time at the Mdzananda Animal Clinic. Mdzananda treats up to 1000 sick animals per month through consultations, hospitalization, surgery and mobile clinics. When they arrive at Mdzananda they are sick, hurt and afraid. Now they are cold too. The clinic runs from 6 recycled shipping containers and as you can imagine, these get very cold in winter. Last winter a few pets did not make it through surgery due to hyperthermia. We need your help to keep the animals warm this winter. We need your help to assist the pets that are out in the cold without homes, shelter or blankets.

Could you help us by making a donation, big or small, towards food, blankets, kennels and medicines for sick animals this winter? Could you help by making a donation towards facility upgrades to keep our clinic and animals warm? The animals of Khayelitsha are BOW WOWing for your helping paws. Please consider donating some goods or making a financial donation towards helping them. Below are some goodies we need to get through winter.

• Funds or donations for Isoboard to insulate the walls of our operating theatre (65 m2) R22 500
• Bubble wrap to insulate the windows of our theatre and hospital R299
• Mould paint for our x-ray room which gathers mould in winter (9 m2) R1020
• 14 x Rubber sheets (4mm x 0.6m x 1m) to line 14 cold, uncomfortable hospital cages R200 per
• Polar Fleece Blankets R45 each
• Kyron Snuggle Safe heat pads (Stays hot for 10 hours) R350 each
• ELEKTRA Electric Hot Water Bottle (needs electricity) R80 each
• Hot Water Bottles R70 each
• E-heater Panels R500 each
• Dog kennels R400 each
• Pallets to build kennels
• Branded warm tops to keep 21 of our staff members warm R250 each
• Branded beanies to keep 21 of our staff members warm R55 each
• Industrial boots (safety boots) for 15 staff member’s feet to stay dry and warm R400 each
• Collars & leads for 12 to 25kg dogs to give away. Too many pets are being knocked over by cars due to not being walked on leads. R40 each
• Cat litter for our cat ward that can house 20 – 40 cats R50 per bag
• Cat / Dog tin food R10 per tin
• Cat pellets 2 kg R80
• Dog pellets 10 kg R150
• Hills A/D tinned food for recovery patients R 15 per tin

Cocophonix would like to thank everyone in advance for their assistance. The Mdzananda Animal Clinic would not be in existence, helping all the animals of Khayelitsha, if it was not for our wonderful donors and supporters.

Cocophonix is currently in foster care, is healthy, happy and strong. He was named after Cocophonix from Astrix and Obelix as he loves making singing, squealing sounds to express his joy on a daily basis. He is looking for a forever home to become a part of.

With sincere gratitude (and wags!)

Felipe Perdomo, Director

Bank Details:
Mdzananda Animal Clinic, Standard Bank, Account number: 075595710, Branch: Rondebosch, Branch Code: 025009, Reference: Winter+Your Name