Johannesburg – A crowdfunding campaign has paid for a new home for the woman who was photographed while being kicked and assaulted during a Black First Land First (BLF) "Hands off Zuma" protest outside Luthuli House.
Fifty-five-year-old Olivia Mokete of Orange Farm, was at the protest on February 5 to petition the council for water and electricity in her region, when she was mistaken for a BLF supporter and assaulted.
A photograph, which went viral on social media, showed her wincing in pain as a man kicked her.
The assault inspired Dianne Bayley, 55, from Bryanston north of Johannesburg, to start a crowdfunding campaign in an effort to restore faith in humanity.
"I saw the video footage on Twitter and was appalled that the huge man could beat a woman – and a very small woman at that – in the street while other men and policemen looked on," Bayley said.
"When I saw the picture of her (Mokete) standing outside her tin shack in Orange Farm, my heart broke. Not only had Olivia experienced a terrible [ordeal] and was in pain, she went home to a shack that doesn't even have a bed in it.
"She had several pieces of corrugated iron cobbled together to form a shelter," she said.
The crowdfunding campaign raised more than R10 000 within days of going live, and Bayley was able to have a wooden Wendy house built for Mokete.
"I decided not to be one of the many who wait for 'someone' to do something. I am 'someone' – and I can make a difference. With the support of BackaBuddy and the Good Things Guy (blog), people donated from all over the world to help Olivia," she said.
"Both Olivia and her husband were amazed and thrilled when we arrived in a convoy of four vehicles. After a few hours, the Wendy house was up and she could move from the 2m x 2m tin shack into a room with a window and a door," she said.
Bayley said it was remarkable to see Mokete's happiness at something so small that most people take for granted.
"I haven't felt this happy in a long time. Thanks to all those who assisted – giving truly is the real gift," she said.
BackaBuddy's Zane Groenewald said the kindness experienced by Mokete showed South Africans' ability to make a positive impact on people's lives.
"We can all make a difference," he said.