South Africa

 


Target Area South Africa Organizing Trip Report July 18 – August 9, 2017

Organizers: Willamae Turnipseed and Roberta Williams Two of Target Area seasoned organizers traveled to Cape Town, South Africa to partner with sister organization, Safe Cities of Cape Town, South Africa. Target organizers were there to learn about South African communities and glean information that could help make Chicago neighborhoods safer. Organizers organize in high-risk community areas including Atlantis, Bishop Lavis, and Manenberg, working with youth from those areas. Cape Town has many of the same community issues as Chicago e.g. a high percentage of homelessness in communities of color, high violence including gang wars, with many unsolved shootings and murders in black/colored (black/brown) communities. Neighborhood members stated that they have gotten used to falling to the floor to escape bullets that come through their windows, “Once I dropped something on the floor and bent over to pick it up. This action saved my life because as soon as I bent over mutable bullets came through my window, gangsters were shooting at rival gangsters.” Ruth Fransman, community resident of Bishop Lavis. The city and community make up are also similar to Chicago’s with a high number of churches, impoverished and blighted black/colored communities with a high crime rate and few employment opportunities. On the other side of town, there are white, affluent communities (sea side and mountain side communities) with abundant resources. Target Area organizers worked with Safe Cities to relocate youth of these

Two of Target Area seasoned organizers traveled to Cape Town, South Africa to partner with sister organization, Safe Cities of Cape Town, South Africa. Target organizers were there to learn about South African communities and glean information that could help make Chicago neighborhoods safer. Organizers organize in high-risk community areas including Atlantis, Bishop Lavis, and Manenberg, working with youth from those areas. Cape Town has many of the same community issues as Chicago e.g. a high percentage of homelessness in communities of color, high violence including gang wars, with many unsolved shootings and murders in black/colored (black/brown) communities.        Neighborhood members stated that they have gotten used to falling to the floor to escape bullets that come through their windows, “Once I dropped something on the floor and bent over to pick it up. This action saved my life because as soon as I bent over mutable bullets came through my window, gangsters were shooting at rival gangsters.” Ruth Fransman, community resident of Bishop Lavis. The city and community make up are also similar to Chicago’s with a high number of churches, impoverished and blighted black/colored communities with a high crime rate and few employment opportunities. On the other side of town, there are white, affluent communities (sea side and mountain side communities) with abundant resources. Target Area organizers worked with Safe Cities to relocate youth of these

Neighborhood members stated that they have gotten used to falling to the floor to escape bullets that come through their windows, “Once I dropped something on the floor and bent over to pick it up. This action saved my life because as soon as I bent over mutable bullets came through my window, gangsters were shooting at rival gangsters.” Ruth Fransman, community resident of Bishop Lavis. The city and community make up are also similar to Chicago’s with a high number of churches, impoverished and blighted black/colored communities with a high crime rate and few employment opportunities. On the other side of town, there are white, affluent communities (sea side and mountain side communities) with abundant resources. Target Area organizers worked with Safe Cities to relocate youth of these

Target Area organizers worked with Safe Cities to relocate youth of these highrisk communities to safe spaces and teach them trades and skills that will benefit them in their future, such as carpentry, mechanics, brick making, brick laying, road building, land preparation. Organizers worked to remove young people from high crime communities to rural areas where they are building their community center and living areas with their own hands learning trades and skills to benefit them in future endeavours and to gain employment for them. These youths are also learning personal skills such as how to interact with their peers and community members without anger, and violence. The teens are learning that they do have worth and can have a future without violence and fear. The Safe Cities team is working to invest in the lives of black/colored youth who have learned to survive in high crime and poverty, but many have never

The Safe Cities team is working to invest in the lives of black/colored youth who have learned to survive in high crime and poverty, but many have never traveled outside their neighborhoods. If this sounds familiar, it is. Many of Chicago youths face the same difficulties as these South African youths of color. “It is a significant change for many of them. Safe Cities is teaching them how to love themselves and others and has shown them that there is more to life than poverty and gangsterism.” Safe Cities Organizer, Samantha May. (“Gangsterism” is a phrase coined by South Africans for someone who is involved in a gang.) Safe Cities organizers also work with community pastors to help counsel and build the youths’ self-esteem. Target Area organizers worked on “the land,” as the youth call it, to help remove the brush to prepare the surface to lay the foundation of the building. “The youth are working hard and are excited about their futures. They say their lives have changed for the better because of the Safe Cities leadership,” stated Target Area Organizer, Roberta Williams. Safe Cities is also teaching residents to bake and sell their product in the open-air market. “Many of the youth are in “University” (College) to become lawyers, doctors, teachers and other professionals and are finding that they are bright and talented and do have a future outside the communities they come from. These youths say they owe it all to the Safe Cities community organization.” said Willamae Turnipseed, Target Area Organizer. On the last week of our time in Cape Town, Safe Cities and Target organizers worked to bring the community to “the land” to interact with the youth working there. Over fifty community and family members, teachers, business owners and clergy came together to work side by side with youth whom they had feared and shunned in the past. Clergy encouraged and prayed with the youth and organizers, family and community members were able to see their youth in a different light as they worked side by side and saw the positive change in them. It is an uphill battle, but Safe Cities is doing a great work in the communities of Cape Town South Africa. Target Area organizers were able to share their expertise with the Cape Town communities and are excited to bring back new ways of combating issues in Chicago

Safe Cities organizers also work with community pastors to help counsel and build the youths’ self-esteem. Target Area organizers worked on “the land,” as the youth call it, to help remove the brush to prepare the surface to lay the foundation of the building. “The youth are working hard and are excited about their futures. They say their lives have changed for the better because of the Safe Cities leadership,” stated Target Area Organizer, Roberta Williams. Safe Cities is also teaching residents to bake and sell their product in the open-air market. “Many of the youth are in “University” (College) to become lawyers, doctors, teachers and other professionals and are finding that they are bright and talented and do have a future outside the communities they come from. These youths say they owe it all to the Safe Cities community organization.” said Willamae Turnipseed, Target Area Organizer.

On the last week of our time in Cape Town, Safe Cities and Target organizers worked to bring the community to “the land” to interact with the youth working there. Over fifty community and family members, teachers, business owners and clergy came together to work side by side with youth whom they had feared and shunned in the past. Clergy encouraged and prayed with the youth and organizers, family and community members were able to see their youth in a different light as they worked side by side and saw the positive change in them. It is an uphill battle, but Safe Cities is doing a great work in the communities of Cape Town South Africa. Target Area organizers were able to share their expertise with the Cape Town communities and are excited to bring back new ways of combating issues in Chicago neighborhoods. This was a trip of a lifetime, and we appreciate our Executive Director, Autry Phillips for sending us to seek new ways to bring change to our area. Safe Cities Youth clearing and burning brush from the land for building foundation