Cape Town is a beautiful city, one that we proudly call our home-but sadly some communities do not have the opportunity to share that pride. Many communities like Gugulethu have poor service delivery, high unemployment rates, and situational overcrowding. It is sometimes hard to equate the concept of safe and beautiful surroundings when a large number of spaces in Gugulethu are intentionally vandalised or in poor condition.
Our young champions found themselves thinking about how they can make things better. The champions are exposed to sites within their neighbourhood that are frequently used as illegal dump grounds, they often worry about the potential of illness and the effects of pollution.
Usually, for any child, it would be easy to be unphased and to let things remain the same. It can be overwhelming when adults are the one’s destroying these beautiful areas with the belief that they are creating jobs-jobs that don’t always benefit everyone but instead creates sicknesses that will most affect the vulnerable children. The presence of these dumpsites means there are fewer areas for the youth to enjoy and play in.
Our young champions have taken it upon themselves to bring about the change they would like to see. They aim not only to change their own behaviour but to inspire change amongst the adults too. They firmly believe that any individual can be a change-maker, regardless of age and experience.
Our young champions are hoping to create lasting change amongst their friends and community leaders to create safe, beautiful areas in their communities.
On 18 February 2023, the kids identified an area that was formerly a communal park where people were able to gather and have a great time. Unfortunately, the park was polluted to the point where it was no longer recognisable. The champions showed the community that the responsibility of a clean community lies upon everyone. It doesn’t matter how old you are, it is our duty to keep our area clean and safe as we would our houses.
40 bags of waste and 15 bags of recyclable plastics were collected. The 15 bags were dropped at Gogo’s kitchen, where the funds from the recycling is used to buy gas to cook for the community of Gugulethu. The champions are not just mitigating climate change but also assisting in the food insecurity that affects many individuals and families within their community.
The kids had a great day and their efforts were rewarded with a delicious lunch and tons of laughter.
We hope many communities will adopt the spirit of these champions. Our future is in good hands with them.
Written by Pamela Silwana.