by: Thobeka Bhengu
Ntethelelo Foundation invited Inkanyiso Media to document the AIDS Foundation’s car handover ceremony. The handover was held on November 29 2018 in Alexandra, Sitjwetla informal settlement, at the crèche opposite the grave yard.
On the way we drove in a small one-way gravel road with heaps of waste on the side of the road, and unclean puddles of water all around and a stench of the all the dirt. The crèche is opposite a string of movable green toilets, most with big padlocks so others cannot access them and can only be accessible to those with the specific key of the toilet. On the way to the venue Thokozani’s window was open and she greeted and hooted at members of the community and members of the foundation who seem to know exactly who she is, as we drove past them through Sitjwetla informal settlement.
When we arrived at the venue, they were already a number of young people waiting inside and around the yard who helped with quickly setting up the chairs inside the venue. The ceremony opened with a warm up, where the Ntethelelo foundation members, their parents and guests had to stand up and participate in the exercise. The exercise was an ice breaker to help with the focus and release of any tension that the attendees might have.
The ceremony had a number of messages of support from the Aids Health Foundation, the community leaders, parents, the owner of the venue and the friends and colleagues of Thokozani Ndaba who is the founder of Ntethelelo Foundation.
The members of the community expressed gratitude to the foundation and Thokozani for bringing such a foundation to the settlement. They expressed how their children have something that they are part of and how they see a bright future for their children who are part of the foundation.
The Aids Health Foundation guests from the United States and Durban expressed how they are thrilled with this project and how they are committed to supporting and contributing to empowering young girls and children because they are the future.
A group of articulate and energetic young people from Ntethelelo Foundation expressed their gratitude to the foundation and to Thokozani for all that the foundation has done for them and expressed how through this foundation they have gained confidence and how they now know that they can change their circumstances and how this project has encouraged them to dream and understand that they can be anything they want to be regardless of where they come from.
The entire group of the foundation also delivered a performance that opened with Not Yet Uhuru and went into the theatre of the oppressed performance of multiple scenes, where they performed the work twice. The first performance was a complete run-through of the performance and the second performance allowed the audience to stop the performance and change the negative messages and scenes into positive circumstances.
The handover of the car took place just outside the venue, where all the attendees gathered around the car to see the artworks created by the Ntethelelo Foundation members and the work got painted on the car. The car will be used for the purposes of the foundation, to take the foundation members to counselling sessions, school when necessary, yoga and all activities of the foundation. The car looks colourful and all the children were certainly excited to see their work on the bakkie. The artwork on the bakkie are stories of the young people about not having enough food, water and sanitation and the struggles they are facing in this in particular community. The young people are also working with the Market Photo Workshop where they are learning how to tell their stories through photography and they have taken images of their lives. The images will be exhibited in different spaces.
To close off the ceremony, the attendees took a walk around the informal settlement to see some of the girl’s homes and the circumstances they are living under. The walk revealed a lot about the circumstances these young people are leaving under. Issues like safety, water and sanitation, cleanliness and the clear stench of poverty. However, these young people possess so much power and hope that the walk became a chance to get to know the guests from AHF and articulate their struggles.
Ntethelelo foundation is doing important work with these young people in this area and we hope that individual funders and major funders can donate towards a brighter future for these incredible young people.