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Covid in the Kasi citizen journalist, Lerato Jane Molefe

Covid in the Kasi – Behind the Scenes Lerato Jane Molefe

I am a voice that jots down its thoughts on scripts… An eye that documents moments of history being made.

I am Lerato Jane Molefe, and I’m a photographer, scriptwriter and voice over artist based in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg. With my passion for storytelling and desire of being a revolutionary voice for the voiceless, I capture culture and lifestyle in the most artistic and unique way.

I operate my own photography company, called MB Photography SA. We specialise mostly in photojournalism. However, we also cover events, birthday celebrations, weddings and much more.  I believe that a good photograph isn’t taken but is made with precision to leave a mark.

The Lockdown has affected my business immensely, as it was shifting to becoming a stock library to supply content to magazines, newspapers, ad agencies and online platforms. The lockdown has delayed this expansion in terms of having means to get other photographers to contribute to the formation of MB Photography’s stock library.

On the bright side, I’m currently working on a campaign headed by The Wot-if? Trust, called ‘Covid in the Kasi’, which is about covering topics or issues around the township about how the pandemic is impacting the lives of many people.

The biggest challenge I’ve been facing with running my business is not having transport to get to faraway location shoots, not getting new equipment so I can capture better photographs and also not having a photo printing machine, as some of my clients like enlarging their pictures and having them printed out.

Not having access to the Father Louis Blondel Centre (FLBC) has made the digital side of running my business more difficult as there I had access to free Wi-Fi. Data is expensive so now accessing emails and business social media pages is a stretch in my pocket!

Personally, lockdown has impacted me negatively, because prior the lockdown I was completing my internship at Anza R Photography. I was getting so much industry knowledge on how to make photography a business, I was using editing software that I became quite good at using and I was seeing my photography skills elevate as well. So when lockdown hit, I was stopped from going to the office and now I’m uncertain of what the future holds for me at Anza R Photography.

Working on the Covid in the Kasi project means a lot to me, as a writer and as a photojournalist. I get to be the eye that documents history, the writer that shares human stories. I’m creating content for the township – creating it so the people’s stories I share get recognised and make an impression so that those very same people can be assisted by the public. It’s phenomenal as a creative to see the impact your work has, the hearts you reach and the eyes you open up. It makes this Covid19 crisis a lot easier to handle.

We are beings of nature and we root from the same ground.

Covid in the kasi journalist, Katlego Jonathan Pule

Covid in the Kasi – Behind the Scenes: Katlego Jonathan Pule

“You have nothing to lose until you have something to win” is a saying I live by and stand for, and which has been truly put to the test during this Covid19 pandemic.

My name is Katlego Jonathan Pule. I am the Founder of Katzshots Publisher, specializing in creating content via Photography and videos.

It’s been a struggle running my business during lockdown because there is very little demand for photography right now. My biggest market was outdoor photography, but now I don’t get clients like I used to.

Currently, I get invited to to capture the moments at places in my township where food parcels are being distributed . The Wot-if? Trust is playing a big role in my life at the moment. I am working on the ‘Covid in the Kasi’ campaign whereby I’m part of a team that creates content showing how the pandemic is affecting our community.  I didn’t know I would fall in love with being a journalist and being part of the program has opened up many doors, as our content has been helping people who are suffering in this crisis to get help from donors.

The biggest challenge I’ve faced with running my business is transport, income and equipment.  It’s very hard running a business without having transport to carry equipment, not having a laptop and using a slow computer without internet access. Clients expect me to get to the location on time, buy my own food and airtime to communicate with them and deliver their work on time using my own data.

Not having access to Father Louis Blondel Centre has been a big challenge for my business because I have no internet access, no printing machine or good equipment like a faster laptop and editing software.

Personally, the lockdown has made life difficult for me because I’m now the breadwinner in the family. My mother’s business is non-essential so she has not been able to generate an income.

The “Covid in the Kasi” has brought to my attention that most people suffer because they lack of information and that we, as journalists, telling their stories can make a huge positive impact in their lives.

