About the Social Butterfly:

The Hospice and Palliative Care Association (HPCA) of South Africa launched their Social Butterfly Campaign on August 12, 2014 at Den Anker restaurant in the V&A Waterfront. The aim of the Social Butterfly campaign is to create an easily recognizable symbol, elevating awareness of Hospice and palliative care in South Africa. Former Bafana Bafana captain Lucas Radebe attended at the event as the national brand ambassador for HPCA, and was the first person to get his butterfly tattoo.

The butterfly is the symbol of Hospice and Palliative Care both in South Africa and internationally.  It symbolizes personal transformation because of the impressive process of metamorphosis it goes through. Butterflies teach us that changes in our lives are inevitable; however, they do not have to be traumatic.  Rather we should unquestioningly embrace personal transformation and the changes of our environment and body, as difficult as it may be, as casually as the butterfly does.

Palliative care is the holistic total care of people and the support of their loved ones by a team of doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers, spiritual counselors and volunteers. 

In her speech at the launch, Dr Liz Gwyther, CEO of HPCA and Vice Chair of the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance spoke about compassion. “The compassionate care that hospice workers provide for patients and families have the goal of relief of suffering. The values of compassion, respect for others, enhancing dignity and sense of self-worth for patients can be expanded to reach out to our communities and can be a catalyst to build compassionate communities,” she said. She explained that hospice workers listen to patients’ and families’ stories, understanding how best to help them and how to relieve their suffering. “But compassion is not something we should show to others only when they are ill. We can extend this practice to other people we meet in the community to build compassionate communities. The Social Butterfly campaign encourages South Africans to extend this ethos of care and compassion. “

Gwyther ended her speech with a highly applicable quote from Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”