Living Social Justice

A blog about responding to poverty and injustice, everyday and in all sorts of ways

Archive for the category “That Was Different”

The Served Becomes The Servant

As part of the TWD campaign, Grant Edmond decided to trade places for a day with his gardener, Hamilton, by serving him at his home in Langa. Here, he shares his experience of the day. 

Grant and Hamilton

Grant and Hamilton

I was planning on doing my TWD challenge on Human Rights Day but had to re-schedule as Hamilton was working on that day. So on Sunday, 7 April 2013, I went to Hamilton’s place in Langa to complete my TWD challenge. It was incredible. I had no idea what to expect. Would his ‘place’ be a shack, a flat, a house? Would there be electricity, running water, or a stove? Would it be safe!? It turns out he lives in the garden of a woman’s sub-divided property, where she allows people to build a place on her land for rent.

Hamilton’s place has wooden flooring and his walls and roof are made from corrugated iron. He was given this place by its previous owner. There is a cable carrying electricity that goes from the property owner’s house to his. He pays R100pm for the electricity (which powers a single light bulb and one plug point) but is not allowed to plug in a two-plate stove or other specified appliances, as they use too much power. He also pays R250pm as rent for the space of land where his home was built. This is quite a hefty fixed expense for a gardener to bear.

Grant at work in Hamilton's garden

Grant at work in Hamilton’s garden

The actual challenge was a mind-blowing experience. I cooked, cleaned and gardened for Hamilton, and he instructed me as to what he wanted done. Unsurprisingly, tasks that would take Hamilton 15 minutes seemed to take me hours – frustrating for me but providing immense entertainment for him! One of the major things that I noticed was the amount of convenience items we have that are actually higher on the list of ‘wealth items’ than one would expect. We may realise that we are blessed because we have electronic goods, such as cell phones and radios, but we forget other basic essential items like storage containers.

Grant at work in Hamilton's house

Grant at work in Hamilton’s house

Hamilton’s place, consisting in essence of only one room, meant that there was no real space to sit or stand as everything had to be placed on the floor. I bought some containers from the nearby Pick n Pay which allowed him to store his food, clothes, tools and toiletries in a space-effective way.  Although Hamilton was grateful for the actual work I was doing, he seemed much more content with the simple fact that I had come to visit him at his home in Langa. He loves speaking English and we chatted for hours while I worked. Hamilton’s favourite topic, which took up most of the conversation, was the different types of economic systems – an interesting choice of conversation that lead me to question which one of us should be at UCT!

This experience was definitely one of the most enriching things I have done. My preconceptions were challenged, my tentativeness was overcome and I was able to bond with a legend. A legend that understands God’s sovereignty and His grace far deeper than I, and who so freely demonstrates Godly wisdom in His speech. I also feel that God has freshly challenged me as to what I really need and as to what is a mere collection of ‘stuff’. If we were to be blessed materially according to our character, I know for certain that Hamilton and my position in life would be completely reversed.

The street view of the community of Langa, where Hamilton lives

The street view of the community of Langa, where Hamilton lives

“Since I was blessed with this house, it has been a conduit for continued blessing. But that is how life works – we are blessed so that we may go out and bless others and that is what God wants me to do,” Hamilton said at the end of day. I hope that going forward I can cement this experience in my heart and live a life that is truly driven by God’s Word. A life where I not only believe that it is more blessed to give than to receive, but actually practice this truth daily. A life where I am always concerned for those who God is concerned for – the ‘least of us’ who actually in His Kingdom will be put first.

Jesus thank you for this blood-bought opportunity for me to learn more of your amazing Gospel and thank you Hamilton for playing a huge role in teaching me this.

Grant Edmond

– Grant’s challenge is still open for donations! Click here if you’d like to support him with a financial donation. All funds will go towards Common Good’s education and employment initiatives. 

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So who is TWD going to bless?

Human Rights Day may have come and gone but that doesn’t mean the TWD journey is over.

Having raised over R250 000  for Common Good’s education and employment initiatives, the truly exciting part starts now where we get to bless our city by empowering people with job readiness training, literacy tutoring, small business mentorship, early childhood development, maths coaching and high school tutoring – to name just a few.

The Paradigm Shift graduates strike a pose with their certificates.

The Paradigm Shift graduates strike a pose with their certificates.

Over the next few months, we’re going to be posting stories of how the funds raised from TWD are being used to improve the education and employment situation in Cape Town. To find out more about some of these initiatives now, read and click on the links below:

1. NETwork is a Common Good-birthed initiative that connects the unemployed with employment opportunities and offers job readiness training to prepare people for the working world. NETwork is a hub of opportunity providing people with a resource centre from which they can search for jobs, employment placement services that benefit both employees and employers, as well as offering English courses, computer training, and hospitality/waitering classes. We think it’s a rather special place.

– Read NETwork’s latest newsletter here

Graduates of NETwork's most recent Job Readiness programme

Graduates of NETwork’s most recent Job Readiness programme

2. Through our Literacy Initiatives children at under-resourced schools are given additional support to help them improve their reading and writing. These initiatives include:

  • The Letter Club, in partnership with Kewtown Primary in Athlone
  • Reading support, in partnership with Constantia Primary
  • Bedtime reading, in partnership with Christine Revell Children’s Home

– Click here to read a volunteer’s experience of tutoring at Kewtown Primary

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3. Paradigm Shift is a programme where small business owners are given the opportunity to obtain formal business training, mentorship and discipleship. This programme specifically targets individuals who turn to entrepreneurship as a way out of poverty.

