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Transformation in development

Posted October 26th, 2008 in development by Frérieke

khayelitsha festivalrufus, heart of healing

By Frerieke van Bree

“The City of Cape Town sponsored the Khayelitsha Festival Business Tour because we believe it will stimulate growth and development among emerging businesses in Khayelitsha. Further investment is essential to addressing the key developmental challenges of the region. We need to increase business and job opportunities in order to improve living standards and promote overall growth in Cape Town’s economy.” So says Cape Town Executive Mayor, Helen Zille.

Businesses, social entrepreneurs, NGO’s, governmental structures, musicians, youth and other individuals from different (local) communities gathered this weekend in the OR Tambo hall in township Khayelitsha, Cape Town to celebrate and further explore the potential and opportunities that this emerging place (township khayelitsha) offers during the 3 day event, the Khayelitsha festival!

Our friends of the Heart of Healing (you’ll find Rufus of the Heart of Healing in the above photograph) co-organized this 3 day festival, which is based on the very successful Soweto Festival that has been organized over the last 3 years in Soweto, the black urban area in Johannesburg.

Three days of music, entertainment and information market attracted young and old, rich and poor. The Khayelitsha festival (that says on it’s website to be “free”) did leave out the poorest though… It was heartbreaking to see all those individuals (mostly youngsters/children) begging at the gate in order to collect the 10 Rand (to be compared more or less with the price of one bread and a pack of milk) that the entrée would cost them.

I received some free tickets for the COSAT students to attend the festival. One of the COSAT learners, Dinono even performed live on stage! Dinono shared her poem with lots of passion and dedication with hundreds of youngsters around the stage. Well done girl! (unfortunately, the sound of the attached video is very bad, but please be inspired by this young individual that is so full of fire). Dinono…please share your poem with us here online?! And also your story about it and around it!

What an opportunities in Khayelitsha. It is a booming business…you better be there and be there now, because hey….(soccer worldcup) 2010 is around the corner and before we know, all shacks will be replaced by mixed used developments! Apartments, retail, offices, public nodes….a diverse and lively place for all! (at least….if we choose to make this happen!)

It takes a woman with balls (respect for Cape Town mayor Helen Zille!) to be a stand for transformation and development!

Local government officials within the building department that we (architects) are dealing with, seem to lack these balls to take responsibility and make the decisions that will enable investors/architects/community to make development plans reality. A few weeks ago, after a meeting I had within the community (to design development plans together with community), I spoke on the phone with one of those (local) government officials and was told to “stay away from local community, because we (government) will be hold accountable for the false hope you (the architects) create and as a result, the community will blame us (government).”…yeah sure…15 years after the end of Apartheid and still so many people struggle to keep the rain outside of the tin board structures and try to avoid being raped during the dark night (no street lights) on their way from shack to public outhouse…. Who to blame for this mister local government official? Why do you choose the way of no commitment, no passion, no action?

I see the Khayelitsha festival, with the created connections between investors and potential as a first step in the process towards actual implementation of development plans.

It takes secondly more individuals like Helen Zille in council who understand that risks need to be taken to see actual transformation in Africa. It takes government officials in the building sector who are willing to take responsibility, who are willing to open their eyes towards development and are willing to work together with passionate planners/developers/architects (like us A Paradigm shift within council is a crucial step in the process towards actual implementation. It is an important shift that will lead to improved living standards and increase of economic situation in the Township!

Opportunities can’t be seen unless we choose to discover our blind spots….it takes courage and commitment to take on this new paradigm of thinking. This challenging exercise might appear to be a very scary one; shifting away from the known to the unknown (away from our comfort zone) is not something that we do on a regular base….not a government official, nor you or me…Opportunity and transformation will be experienced if we choose to do so!

Blog action day 08: Students in poverty against poverty!

Posted October 15th, 2008 in Leadership Academy by Frérieke

Home Tebello Tebello Makeke Tebello family

By Frerieke van Bree

Tebello Makeke is a 15 year old student at the center of science and technology in the underprivileged community of Khayelitsha, Cape Town. Please let her story of what matters to her inspire you today on this international blog action day 2008. Let this story inspire you to take your own action in creating ways to eradicate poverty!

By Tebello Makeke

What matters to me are teenagers. Their behavior matters to me the way they do things. Lot of teenagers do
things that they regret at the end of the day. So many teenagers get pregnant at this age because they are confused they need someone to be an example. We as teenager like to have role models.

Now that I know what we need I am also a teenager so I know what we need that will be easy for them to understand because I know what we are going throw. It is not like when an elder tells it because we have that thing about “you have done these things so why don’t you want us to do them”. If they hear it from me someone who is on the same age as they are.

Telling them which way to take that will be better. They will have this thing about if Tebello can do it why can we. Teenagers like to challenge each other. We believe that no one understand us but if I am standing up as a teenager telling them that I am going throw the same stage that they are and I know how it feels like to need attention because that is what we need to be loved to be taken care of . I would really like to sat a great example to the teenagers. I hate seeing them going down while I am have watching them doing nothing that Is biting me in side. I believe that if I commit my self in to helping them realize themselves, love themselves that would make a different

Looking at girls drinking beer in the tavern, having babies at this age that they can’t even take care of them. Seeing them not obeying their parents living their homes. That make me feel like I am not doing what I was suppose to do. That make me want to take a step and say I will stand up for teenagers even if they can say things about me. Teens lives matters a lot to me.


South African Dance!

Posted October 3rd, 2008 in Leadership Academy, Personal Fre by Frerieke

Love to the World

By Frerieke

Today, after my wonderful Free WI-FI Friday (the school is on holiday, so no teaching today), after my 2km swim, right there in the sauna of the gym…right there… I just got it….. I really got it…… >> I LOVE PEOPLE. Swimming is my meditation.. I don’t think, just become one with the water and enjoy.

The sauna……the sauna is the place where i start talking to my inner self, the place where i connect with my own mission/vision!

Today, the conversation went like this: “Fre, why do you do what you do? Why love to the world? Why transformation in Africa? Why ‘making a difference’? Are you doing it because you want to be liked? Show of how good you take care of others? Be ‘interesting’ by being different then your friends in the Netherlands? (Haha, lucky me: today the sauna was empty so I could actually say those words out loud..)

And you know what…as much as I wanted to scream: NO I don’t do this work for me….. I actually couldn’t. To be honest… yeah I am doing it for me. I choose the life I am living here in Africa. I choose to be liked, measured by the amount of care for others or ‘the difference I make in a persons life’. (yep..rather this then being liked because of my money, or being liked because I force you to like me)

So my next question to myself was: “Aha you selfish bitch, so what do you really give and how much would you give if there wasn’t anything in it for you?” That is a freaky question. Then I remembered all the great feedback on our website from our students, how much our work matters to them…. and I wondered: the students satisfaction, is that just an extra to my own fulfillment?”And then it came to me… Fre, you love people.

I believe in the goodness of man kind, even the guy attacking me. I believe in people and i believe that each voice matters! And hell yeah…I’ll spend my entire life making sure you all feel loved! And hey… it is such a great ‘extra’ that you’ll like me for it.

The COSAT students > oh yeah do I love them! Creative, eagerness to learn, care for each other and community, the stand in life they take…. To be really honest with you? Nelson Mandela will have some great competition!

The dance of life is magical…

… Talking about dancing….. Please enjoy this video that one of the students made! South African dance!