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Khayelitsha animal clinic celebrates 25 years of helping animals

Twenty-five years ago, a Khayelitsha community member saw that his neighbours did not know how to care for their pets. He took a shopping trolley and went door-to-door, feeding dogs and cats and educating people on their pets’ needs. Mr Joe Manchu soon attracted volunteers including many community children. A bath was donated which was used for dipping pets with fleas and ticks. Thereafter a shipping container was donated which became the first ever animal clinic in Khayelitsha.

Today, 25 years later, Mdzananda Animal Clinic is celebrating a quarter century of helping, healing and rescuing pets in Khayelitsha. The clinic now treats over 1000 animals per month through their hospital facility, homeless shelter, mobile clinics and outreach programmes. Throughout this time, they have also put the pets’ human companions at the forefront, educating, earning trust and working with them to become the best pet guardians they can be.

Lazola Sotyingwa was one of the children who helped Mr Joe with his animal saving efforts. Now, one of the Clinic’s Animal Welfare Assistants, he couldn’t be prouder. “At the beginning we had no running water or electricity. We carried buckets of water and ran extension cables from the neighbours. Today we are big and we help so many animals. It’s thanks to Mr Joe that the pets of Khayelitsha have help today.”

The organisation’s vision is to create a community which loves animals. They believe that an animal-loving community is a healthy community. By loving an animal one learns qualities such as respect, trust, non-violence, responsibility, and companionship. These are often not taught in townships due to the enormous economic and living condition difficulties which take priority. By providing veterinary care, education and by forming partnerships inside and outside of the community, the organization is well on the way towards its vision.

Dr Brian Bergman, the Clinic’s Senior Veterinarian, says that, over 25 years he has noticed a significant shift in the mindset of the people.

“Where previously pets were simply objects protecting the home, many of them are now companions sleeping in peoples’ beds. Our welfare services and educational programmes have really transformed many pet lovers in the community,” says Dr Brian Bergman.

In celebration of their 175th dog year birthday (25 human years), the organization will be hosting a celebration on the 13th of November from 11 am to 4 pm at the Clinic. Members of the community are invited to join and the first 200 pets will receive a free rabies vaccination and blanket. At the event Mr Joe, who is now elderly, will speak about his hard work and vision for the future and the Isibane seAfrica choir will provide music. Members of the public are also welcome to join on the day and visit the clinic for a tour.

The clinic has also launched a special birthday edition 2022 calendar featuring 12 artworks, crafted by local artists to illustrate the heart and soul of Mdzananda. Calendars can be purchased at outlets listed on or by emailing

“Our work has only been possible thanks to generous donors, support ers, monthly Paw Members and partners. Without this support we could never have reached this enormous milestone,” says Marcelle du Plessis, Fundraising and Communications Manager.

If you wish to support the organization into its next 25 years, please make a donation to Mdzananda Animal Clinic, Standard Bank, Savings Account, 075595710, become a Paw Member (monthly donor) at or contact


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