Bruce and his family arrived in Ermelo to see Bruce's dad Ian in February 2019 as a "quick" stop on their round the world journey.
As they spent time at the daycare centre and with the community they realised the profound difficulties that the people in rural Africa and in particular Skaaprus are facing every day. There is an absolute lack of services like electricity and water, no effective public transport, expensive access to healthcare, education, even internet access is difficult and unreliable. Added to that a huge number of people are unemployed or uneducated or both.
Bruce had spent the previous few months in Asia and was inspired by how just a few small differences could transform the fortunes of people. Communities ran - often in great poverty but everyone worked and earned an income - even if it was a few pennies and communities and families came together to cover the basics. People seemed to feel connected and more content no matter the size of the income - his eyes were opened to a new possibility. When he arrived in South Africa and he saw and heard of the disconnect between communities, the poverty, aggression, unhappiness of many communities as well as the wealth and prosperity of others he was inspired to make a difference, to pass on some of his experience and knowledge starting with the community in Skaaprus. In early March he asked that the community call a meeting and he pitched them his vision.
The response from the community was amazing! there were around 30 people in that first meeting and over the next few weeks, the numbers climbed.
In each meeting more questions were asked, new people came and submitted ideas. Members of the community attended from all ages and backgrounds and they all want to be involved.
The idea is simple: A Community CoOperative, run by the community members, for the community members.
Bruce proposed that he would support members with resources, training who had an idea to start a business. No idea is foolish BUT it must be able to provide the business owner with AT LEAST R3000 per month.
When we asked what the Co-op should be called they admitted that they wanted to change the name of the settlement. Skaaprus (meaning Sheeps Rest), they feel has no connection to them. The name Skaaprus has been used since before they were allowed to settle on the land some 35 years ago and carries some negative feeling for the community. It is the name of a squatter camp - where people don't belong - they are squatting. The community feels that a change of name might help to change attitudes of them and their peers. The name chosen was Bambanani. Bambanani Village was born!
Relationship & Connection
Bruce is keen to stress that if it were not for the incredible work that Ian and Love Africa Youth have been doing over the last 10 years that none of this would be possible. The community leaders have been open and keen to talk because of the relationship that they have built up with Ian, Lee & Benji over the years. We are delighted that Love Africa Youth can start to reach out to more people in the community but also that it shows the impact of the Daycare centre beyond the children.
check out the website to find out more about what is going on in Bambanani Village
Poverty isn't a lack of character...
...Its a lack of cash. A great TED Talk by Rutger Bregman in 2017 that supports the theory that a basic living wage can raise more than just the standard of living.
We have Genius in our Young People
A remarkable TEDTalk from Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on the Rise of Africa. She highlights the issues Africa is facing as a whole, certainly all resonate with the South African issue.