Covid in the Kasi citizen journalist, Kemisetso

Covid in the Kasi – Behind the Scenes: Kemisetso Mkhululi

At the beginning of the lockdown, we launched the Covid in the Kasi social media campaign. The campaign’s aim is to show what the lockdown means for Diepsloot residents and how they are coping during these challenging and unprecedented times. We recruited a group of Diepsloot creatives (Wot-If? participants) to be our citizen journalists, bringing us authentic stories of the struggles and triumphs of the people around them. Now, we turn the cameras onto them to tell you the stories of the people working behind the scenes of #CovidintheKasi.

Kemisetso Mkhululi runs a multimedia company called Vsnry Group Consulting.

How has lockdown affected your business ? 
Places where we network with clients are not operating at the moment. This includes places where we get business development support and meet with other creatives to find out what projects we can be involved in.

What work are you doing at the moment?  
In addition to the Covid in the Kasi campaign, I am working on the #IamEssential2 social media campaign and branding for clients who are using this period to better position their businesses in their industry after the lockdown. I am also collaborating on creating a platform called Diepsloot Explora.

How has not having access to FLBC and eHUB impacted your business? 
We used the FLBC as a place for many of our meetings, networking sessions and business development. These are some of the most essential ways in which we develop the business and at the moment we are not able to do that.

What has working on the Covid in the Kasi project meant for you?
I would like to believe that it keeps those following our social media informed about how others see the impact of Covid in the Kasi (Diepsloot). I am also learning a lot about working in real time, quick planning and designing.

Covid in the Kasi – Behind the Scenes: Cleopatra Matuwane

At the beginning of the lockdown, we launched the Covid in the Kasi social media campaign. The campaign’s aim is to show what the lockdown means for Diepsloot residents and how they are coping during these challenging and unprecedented times. We recruited a group of Diepsloot creatives (Wot-If? participants) to be our citizen journalists, bringing us authentic stories of the struggles and triumphs of the people around them. Now, we turn the cameras onto them to tell you the stories of the people working behind the scenes of #CovidintheKasi.

Cleopatra Matuwane is a photographer and filmmaker. Her company is called Khava Plus Media.

How has the lockdown affected your business?

I get my profit from shooting at events. Since the lockdown events have been cancelled or postponed, contracts with potential clients have been put on hold and it is hard for me to find clients and generate a stable income. I keep busy by taking time to dive into my creativity and work on projects that I have been wanting to work on.

What work are you doing at the moment?

I am currently working part time on the Covid in the Kasi campaign with The Wot-if? Trust. We are trying to tell personal stories of how the lives of township people are being affected by the pandemic and the lockdown.

What has been the biggest challenge you faced with running your business?

Finding new clients and expanding my services to reach a wider market. Limited resources and equipment makes production slower but we make do with what we have to keep afloat.

A wise man told me that if visual artists got paid every time someone views a picture of their work people would see the value of art and the need for paying for it. Right now all I do is post and share my work on social media hoping that someone will see it and book me for a gig.

What has working on the Covid in the Kasi project meant for you?

It has taught me a lot, especially how to work remotely and keep up with deadlines. I was pretty comfortable in my field of work and this campaign pulled me out of my comfort zone of being just a visual artist. It has enhanced my writing, narration and communication skills.

How has not having access to FLBC and eHUB impacted your business?

The FLBC has been a place where we are able to connect and keep in touch with our clients using the uncapped data and the office space . The services they provide have been very valuable for me, personally, as well as my business. Now that it is closed,  it is hard for me to stay connected with my existing clients and reach out to potential clients.

How has the lockdown impacted you personally?

There’s two sides to the coin. Lockdown has made me realize that life is short and I have been using this time to work on improving my craft. Business is not going so great and that is a hard pill for me to swallow.

