Our history

Loaves and Fishes was founded by Charles and Mary Mercer in 1997 and falls under the auspices of 12 mainline churches; the Liesbeek Christian Action Group. On average, we have housed 35-40 people per night since our inception.

We can witness to heart-warming stories of people who got to grips with their alcohol and drug problems, who made up with their estranged families and marriage partners, who found new work and meaning to life and who took up their rightful places in society.

What we offer

Our clients virtually all suffer from loss of identity, self-confidence and self-esteem. We provide accommodation and a supportive space for them to plan and begin their renewal journey, average 6 - 9 months.

The renewal programme includes identifying and addressing the root causes of problems, treating common issues like drug and alcohol addiction, coaching in life skills and job skills, doing therapeutic workshops and referring clients for specialist support where necessary. It also seeks to restore broken family relationships, as a major step in bringing wholeness to the client.

Clients are encouraged to attend a church of their choice. To the wider homeless community, we serve a hot meal 5 nights of the week (Monday to Friday).

Who we partner with

  • Local churches
  • Business and industry
  • NGOs and welfare organisations working in the same field
  • The Department of Social Development
  • Provincial and Municipal health services
  • Volunteers and Donors
  • We are always looking for organisations and people to partner with, so feel free to contact us!

Our premises

Our building is bordered by the Malta Bridge, a few factories and four semi-detached houses. It can house 50 clients, but due to limited resources, we currently accommodate about 40. The premises has:

  • 2 dormitories for men, 1 for women
  • 1 set of showers and toilets for men, 1 for women
  • 2 flats and a single room for staff
  • A mini chapel and boardroom
  • A kitchen and pantry
  • Area where we present workshops and serve food to homelss adults
  • A fairly large common room with a TV, books and a space for arts and crafts. Talks, weekly devotions and occasional movies and concerts are usually held here.
  • A breakaway room for small group work, which is essential in our work of renewal

How we operate

  • We charge R40 per day for 3 good meals, a warm shower and bed, as well as all the assistance and encouragement we can give through our fulltime staff. We also offer laundry services for R25 per week.
  • A daily routine is, in our experience, essential for renewal. Serving in routine household tasks such as cooking, cleaning, tiding up, helping with minor repairs at the Centre and encouraging others are part of the process for all residents. A non-negotiable is always to speak the truth and to live in the light.
  • Applications: Men and women, between the ages of 25 and 63 are welcome in the Centre. Screening of and acceptance an applicant is done by the social worker in discussion with the CEO and the full time staff.
  • Code of conduct: A code of conduct has been developed out of experience for the benefit of all residents. Periodic discussions are held with residents' representatives, the chairman of the board and the CEO about problems and potential improvements.
  • Volunteers are welcome and can help by being involved in the outings, repairs and workshops organized as part of the renewal process at Loaves and Fishes. Please contact the social worker, Riana Esterhuyse, through our email address or Contact form below.

Our Staff

  • Dr. Ben Kotzé (CEO)
  • Brigitte Cupido (Administrator)
  • Eubretha Papier (Residents Supervisor)
  • Matthew Kotze (Maintenance Manager)
  • Riana Esterhuyse (Social Worker)

Our board of directors

  • Nigel Chikanya (Chairperson)
  • Madaleen du Toit (Secretary)
  • Bob Butchart (Treasurer)
  • Elsabe Burger (Member)
  • Donald Hendricks (Member)


Please provide your name and email/phone number with your message so that we can get back to you.

1 Chatham Road, Observatory
Cape Town 7935
South Africa 

Tel: (021) 448-5900

Account name: Loaves & Fishes
Bank: Standard Bank
Account number: 071347844
Branch: Mowbray (024909)