Scam or cause célèbre? Afrikan

Scam or cause célèbre? Afrikaner poverty charity stirs up SA expats

A fundraising initiative to address the issues of Afrikaners living in squatter camps has caused controversy, as the real motivation for the initiative may be a greedy scam and not a charity case

Scam or cause célèbre? Afrikan

A dubious online campaign is raising suspicion, claiming to raise money for impoverished Afrikaner families in South Africa – with growing evidence that the movement might be a scam.

AFRIKANERS IN POVERTY alleges to address poverty-related issues by presenting itself as a charity focusing on the plight of children; its mission statement claims “Children should not have to sleep on the floor, without proper bedding” and that children “should not have to go to bed at night or go to school without food or a lunch pack.”


However, not deep beneath the veneer of a charitable organisation the first cracks begin to appear; the description of the group’s goals reveals that it has an intrinsic understanding that it must attract white donors with a chip on their shoulder to care for an issue that is presented as if it only affects white people.

Grammatical errors and grievous spelling mistakes, where handouts are “scares” and not “scarce”, add to the growing doubt whether the initiative is truly pursuing legitimate aims.

The clumsily composed copy reads, “There is an estimated 800,000 people living in Squatter camps living in conditions not suitable for humans, specially not for growing children” – but forgets to mention that millions of South Africans of all races live in exactly the same conditions.

The movement continues to describe how its recently completed fundraiser run, which was promoted throughout various social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, intended to achieve noble aims such as assisting the elderly, promoting health, supporting soup kitchens and assisting victims of crime. But the more you probe into the dealings of the group’s leader, “Jenni”, the less trustworthy does the initiative appear. Her full name is not revealed on the movement’s website but can only be ascertained by looking into her funding campaigns set up on other platforms, such as as well as various Facebook groups particularly aimed at addressing South African expats.

Using a mix of pictures that seem to originate from disparate locations, and even including some stock footage, Jenni’s credibility fails to gain favours in the photo gallery of her home-made site. Furthermore, her contact form seems to be broken, which erodes further trust in the organisation, and made it impossible to obtain comment from “Afrikaners in Poverty”, due to the malfunctioning contact form.

When looking into the charity status of “Afrikaners in Poverty” it is revealed that the group is not incorporated in SA and receives its donations in US dollars via a PayPal account, making it highly suspicious and raising the biggest red flag of all. PayPal transactions can be made without clarifying charity status, and though the financial service prides itself in transparency, only a small number of its users ever enquire about the background information of people they trade with.

When challenged in the comment section on about certain inconsistencies observed on her website, such as the fact that the children in her photographs don’t look undernourished but are presented as neat and clean, Jenni Leone Meintjies rushes in (with her full name) to defend her cause by saying that poverty doesn’t have to look dirty.

Despite her efforts to raise money online, the majority of her 21 commentators on the public fundraising platform must have smelled a rat when visiting her page, resulting in dismissive comments and only few pledges for donation.

Tolene van der Merwe, who lives in UK, claimed that Jenni Leone Meintjies had used a different alias for scams in the past, posing by the name of Cape Town-mother Kerry Glaser in a bid to allegedly raise funds for Kayla, a child with a severe case of cystic fibrosis.

“I wanted to help Kayla, but this Jenni had apparently stolen images and the story of Kayla, and asked on all the international South African Facebook pages for money. When I realised this, I contacted the real Kerry Glaser page, and they confirmed that they don’t have that particular donation page, nor have they ever advertised internationally for donations on expat forums,” Van der Merwe recalls her experience with Jenni Leone Meintjies.

“Kerry Glaser contacted the police about it. I contacted PayPal and got my transaction reversed. But they haven’t closed her PayPal account. Instead, when I reported her to PayPal, she just changed her profile, claiming to be a student collecting funds for her studies. She has also been reported to ACTION FRAUD. And I have contacted [South African investigative reporting programme] Carte Blanche.”

Whether the initiative against poverty among Afrikaners is a scam or not is unclear. However, with only 18 supporters, Jenni’s cause benefiting the “white-impoverished” managed to reach merely $1,443 of its $10,000 goal in May.

“This woman started Afrikaners in Poverty a couple of years ago – whether or not it goes to the poor Afrikaners I don’t know. There are many Afrikaners living in poverty in South Africa. I think this woman is just using them. None of this money goes to anyone but her. I don’t know how she sleeps at night,” said Van der Merwe.

Even with the greatest benefit of the doubt in her favour, you would have to give “Afrikaners in Poverty” a major overhaul in public image before it could ever be taken seriously. But perhaps before doing that it might also be worthwhile to think about the thousands of black South Africans who have been living in squatter camps for decades.