Duke Kgomotso, Covid in the Kasi citizen journalist

Covid in the Kasi – Behind the Scenes: Duke Kgomotso

At the beginning of the lockdown, we launched the Covid in the Kasi social media campaign. The campaign’s aim is to show what the lockdown means for Diepsloot residents and how they are coping during these challenging and unprecedented times. We recruited a group of Diepsloot creatives (Wot-If? participants) to be our citizen journalists, bringing us authentic stories of the struggles and triumphs of the people around them. Now, we turn the cameras onto them to tell you the stories of the people working behind the scenes of #CovidintheKasi.

Duke Kgomotso is a photographer, operating his business under the brand Exposure Time Media.

How has the lockdown affected your business?

Due to the lockdown, Exposure Time Media has not had any bookings for our services. The company has seen a loss in income as most of our revenue comes from events.

What work are you doing at the moment?

At the moment, I am working on the Covid in the Kasi campaign which tells stories about the pandemic from a kasi perspective. This includes taking images and writing stories that are broadcast on social media platforms. I am also involved with a few peers in the #Iamessential campaign that allows people to speak out about themselves personally and professionally – how they see themselves as being essential to their families, peers, and humanity overall. I am writing and taking images that depict life during the pandemic.

What has been the biggest challenge you faced with running your business?

The biggest challenge has been acquiring clients during this time and also facing the possibility of the business not running after this has all gone. the effect on the economy would make it harder for small business. It has also been hard to try and remodel the business so it can adapt to the drastic changes.

How has not having access to FLBC and eHUB impacted your business?

With the free uncapped wifi not being available it is costly to run a digital business without data. Data is expensive. with full access to wifi at Flbc it is easier and much more convenient to run a digital business.

How has the lockdown impacted you personally?

The lockdown has impacted me positively, personally, as it has given me an opportunity to rediscover myself as an artist and given me time to explore different  aspects of creativity. Furthermore, it has shown me that as an entrepreneur you need to be ready for disasters and plan ahead.

What has working on the Covid in the Kasi project meant for you?

Working on the project for me has meant team work and collaborating with people who have different ideas and  skills . Sometimes it has meant stress and always hard work. I have been first in line to see the effects of the pandemic in the kasi and hear stories from different people, which I attempt to tell as authentically possible.

March in Review – Before and Into the Lockdown

INTRODUCTION

We began our February newsletter commenting on the challenging start we’d had to 2020 and how it had tested our resilience, but Covid-19 and South Africa’s final downgrading to sub-investment has made everything else pale by comparison. We are incredibly proud of the Wot-if? Team for the positivity and grace with which they have handled this corona shaped curved ball.

BEFORE THE LOCKDOWN

Yes, it wasn’t that long ago! It was busy, ‘business as usual’ for Wot-if? Here are some of the highlights for March:

Eco-Brick wall

 

The wall, made of Eco Bricks, is being built as a demonstration and a test case.  We needed to see if we could teach people how to do it and whether it would be safe and durable. While incorporating known engineering practices, we used a combination of standard building materials and eco-bricks as a structural element to create the wall. To date, we have completed 2 of the 3 phases – the foundation, and the brick columns that will provide the mesh support for the eco-bricks. We estimate that we will use 850-900 eco-bricks to complete it.

For this demo, we will not be covering the eco-bricks with plaster or adobe (dugga mix) but we will paint the bottles with a UV resistant paint to maintain the integrity of the bottles. The 3rd phase will resume post- Lockdown.

A big thank you to all our volunteers who assisted, especially Majo Construction and Landscaping who assisted with a team of expert bricklayers at no charge.

Diepsloot Greening Club

Diepsloot Greening club learning how to interact with dogs

As part of our ongoing lessons about understanding and showing respect to animals, our Diepsloot Greening Club learned about safe ways to interact with domestic animals. This includes where it is safe to stroke dogs, when to leave them alone and what to do if they encounter an aggressive dog.

Blake and Celia were adopted by Father Evantus (from the Catholic Church) from Woodrock Animal Shelter in December 2019. The Roots&Shoots participants were able to meet Blake and Celia, and practice safe interactions with them. Many of the children are very afraid of dogs, and this was a golden opportunity to overcome their fear and even cuddle them, which the dogs thoroughly enjoyed.

