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The Phelophepa Train


South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu is Honorary Chairman of the Phelophepa Train Dinner, where the Humanitarian Awards are presented. 

The Phelophepa Train is actually a mobile medical unit that criss-crosses by rail South Africa throughout the year, stopping at 36 rural areas through the country for five days at a time providing free medical and dental care to all in the region.  The medical program is funded by the Transnet Foundation of South Africa.  In rural areas of South Africa there is approximately one doctor for every 5,000 people.  In some areas there is no health care available at all beyond the annual stop by the Phelophepa Train.  The Phelophepa (pronounced Pay-lo-pay-pa) train represents social healing and reconciliation for what was a racially torn nation.  Like the democratic nation of South Africa itself, the Phelophepa Train was founded in 1994.

For the past four years, the American Friends of the Phelophepa Train have presented a gala dinner in aid of the train's travels throughout South Africa.  At the dinners, global business and social leaders, who share the goals and have made significant contributions are recognized, not only for support of the causes represented by the Phelphepa Train, but also for their efforts to improve the economic conditions in South Africa and the lives of its people.

About SA: South Africa Story
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General Motors, which recently returned to South Africa after a long hiatus during the period of the apartheid policy, is already playing a major role in the country's economic development and in new job creation.  The company chose to leave South Africa during the time of the brutal apartheid period, but was welcomed back into South Africa after Nelson Mandela became the democratically elected President of South Africa in 1994.

In addition to Wagoner, Maureen Kempston Darkes, GM Group Vice President for Latin America, Africa and the Middle East will also be a General Motors recipient.  Through its example, other American corporations are beginning to reinvest in the South African economy.

The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), for which Hayes is President and Executive Director, represents 190 US companies investing in Africa.  Collectively the companies represent more than eighty percent of all US private investment in Africa.  CCA's economic development program has generated more than $400 million (US) of transactions for new black and women-owned small South African businesses, and has created 8,000 new jobs in South Africa.  South African Ambassador to the United States, Barbara Masekela, has called the CCA program  "the most important economic development program now in existence between the United States and South Africa."

CCA also was one of the leaders of the successful movement of the passage by Congress of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), called by many as the most important acts of the American government in the history of US-Africa relations. According to the South African government, AGOA has created more than ninety thousand (90,000) new jobs in South Africa.

 Hayes also serves as President of the Board of the Coalition for AIDS Relief in Africa (CARA), the organization responsible for moving legislation through Congress that allocated $15 Billion for support of AIDS programs in Africa.  CARA, a coalition of many organizations working on the AIDS issue, is housed in the offices of CCA.  CARA is co-chaired by former Congresspersons Ron Dellums, Richard Armey, Eva Clayton and JC Watts.