It goes without saying that we are fully aware of the fact that we come to South Africa as privileged Europeans and that this also results in a certain responsibility for us.
We try to take this into account in numerous ways.
Ubuntu Charity e.V.
Firstly, there is an amazing, bustling, young woman of German origin in Cape Town, Silke Rylands, who has initiated many projects with her organisation Ubuntu Charity e.V. We strive to support her.
She offers an after-school tutoring programme for the children of the township. The quality of the schools in the township differs greatly, she told me. Township children, by their very nature, will always attend schools of lower quality. One of the big problems is that the children there do not learn English. The lessons are usually held in Xhosa. Without English skills, however, the children will not be able to get even the simplest jobs later on, and the path to further education is naturally also blocked for them. The tutoring programme is intended to compensate for precisely this deficit. For the older children, it takes place in a classroom at the sports field in Hout Bay and for the younger ones, Silke has rented green containers in Imizamo Yethu from the City of Cape Town. The children in the after-school programme also enjoy a meal there every day. You can imagine the temperatures in this “tin can” on chilly winter or scorching summer days. However, I have always found the children there to be cheerful and grateful, and they always enjoy learning. Silke has also set up a small library there. Despite the small classes, it sometimes happens that individual children cannot keep up with the workload of the others. Silke has also organised individual lessons for them, which are already bearing fruit. The children also get a meal there every day during the week.
In the selection of the children, Silke is also supported by a social worker who knows many families and has further insights. Of course, she can also speak Xhosa with the people.
We always try to bring clothes and hygiene articles to Hout Bay. There is a group on Facebook called Space in a Suitcase (Platz im Koffer), organised by dear Betti. She collects donations of clothes and passes them on to people who are travelling to South Africa and can still take something with them. In South Africa, various organisations/orphanages can make good use of the items. So far, we have always taken something for Ubuntu Charity because Silke is active in Hout Bay.
On my last trip, I also took two laptops with educational software for children for the first time – wonderfully organised by Betti with Labdoo Germany. After my arrival, I took them to a young woman in Blouberg, who in turn transported them to East London. Betti, who is very resourceful, can always call on a great network. It is great to see that it works so well.
Until recently, Silke distributed vegetable soup and bread every Friday to the children living at the very top of the township, where the simplest huts are located. I was invited to accompany her several times and I can say that it was very challenging for me and helped me to put things into perspective. Some local soup kitchens run by two women who live in Imizamo Yethu have now taken over. Silke continues to support them in this.
On Fridays, there is no tutoring programme, instead, there are activities or excursions of some kind on the schedule. This can be an afternoon of games, the children prepare small plays in groups, or they go on excursions to different attractions in Cape Town, which the children have often not seen before.
Silke’s latest idea is a recycling project. There is no sense of waste prevention and/or disposal in the township. How could there be? The people there have other problems, and the streets are always full of rubbish, they do not know any different. Everyone throws their rubbish everywhere.
Ubuntu Charity has now bought a small bus where the township residents can drop off their recyclables and receive food vouchers in return. This is a great idea, and I am happy to support it.
In order to be able to further expand her programme, Silke and her organisation are currently trying to acquire their own land and build a house where they can continue all this in one place.
Sponsoring a child
We have also taken over the sponsorship of a boy from Imizamo Yethu, named Ayabulela, through the organisation Ubuntu Charity e.V. From the monthly contribution we make, he and his mother, receive food vouchers and support for his school clothes. In addition, his little brother, Azimi, lives in the household. By the way, Silke asked them beforehand if I could write about them and show some photos. They expressly agreed.
When we visited the family in the house of the grandmother in March 2022, we noticed that the roof was leaking. I had already helped another family in Imizamo Yethu to get a new roof, so it was equally clear to us that we also wanted to support in this.
Thankfully, after we left, Silke took care of it, organised estimates and materials. The new roof passed its first endurance test on a rainy night and they are happy to be dry and warm. We are happy for them.