Last weekend students Rosa, Okyar, Rebeca, Juliana and Valentin joined Cor on a township home stay in the beautiful township of Kayamandi in Stellenbosch.
“Kayamandi is a suburb just outside Stellenbosch, with a population of about 30 000, generally made up of people who came from the rural areas of South Africa (and even other African countries) in search of work and a better future for themselves and their families.
The settlement was established in 1941 and was always characterised by severe material poverty. Though improvements have been made in the last decade, informal settlements still dominate Kayamandi and the absence of parks, playgrounds, shops and social services is evident.” (From Bridge the Divide website).
Cor used to be a teacher at Kayamandi High School and has been involved in the community since 2005. Thus, he decided to take a couple of EC students to experience the real township life by organising a home stay at friends. He arranged a true Xhosa-style party on Saturday night- complete with DJ and Xhosa-style barbeque. It gave students the opportunity to meet and interact with local people from the township. They were welcomed in Kayamandi with open arms as the children came running towards them and experienced true African hospitality as the people opened their homes (and hearts) to their visitors.
Apart from having fun and enjoying good food and music, students were also exposed to the difficulties and hardships of township life. The mini-tour of the township on Sunday morning gave them a unique glimpse of what life in the township is really like.
Jimmy, one of the hosts, is a potter and has been in this business for the last 35 years. On Sunday he decided that it was time to take out his spinning wheel and to give everybody a chance to make something. With a bit of help from Jimmy everybody managed to turn a piece of clay into something useful and aesthetic.
All in all it was a wonderful experience and students have already asked Cor when next they could go! If anybody is interested in a township home stay, please speak to Cor. It will be an unforgettable experience!