Social Entrepreneurship Institute goes to South Africa… photo re-cap plus some mini-rants…
. . . Video Re-cap of the Field Study Program, props to Myles. . .
In the summer of 2009, rather than staying on campus to take the obligatory summer classes, 20 Northeastern students went on a Social Entrepreneurship Field Study Program to Cape Town, South Africa. Personally, I had to go for two reasons:
1. To learn about another approach to tackling injustice in the world – social business, or business to alleviate poverty
2. To have the chance to get to know and work closely with students from Africa country
In both ares, I was completely overwhelmed, in a great way. Starting with point number two, from the second we stepped off the plane, we spent almost every moment of our 3 weeks in Cape Town with students from the university we worked with – TSiBA, which in Xhosa means JUMP! (Xhosa is one of the official 11 languages spoken in South Africa, and many of us spent some time learning how to speak basic phrases!) But TSiBA was NOTHING like your normal university. It is a brand new, innovative, business school for ambitious students who normally could not afford to get a higher education… literally – ALL students admitted are granted scholarships to earn their degree for free… which was incredible because beside us the entire time were students who came from families in the exact poor areas that we were studying and consulting with. I can say without hesitation that the most I learned was from my one-on-one conversations with the South African students on bus rides, at dinners, and during classes.
As for learning about Social Business, well, I HAD to learn quick, as during the second week we were put into groups and assigned a REAL entrepreneur that we had to consult. After several visits to local social businesses, guest lecturers, and more and more conversations with the American and South African students, it was impossible to not come away with a greater understanding of social business and how it can play a huge role in alleviating poverty.
we also went to……
God’s Golden Acre… orphanage in the Valley of One Thousand Hills near Durban…
Before leaving Boston, our group raised over $13,000 to do buy donations and do a week long service project for God’s Golden Acre, a residential care center for over 140 kids in KwaZulu-Natal, in an extremely rural and poor area North of Cape Town. We spent the week building a playground and a life resources room, and homework helping/hanging with the kids. I spent an extra 10 days after our group left to volunteer more and finish up the projects……..
…. and Still have not found the words to unravel the humbling, empowering and beautiful children and time I spent at GGA.
So, for now, a video and some photos….
My last Saturday at GGA, finished writing a song with the talented singers and one of the little guys video taped our practice. The song lyrics are, yes, written by a 13 and 16 year old who I really think are more mature and wise then most I’ve met…
The kids at GGA are also known as the Young Zulu Warriors, the most captivating dancing and singing I have EVER seen.
And the rest, well I think these photos/captions can illustrate better….
- Guga-S’tebe community arts center in Langa township…amazing performance by “Happy Feet,” the gumboot dancers…!
- Learning some gumboot moves
- Out VERY first day in Cape Town, SA we immediately were taken to a townships, meaning an integrated settlement where non-whites were sent during apartheid.Walking through the township, at least for me, it was an unsettling feeling walking through the poorest place in a city I have ever been, a group of gringos, with the kids fascinated by our fancy electronics. At least we gave them smiles…
The next bunch are from Crossroads… probably the worst-off township I saw. Here there were seemingly uninhabitable shacks on one side of the street we were on, and on the other side were “nicer” government-built housing.
… two teenagers who were shot and killed by security forces in what is now known as the October 1985 Trojan Horse shootings. Police were hid in boxes on the beds of delievery trucks and drove through Crossroads. When kids started playing on the tailgates, the police began shooting, killing 2 teens and injuring 2 toddlers.
- Also a gravestone and sculpture was carved into trees where the shooting occurred.
This is Mluleki ! The container with the memorial painted on it also doubles as this man’s workshop. He makes beautiful leather beaded sandals and bags. His passion shined so brightly and it his pride and ambition were obvious. He like to think of himself as The Next Gucci in South Africa.
- Next to the memorial and Mluleki’s shop, more Crossroads Township…
- More Township…The houses in the background are the new alternative houses built cheap by the government. Problem is, they are not big enough so people end up building new shacks behind and next to them.
The other side of Hout Bay.. this beautiful scenery, with striking mountains, mansions and yachts in view, is just a few minutes from the extremely poor and run-down township … unreal how close wealth and EXTREME poverty live side by side.
We were given the warmest welcome everywhere we went. Hopefully this will help us remember that our work shouldn’t end now that we are back in the USA…
More photos from Cape Town : http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2312395&id=1814767&l=e091a079d5
Some GGA favorite photos….