PR Workshop for our Kasi Creative Propeller Participants 

Business PR and Branding workshop for Kasi Creative Propeller participants

Five selected creative entrepreneurs have been working as interns at creative agencies for the past two months. With the end of their internship drawing to a close, the interns attended a workshop facilitated by B-Gold on how best to market themselves and their small businesses. The workshop covered how branding can add value to their organisation, identifying trends that can be useful to them and how to implement trends and new ideas into their businesses. Our relationship with the Goethe Institute has made this all possible.

Ericsson Digital Lab Programme

Ericsson Digital Lab Game Development Module, teaching coding to kids

The 25 learners have successfully completed Robotics (the first of 3 modules). They will continue to learn the basics of programming, but this time in the context of game development (module 2). Prior to the school holidays, they completed session 1 of Game Development in which they familiarised themselves with Scratch (a block-based programming language for children) and started building their backgrounds and characters (sprites).

We are especially proud of the energy and commitment from our team of facilitators, Angela Mila, Kagiso Mkhonza, Zandile Dube, Lesego Ramaphakela and Aubrey Nkosi , who have put in many extra hours to ensure that the learning is effective and the learners have fun in the process.

We are delighted to be partnering with Ericsson on this initiative.

 

SaveAct

Wot-if partnering with Save Act on group savings programme for our participants - image by micheile-henderson-SoT4-mZhyhE-unsplash

Saving has become vitally important given the current state of the SA economy. We have partnered up with SaveAct, an organisation that runs a programme on forming and running savings groups. With their support, we will be encouraging our participants and staff to formalise their own savings groups.

THE COVID-19 LOCKDOWN CHALLENGE

The current reality

We have had to close the centre, which represents a daily lifeline to close to 80 entrepreneurs. No access to computers or data and for many who rely on it daily, no more UBU lunches.  Most of our participants and employees are enduring lockdown in cramped living conditions. Some live in shacks and have to share access to water taps and toilets with many other families. Social distancing becomes virtually impossible in these circumstances. Add to this the loss of income for them and their families and many other people in Diepsloot and you are looking at a dire situation.

As an organisation, we face the prospect of loss of contributions, due to donors themselves in economic distress. We are working during the lockdown period to look at strategies for ourselves surviving, with our participant SME’s and beneficiaries, in the coming months. Click here to see our #KasiKwarantine call for help vlog.

Coronavirus Education

Diepsloot girl helping her neighbour wash hands during Covid19 lockdown

Shortly before the lockdown was announced we ran an education programme for all our participants, especially the Roots & Shoots children, teaching them the importance of hygiene and social distancing in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Given the unreliability of clean, running water in Diepsloot, each participant was taught how to make hand wash and home cleaner which they then took home to their families.

The children were given educational games, books and activities to help with the boredom and stress of being confined at home.

Participant Support

Kasi boredom book club library providing participants with literature for the lockdown

We were very concerned about the wellbeing of our participants during the lockdown and the thought of sending them home with nothing really scared us. Thanks to donations from our funders and some generous individuals, we were able to send each of our participants home with a box of Nutriwell, a bottle of hand sanitizer and even some nice chocolates for Easter, provided by Big Five Duty Free. We also opened a “Kasi Boredom Bookclub” library so that they would have some good literature to keep them occupied.

Staying in Touch

providing data to stay connected to our participants during lockdown - image by allie-smith-gouPqaau9Qo-unsplash

In a time of social disconnect, staying connected digitally has never been more important. To facilitate our participants and employees staying in touch with each other and what is happening, Wot-if? is providing much needed data which allows us to provide remote support . We are using this as an opportunity for information dissemination , verified updates on how people can access funding and support for those in distress or at risk and to ensure some level of wellbeing during this time.

