One of the projects that Balls to Poverty undertook whilst in Cape Town, was to work with the children and staff of the Red River Primary School in Manenberg to paint and decorate their school buildings and class rooms.
Manenberg is a township in Cape Town, located in the Cape Flats. The Cape Flats, know as Die Kaapse Vlakte in Afrikaans, was a construction of the Apartheid era South African government and was developed to house Bantu, African and Coloureds who were forced out of Cape Town through the Group Areas Act & Pass Laws and who racially defined by Population Registration Act of 1950.
Other Township in the Flats include Gugulethu, Khayelitshia and Mitchell’s Plain and is home to a complex and rich cultural history, with multiple languages, including English, Afrikaans and Xhosa spoken widely. Manenberg played a significant role in the mass demonstrations and activism against the Apartheid government particularly through the 1970s & 80s.
Today Manenberg is home to more the 50,000 people and has many social and crime problems, especially around gangs. But it has maintained its activist community, with many working to improve the life of residents and the education of their children.
Descending from our bus upon our arrival close to the school, we were greeted by a huge crowd of local people and children. There was a brass band, dancing group and a minstrel troupe. To cap it all off, upon arrival at the School grounds we serenaded by a Cape Malay Choir.
All of these groups are deeply immersed in the history and culture of their townships, drawing on their roots under slavery, apartheid and seen as representation of their freedom and very existence.