Contact persons: Mandisele Maseti and Charlotte Riepe
The project lies on the western end of Khayelitsha in an area settled predominantly by shacks. Each one has a little piece of ground around it, and one of the activities of the project is the creation of food gardens throughout the neighborhood. This is meeting with considerable success.
Mandiseli Maseti runs the project, does a lot of gardening himself, but also manages and performs in the drama and dance groups, as well as writing poetry. He spoke very articulately about the project and has vision for the future. The organisation Art of Living has been supporting the project and all courses presuppose that a basic program of Breath Water Sound has been attended and followed.
Established at the project are the Permaculture food gardens, the drama group and dance classes. These perform in various parts of the city. About to be established is the soup kitchen, for which money is currently being raised and should be up and running in few weeks.
A project aiming at general upliftment of the community, its mood and wellbeing. This affects its society on various levels – food, environment, culture and education, both in the sense of self-education as also skills development.
The next steps in development would be to extend the present fence to include the whole of the piece of ground allocated to the project. Title deeds to the land are in the process of being drafted. Thereafter Maniseli wants to build a small hall with a stage and auditorium seating about 100 people.
Madietane Village, Mathlala Region, Limpopo.
The area lies between Makopane and Pholokwane in the low mountains of the area, and the village of Madietane itself is surrounded by mountains and on either side of a dry river bed. The mountains are covered in scattered large rocks, often piled in quite outlandish formations. The vegetation includes whole fields of aloes and other succulents.
Lesedi lies directly behind and overlooking the local government school, with which it has had good relations since its foundation, the principal of that school fully recognising the kind of positive change it could offer in the education of children. However, as the Lesedi school has to charge fees in order to survive, they now have only 150 children, the others going to the local school which is free.
The school was founded by the late Emily Moabelo, who had worked in Johannesburg as a domestic servant for most of her life until her then employers made it possible for her to do undergo training as a teacher. After teaching for some time in Alexandra Township, she opened Lesedi in the village where she had grown up.
There are a total of 7 teachers teaching the 9 classes in the school. 1 Kindergarten group, a Reception Year class and the usual 7 classes, 2 of these combined. There buildings are surrounded by trees on sandy, but beautiful grounds, and include a hostel for some 15 children and teachers accommodation. The hostel was beautifully clean and well kept, as were the classrooms in general, though a number had no ceilings and could do with a lot of maintenance.
There is a lot of work that could be done at the project, mainly in the area of completion of existing structures and maintaining of older ones, but at this stage it is not possible to say whether a workcamp could or should take place there and exactly what tasks it would undertake.
By the end of our stay in Jo´Burg, after meeting all the amazing different people and initiatives, we had a round up meeting to tackle future projects and communication with the networking process that has started. Attendees of this meeting were, Vuka design, teachers from Inkanyesi waldorf school, ex students from the school and some individuals with and without projects that showed interest and were invited. The meeting took place in Inkanyesi waldorf school on a Saturday afternoon. In this meeting the main interests and focus were the Art and Culture Village, which consist on having an exchange through various artistic impulses, coming together with their cultural backgrounds and skills. As many questions about Idem and its beginnings arose, this was another great topic. After speaking about what Idem is and how this initiative started, we focused on looking to the future of Idem in South Africa, which is about to be registered, and the different projects that could be evolved from Johannesburg, like Inkanyesi waldorf school and the newspaper project my career expo. For rounding up the ideas we shared our thoughts in a circle looking at future meetings that this group could have, leaded by Tshepo , Anna, Reason and Ellen who all showed a big interest. They are all ex students of Inkanyesi and wanting to carry the initiative. The meeting had a very interesting flow with the different interests and perspectives of future projects that can happen for the community of the Alexandra township,the Inkanyesi school and connectivity in South Africa. People where motivated and enthusiastic, but at the same time already focusing on how to move the boat and keep connected, a network was created with very beautiful people.
The presidents award has been operating in the whole of South Africa since 1983. Their mission is to empower young people between the ages of 14 and 25, by providing a balanced, non-competitive framework for self-development that will increase their self-esteem and enhance their capacity to achieve in whatever context they find themselves: enabling them to become responsible active citizens within their communities.
The presidents award works with young people from diverse cultural, social and economic backgrounds with the aim of letting young prisoners, kids from private-, state- and townships schools as well as young people from urban and rural areas meeting up with each other to experience different realities.
