South Africa

The Actionists

Dineo Baloyi is a gift to the world and those seeking education

Dineo Baloyi is a gift to the world and those seeking education
Dineo Baloyi (Photo: Thom Pierce)

Whether it’s providing rechargeable lights to matrics needing to study during load shedding or making sure primary school learners are fed and clothed, Dineo Baloyi is proving that it takes only one person to make a change to the lives of many.

They say if you want to get things done, ask a busy person. 

As soon as she got her first job at the age of 21, Dineo Baloyi started to help others, assisting learners in her neighbourhood with admissions and bursary applications. In 2016 she started her own foundation so she could help provide better educational opportunities to more people in her home town of Hammanskraal. 

Seven years later, and Dineo is now working full-time for an infrastructure development firm in Sandton, while also studying and raising a young child. She is still running the Dineo Foundation, which continues to support learners, providing her with a way to make a positive change in the lives of many others. 

“I am a giver; my name means ‘gifts’. So I just wanted to be that gift to the world,” she says.

Although Dineo grew up in a family who were always struggling to make ends meet; what they had, they gave in abundance, namely their unwavering support and love. Even though they did not always have money for food, books or school uniforms, her dad would be at school every two weeks to monitor her progress. When she studied for her further education, he would sit up with her while she worked late into the night. 

It is not a stretch to see where the motivation for the Dineo Foundation comes from; it is clearly inspired by the strength and struggles of her own upbringing. 

The foundation runs a few different programmes, one of which is the monitoring and support of learners at Rapelego Primary School and Sibongile Community Centre. They are assessed on a quarterly basis and supported by the foundation in any way that will help them to thrive at school. Whether that be providing them with school shoes, reading glasses, uniforms, food or extra lessons. 

“I would like to see the foundation providing a support structure and extending its hand to the disadvantaged, because I believe that everybody succeeds through support,” Dineo says.

Currently, she is working on the Light For Life project, raising funds to supply matric students with rechargeable lights so they can study during load shedding. Each light costs R300. If you would like to donate or sponsor a light, email us and we will connect you with Dineo. DM

The Actionists was launched in early 2023 by photographer Thom Pierce. It consists of on-the-ground problem solvers, community activists, climate campaigners and human rights defenders who don’t just talk but take direct action. The people you can go to when you don’t know where to turn; who won’t stop working for the change they want to see in the world. The Actionists is also a growing community of people who care about the future of South Africa. 

Through a series of photographic stories, Pierce profiles a wide range of people around the country who are providing vital services, intuitive solutions and unrelenting activism. And through the website, discussion forum and social media, the aim is to provide tangible ways for people to get involved. The intention is to inspire and inform, to challenge the idea that nothing is being done, to create a network of Actionists and to bring people who need help together with the people who can provide a solution. 

Daily Maverick will be running an Actionist profile every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the next year. Get in touch, nominate Actionists in your circle at or email [email protected]


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Steve Davidson says:

    What a great story. Well done to Dineo and her family for their true understanding of the much-ignored word ‘ubuntu’. It gives a lot of hope in what often seems, like right now, with that useless daughter of a totally useless father – you know, the one currently in Moscow possibly getting a brain transplant to fill the obvious void in his head – attempting to destroy this country in the same way he did, a dystopian nightmare beyond belief.

  • Palesa Tyobeka says:

    Well done to Dineo Baloyi. We need more people like her.

  • neithmoore906 says:

    Good lanterns have gone down in price to R200.

  • shanton says:

    Inspirational Dineo, a good reminder that we can all make a difference in this world and a positive contribution to others well being. What an amazing place the world would be if everyone focused as much on what they could give as on what they could get.

  • Helen Holleman says:

    I wish we had people like this running the government. If we did, what a different place South Africa would be. But she is also a reminder that each one of us can do something – no matter how small it seems – every day. She’s a true gift.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    Another example of what is possible. I only hope that others follow suit.

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