– Click here to read an article about our Paradigm Shift programme

This is just a taste of where some of the TWD funding will be going to support education and employment. Keep visiting for more stories in the coming weeks!

Handle With Care

TWD activist Amy Gatland shares her challenge experience with us –  a manicure marathon with a heart of gold!

The TWD Handle With Care team ready for manicure action

The TWD Handle With Care team ready for manicure action

On Thursday, 21 March 2013, twelve ladies set off to make some very special women feel loved and pampered as part of the That Was Different campaign. The idea, which was sparked by a popular office part time, came to life as we prepped our kits to give free manicures to elderly and vulnerable women in our area.

With the That Was Different campaign on our hearts, we were excited that our project was sure to have a double impact: to raise money for unemployment and education in our city but also to make the ladies whose nails we were painting feel beautiful and cared for. What we experienced was the humbling reality that when we give of our time and step out of our comfort zone to bless others we in turn are left feeling truly blessed. And so our project turned out to be, in fact, triple impact!

Pampering and storytelling in action at Huis Luckhoff

Pampering and storytelling in action at Huis Luckhoff

The day begun at Huis Luckhoff, a home for elderly people in Rosebank, where we arrived with our hands full of every goodie you could possibly need to give a manicure. Files, buffers, hand cream, you name it, we had it. Everything was generously donated by wonderful women in our community. The TV room was quickly transformed into a beauty parlour complete with lots of storytelling and smiles.

Later some of us moved to the sick bay to do the nails of ladies who could not get out of bed. One 94-year-old lady was so touched and said that her nails had not looked this beautiful since the war. Some of us then headed out to Sisters Incorporated, a place of safety for abused women and their children. It was so special to get to interact with these ladies and watch their faces light up at their painted nails. It’s amazing how something seemingly so simple can bring confidence and joy to a person. We had such fun painting their little girl’s nails as well.

Waiting for nails to dry while sharing stories

Huis Luckhoff ladies waiting for their nails to dry

Christine Martin summed up the day so well when she said, “With the elderly, we know that they have lived through a lot. Their stories and beautiful hands show us that they’ve lived long. But with women who have come from abusive relationships, they haven’t always lived long but they’ve lived through a lot. We all have stories to tell.”

Do you have a TWD story to tell? We’d love to hear it! Email hello@thatwasdifferent.net 🙂

A Day in the Life of a Superhero

Your eyes are not deceiving you! On Human Rights Day, Cape Town was the tourist destination of choice for superheroes. TWD activist (and closet superhero) Stephanie Purser tells us about her TWD Big Day…

Superheroes unite for a good cause

Superheroes unite for a good cause!

Thursday the 21st March was no ordinary day for a few ordinary people. On that day, we were superheroes! Dressed in our super-best outfits we took to the streets of Sea Point and began an ordinary round of putt-putt. Fellow players began to ask questions giving us the perfect opportunity to share the idea behind the TWD campaign. The day was a scorcher and the vibe was great! In the end it was Batman who won the challenge.

From putt-putt we took a stroll to the “Hop On Hop Off Buses” pick-up point. And I say ‘stroll’ as the idea of the day was to do something different… and we all know that superheroes don’t usually walk. So we were being very different indeed.

Superheroes take their job of saving the world very seriously

Superheroes take their job of saving the world seriously

We had flyers printed for the day (granted, there was a spelling error and the point of the campaign was to raise funds for education – facepalm), but it was another great way that we could give the campaign some exposure.

We got off at the first stop at the V&A Waterfront for some lunch at Ferryman’s. But first Philip and Rachel decided now was a good time to buy some beloved Nespresso for their morning coffee (even heroes needs a cuppa Joe in the morning). We took advantage of the moment to take some silly photos.

superheroes

The buses went through town, up to the cable car station then down to Camps Bay (where we stopped for some Sinful ice-cream) and back. It was an awesome way to learn more about our beautiful city while spreading the news of TWD and just hanging as friends.

Overall the day was a success… 2 hours longer than anticipated with funky sunburn lines, but it was definitely a WIN!! Looking forward to more crazy ideas next year!

Thanks to City Sightseeing South Africa for sponsoring bus tickets!

Thanks to City Sightseeing South Africa for sponsoring bus tickets for these TWD heroes!

Thank you to City Sight Seeing Cape Town and Michael Currin Photography for the support.

Do you have a TWD story? Send it to us at hello@thatwasdifferent.net!

TWD Raises Over R200 000!

The TWD Flash Mob caused a stir at Greenmarket Square

The TWD Flash Mob caused a stir at Greenmarket Square

On Human Rights Day, 21 March 2013, over 460 people across Cape Town all did something different to make a difference through the campaign TWD, or ‘That Was Different’. Some hiked up three peaks in one day, others dressed as superheroes and went sightseeing, while others ran, jumped, kayaked, cycled and danced. The activities, or challenges, couldn’t have been more different but the heart behind them all was the same – to help improve the situation of education and employment in South Africa.

We’ve received R228 000 through TWD and the donations are still coming in! Throughout this week we will be posting stories to this blog, but in the meantime check out the TWD Facebook page here for an album of photos from the day.

Well done to everyone who took part! And thank you for contributing to making a difference in our city 🙂

Check back in tomorrow for our first activist story.

The TWD walk from Wynberg to Fish Hoek was just one of many challenges taking place on the day...

The TWD walk from Wynberg to Fish Hoek was just one of many challenges taking place on the day…

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