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South Africa

South African hero honoured through the refurbishment of a local school

From left: Ian Macdonald, Nadia Mason, Gavin Alkana

Ian Macdonald wore many hats. He was a dedicated father of three, a committed husband and an active philanthropist who had been involved with non-government organisations for the last 16 years.

Much of his work involved supporting street children and working as the editor of a good news website which shared positive stories about South Africa. As well as this work, Ian worked closely with Partners for Possibility Programme (PfP).

Through PfP, Ian was instrumental in improving the infrastructure and programmes at Hillwood Primary by improving facilities and organising staff development programmes. He introduced new extramural activities like boxing and surfing and helped reading NGO ‘Shine’ set up a programme at the school.

Ian’s friend, Rob Broster said of him, “Ian was committed to having a positive and lasting impression on the students of Hillwood Primary. He loved feeling that he was contributing to society and using his network to help those in unfavourable circumstances.

“The programme was only expected to last a year, but Ian had stayed on for two years and was committed going forward.”

Following the tragic news of Ian’s passing, Rob set up a campaign on BackaBuddy to honour their friendship that spanned over 25 years.

Rob, who referred to his friend as ‘Fella’ says, “Ian didn’t just talk about what must be done. He just did it. When Ian passed, I found myself asking ‘What would Fella do?’ Besides his career, he has always strongly argued for making a difference and for using privilege and network for positive change.”

As a result, friends and family decided a good way to honour Ian’s legacy would be to form ‘Fella’s Army’, an informal task force of friends that includes builders, architects, project managers and interior designers.

The campaign went live on 15 March and aimed to raise R90 000 to refurbish the Grade 1 classrooms at Hillwood Primary. Within 24 hours, the campaign had raised almost R33 000 and in less than a month managed to generate over R130 000.

Any additional funds raised will be used to improve the Grade 2 and 3 classrooms at the school.

Ian’s cousin Suzie says, “There was a sense of introspection amongst many of us when Ian passed. He made the world a better place, and many of us felt that we needed to carry on his work – hence Rob’s hashtag #WhatWouldFellaDo. There was a groundswell of goodwill amongst friends and family, and so the concept of Fella’s Army evolved.”

If you would like to donate to this project in honour of Ian Macdonald, please click this link.

Below is a video of Ian speaking at Hillwood Primary.

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