Scenic South writer and award-winning journalist, Jo-Anne Smetherham, and Eric Miller, “one of the most widely published and experienced photojournalists working in South Africa”, teamed up to document the lives of a group of selfless, dedicated and dynamic grandmothers coping with the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS on their families and communities. As a result of their collaboration, Jo-anne and Eric are currently in America to launch their book , “THE NEVERGIVEUPS”, along with two of the grannies from Khayalitsha and the Executive Director of Grandmothers Against Poverty and AIDS (GAPA). Their moving, inspiring and life-changing experiences in the USA may be followed on

Joanne Smetherham: Photo:

Joanne Smetherham author of “The NevergIveups”: Photo:

     “THE NEVERGIVEUPS” by Jo-Anne Smetherham and Eric Miller with Jennifer Fish


Two grannies from Khayalitsha, Felicia Mfamana and Thelma Nkone, and the Executive Director of GAPA, Vivienne Budaza, are in America at the moment with journalist Jo-Anne and photographer Eric  Miller to promote the sale of their book “THE NEVERGIVEUPS “. The profits from the sales are to go towards GAPA (Grannies Against Poverty and Aids).



So many grandmothers in South Africa, instead of relaxing and being tended, have to find employment, as well as look after their grandchildren and, often, great-grandchildren. The Khayalitsha grandmothers, finding support and strength from, and hope through, each other, formed the group called GAPA where they draw the energy to sustain themselves and their families in their difficult lives. Their nickname “The Nevergiveups” typifies their spirit.

Felicia Felicia Mfamana, grandmother from Khayalitsha,one of the grannies who inspired the book "The Nevergiveups". Photo:

Felicia Felicia Mfamana, grandmother from Khayalitsha,one of the grannies who inspired the book “The Nevergiveups”. Photo:


The book took three years of interviews, research and editing and a visit to the Transkei, followed by year for the individual approval from the each of the six grandmothers before it was ready for publication. It is an enlightening and moving account of the grandmothers’ courage and resilience, beautifully illustrated by the poignant photographs.

Eric Miller, photographer and co-producer of the book "The Nevergiveups". Photo:

Eric Miller, photographer and co-producer of the book “The Nevergiveups”. Photo:

The production of the book and the subsequent tour has been financed by the energies of two women in America who are involved in similar academic research. They are Professors Jennifer Fish and Bette Dickerson, who had help from their committed students.


The two grandmothers who had been to Cape Town airport, but had never been on a flight, are awestruck by America and the experiences they are having there. Their stories are making an impact on their audiences, judging by the generosity of all who have heard them. Jo-Anne and Eric are also participating in a number of panel-discussions which include representatives from the federal government, the Eastern Virginia Medical School, the military and community AIDS organizations.


“THE NEVERGIVEUPS” is available on or


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