Healthcare workers at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital in Parktown, Johannesburg are in for a colourful surprise. 250 bright pink potted Cyclamen will be laid out to spell HEROES, on the grass next to the entrance of the hospital today, Tuesday, 21 July 2020 at 12h00,as a token of appreciation for their commitment as frontline heroes of the Covid-19 pandemic in the Province.  

This is thanks to a joint partnership between Ubuntu Bedsan NGO that pairs healthcare workers with free accommodation and Together We Bloom,an NPO that raises money for communities in need through the sale of flowers and plants, who donated the flowers. 

Says Kim Whitaker, Founder of Ubuntu Beds: “Inspired by our friends in Lebanon, @baytnabaytek, we chose Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital as the space for the installation to show our appreciation for healthcare heroes. They are one of the largest COVID-19 hospitals in Gauteng, and we have already accommodated many healthcare workers from this hospital. We thought it a fitting space to celebrate our heroes.”

Says Stefan Zeelie of Together We Bloom: “When a nation comes together, its people get the opportunity to bloom from a small seed into the beauty we see in everyone.”

Since the virus hit, hundreds of healthcare workers have become infected, with nurses accounting for the majority of cases. A lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), over-exposure due to shortage of staff and long commutes in public transport are all said to have contributed to its spread. Ubuntu Beds was launched in March by Kim Whitaker in an attempt to unite hospitality businesses that now stand empty with healthcare workers at no cost. This is being done through private donations and corporate sponsorship. In total, the initiative is able to accommodate up to 2.500 public healthcare workers at no cost. 

To date, 7910 bednights have been booked, 797 healthcare workers signed up, 430[1]doctors and nurses have been placed and 1044[2]establishments with approximately 16 500[3]rooms situated across the country, close to hospitals and clinics, have signed up to the platform. The average stay is between 7 and 14 days and is open to both the private and public healthcare sector. Healthcare workers have access to self-catering facilities and in some instances Wi-Fi, TV, and laundry services.

Cleanliness is of utmost importance and all accommodation providers need to adhere to a cleaning guideline developed by Ubuntu Beds, based on the guidelines set out by the Department of Health for self-isolation and self-quarantine accommodation. Specialist cleaning companies do a deep clean post-stay, which includes a COVID-19 fog, to ensure no cross-contamination occurs. Healthcare workers are aware of the risks, and scrub-off and scrub-on between the hospital and the accommodation. 

If you are a healthcare worker needing an accommodation, a hospitality business interested in offering your rooms and services, or you want to donate, please visit https://www.ubuntubeds.org/. You can also call 0861999308 or get in touch via Whatsapp on 0713001672.

Also visit and follow Ubuntu Beds on social media 


[1]This number is correct as of  21 July 2020 and is subject to change.  

[2]This number is correct as of 21July  2020 and is subject to change.

[3]This number is correct as of 21 July 2020 and is subject to change.

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