Six-year-old Azola Papu made headlines in the Cape Times in 2018 when a photo of him impersonating public order police with his toy gun and helmet trended on social media.
The photo was taken by African News Agency (ANA) photojournalist Ayanda Ndamane during a protest in Gugulethu.
Ayanda says the boy recently lost his mother and has been left with nothing.
“I was delivering food parcels to communities around the Cape Flats and then I remembered that I promised Azola a food parcel,” says the award-winning photographer.
“I went there to deliver one on Sunday and that is when I was met with tears.
“The family was crying, asking how did I know that they are in need? They told me they just buried Azola’s mother.”
Ayanda, a dad of three, says he bought the little boy new clothes and promised to come back with more donations.
“I met Azola during a protest in Gugulethu, it was chaotic and there was this young boy with a helmet on and a toy gun heading to the police.
“I was amazed and took the picture, that is when the relationship was formed.”
Azola does not have a birth certificate and his aunt Lulama Papu says this makes it difficult to apply for a social welfare grant.
“His mother recently got her ID when I assisted her with it in December.
“Azola should be at school but his mom is a person who did not really pay attention,” she says.
“Ayanda has really assisted because it was difficult for everyone.
“I am the only one employed and I have children of my own.”
Ayanda is now trying to get Azola’s birth certificate, and is also planning to establish an education trust for the boy. He visited the family again and says: “I am asking the public that we make sure that this boy has all he needs.
“No donation is too little, whatever you can donate, bring it in or call me, I will come to fetch it.”
To help, call Ayanda on 084 3600 446.