Mandela’s stepdaughter to speak at SOHO gala in Carmel


Josina Z. Machel, stepdaughter of the late South Africa President Nelson Mandela, lost her eyesight in 2015 after being severely beaten by her then-partner, a Mozambican businessman. She hopes to use her story to make an impact as the keynote speaker at the seventh annual Hope Rising SOHO Gala Dinner, set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 2 at Ritz Charles, 12156 N. Meridian St., in Carmel.

“We’re honoring a prominent African woman with an impactful story as a victim herself,” said Wassema Ali, gala chair. “I think many people will be able to relate to her on a human level. For her to go through what she went through and come out of it with a focus and optimism she has would be such a missed opportunity if we didn’t celebrate that more in Carmel.”

SOHO, or Saving Orphans through Healthcare and Outreach, is committed to helping children in Africa. The gala is a black-tie event hosted by Cindy Simon Skojodt.

“SOHO is headquartered in Indianapolis. They do peer-to-peer work in Indianapolis but a lot of their work is actually in Swaziland in Africa,” Ali said. “Their mission is to improve the lives of orphaned children and vulnerable children, especially child-headed households, in areas affected by HIV/AIDS. The programs work to educate, heal, feed, empower and nurture.”

SOHO has discovered a high level of sexual abuse in young women and girls in Swaziland, Ali said.

“As of recently, SOHO is attempting to build safe houses in a village called Nhlambeni,” Ali said. “They have been able to secure the land, but one of the goals of the gala is to raise the funds to start building a few safe houses. They will house about six girls per house with a caretaker in each.”

Tickets are $25 for students or $100 per person. To purchase tickets, visit