These young people go with them through a programme in which they have to learn a new skill they choose themselves, volunteer in a social or community project for a while, practise a sport and go on an “adventurous journey”, which is usually a long hike together with other youth from diverse backgrounds. Depending on the development process they want to go through, they achieve a recognition in an award that can be bronze, silver or gold.
In the visit to their national office in Grahamstown we found a serious supporter of the idea of having a conference where projects and young people seeking engagement could meet each other. As the presidentsaward has many contacts of young active people, they could add to the existing network, contributing with local engaged youth from SA. They particular offered to get us in touch with their gold award winners that have been involved for some time now
Sinqobele baba is a Community based Care and Counselling Center for people suffering from HIV related illnesses. It is based in a room in the home of Ms Lusaka Stenge, who runs a homeopathic praxis in Mthatha and Mquanduli.
The room used for the project serves as an HIV/Aids, TB and heath education and awareness classroom, turns into a soup kitchen for the underprivileged children of the nearby school to get their lunch and gives spaces for HIV support groups to meet. The support groups gather there to also do sewing and beadwork to on the one hand have something to do, as most of them are unemployed and to also fundraise for the project.
Lusaka took us around to some of the schools she works with to raise HIV awareness and also to a children’s home in Mthatha.
The visit and stay at Lusakas project brought us more close to the very present HIV reality in this country and showed us that it would be definitely an important issue to keep in mind when planning topics concerning the subjects that need to be addressed at Connectivity.
Bulungula Incubator is also situated in a rural setting. With compost toilets, paraffin heated showers and solar energy they are a mere example of well working ecotourism. As well as Mdumbi, they are involved n several community projects around and give space to a few long term volunteers that work in the community of Nqueleni.
Some volunteers we met were a group of german students working with the community on water issues. They were securing springs, setting up water tanks and educating people about the importance of clean drinking water that is a real problem in those areas, as there isn’t either enough water or it is contaminated by fescues of human and animals.
Bulungula raised funds for an Early Learning Center that officially opened its doors on the 22nd of September.
Some other projects that are going on for quite a while now are the Lemon grass project with which jobs should be created by selling herbs and essential oils. Another example of job creating is the sewing project in which woman from the community can be helped with the materiel and sell their pieces at the lodge.
To save and protect the environment and soil, indigenous trees are planted in a foresting project to stop the erosion that is quite common in those areas of the Transkei.
Bulungula supports and mentors some other projects around, such as a Sewing and community project in Mkatazo started by Emma Dzaka. Her project is called Lhlathilethu – womans cooperation and mainly works on sewing, bead and handcrafts, candle making and gardening with people from the community in order to create jobs. Emma was interested in being part of the craftspart of Conectivity and would like to contribute there.
Phumzile, who also works at bulungula as a translator and project facilitator was very interested in the idea of projects and people networking
Transcape is an NGO working with the community of Tshani village and more communities in the areas around. Located between grassy rolling rills at the seaside, about one hour from Mthatha in the eastern cape, their office squeezes on a wooden platform, right under the straw roof of a little round mud hut that also accommodates a library, a classroom and a computer skills program.
With the backpacker, Mdumbi, that runs as a business at the same place, they created a space for volunteers to stay to work with the community, as well as a constant money income, supplying them with the facilities they need in order to work with the people around.
Transcape works with the Community in the rural villages around with the aim of supporting every wish and thought of changing and developing that comes from the people living there. The aims is to create a sustainable and developing community life so that people don’t need to leave their homes to go and work in the cities but can rather be proud of the place they live in. Rural pride instead of rural flight.
Addressing and serving the needs of the community, Transcape focuses on education, skill development and health issues.
On the premises of the backpacker, one rondavel (traditional round hut) serves as a kindergarten, one as a afternoon learning center, where kids and adults from the village can have additional educations, such as better English lessons.
A different aspect is also the micro financing program, that Transcape started to support the development of sustainable little businesses run by members of the community.
Another great focus lies on an HIV and Aids awareness, support and treatment program that Transcape is developing together with the local clinic, as there is a great need for that in the area. There are several ronadavels needed, one at each of the clinics involved in the HIV programme, in which support groups could gather and staff for the hospitals can be trained, so Mdumbi and these projects could be an exciting workcamp possibility.
We had quite some interesting conversations with Johann, who grew up in the area and started the project together with Hyman, as well as with Lusanda, a young guy from the village who showed interest in Connectivity and at some later stage also in getting young people from the area together to join the conference.