Covid in the Kasi social media campaign

#CovidintheKasi campaign example

We have engaged  our participants who work in the content creation space to be our citizen journalists on the ground during Lockdown. Their brief is to provide video footage, stories, commentary and photographic coverage of life in lockdown from a township perspective.  Please Follow, like and share #CovidintheKasi on social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram)

Food Packs

Covid response Diepsloot food security project

We have been working tirelessly to raise funds for more boxes of Nutriwell.  The harsh reality is that many people in Diepsloot are more worried about where the next meal will come from than the virus. So far we have managed to buy and distribute 400 boxes of Nutriwell.  This has been made possible by Dariel, Fujitsu SA, One School at a Time, and many kind and caring individuals in our network. The food packs are being distributed through our network of staff and people on the ground who alert us to vulnerable families needing help. Our social worker, Sheila remains available, even within the confines imposed by the lockdown and she has been engaging with those who have reached out to us.  Sadly, many animals are also being abandoned or are going hungry during this time and we have also been fundraising for dog food. You can still help.

IN CLOSING –  A MEMORABLE MOMENT

Fokus TV show filming the eco brick project at Father Louis Blondel Centre, Diepsloot

Fokus (current affairs programme on SABC 2) heard about our Eco-brick and Eco Trading Store programme. They came to film some of our very proud and excited Roots & Shoots children trading in the store and making their own hand wash liquid. Follow our social media pages, where we will share the link once it has been aired.

 

Digital lab kids posing with robots

Month in Review: February 2020

 

The start to 2020 has been very busy, very challenging and it is definitely a testament to the resilience of the Wot-if? Team and our participants that we have carried on despite flooding, shack fires, service protests and, unfortunately, another break-in. As the song goes, “We get knocked down, but we get up again!”

 

OUR IMPACT STATEMENT

Wot-if Impact statement: Participants in our programmes achieving thriving and resilient livelihoods

The Wot-if? Team came together during two thought-provoking and strategically important workshops: The Global Warriors workshop was held in November where we were inspired to work on ourselves as a strong, but kind team. We chose the team mascot: a pangolin, because it has a hard shell, but a soft inside. It is also unique… as are we.

 

Wot-if team members participating in activity

 

Building on this amazing journey, in January we were led by Embedding Impact to apply the Theory of Change to our reason for being and strategy. We now have a clear road map and renewed sense of purpose to facilitate our participants to achieve thriving and resilient livelihoods.

Thank you to Globalwarriors.com and Embedding Impact for assisting us on this journey.

 

TECH AND CREATIVE

 

Wot-if participants working on live streaming set

WATCHA shadowing opportunity – On the 12th of February, three of our videographers were given the opportunity to broadcast with Watcha at the TUKS Athletic Stadium, as a proof of concept. They were given valuable field work experience, working on live streaming and camera work. The day was so successful that there may be other opportunities to gain experience.

 

Digital lab kids posing with robots

Ericsson Digital Lab – 30 excited children enrolled in this wonderful opportunity to learn about robotics, game development and electronics. Five Participants have been trained up as facilitators for the rollout. Their enthusiasm and commitment to helping these children is heart-warming.  Many of the learners have little or no exposure to the digital and tech world, so this is a potentially life-changing experience.

 

Goethe CET award winners posing

Internships Sponsored by Goethe Institut – Last year, our Kasi Creative Propeller group participated in The Creative Economies in Townships (CET) programme run by The Goethe Institut. As part of this programme, they followed a sales training course that took place over 6 months, which culminated in an expo where each participant was required to present their business to a panel of judges. We are very proud to announce that 5 of our participants came out on top, winning internship placements in their respective fields. The internships commenced at the beginning of February, and this is what some of the participants have to say:

“I have learned a lot here because as a content creator I never knew exactly how to write a treatment or how to break it into a sellable content” – Patrick Merementsi, videographer

“In an attempt to enrich my design skills, I’m actually learning more about other things I didn’t even have in mind, like hard deadlines, effective and concise visual communication and large print design.” – Sifiso Masilela, Filmmaker

 

GREENING AND SUSTAINABILITY

 

Butternuts growing in Wot-if vegetable garden

The Seeds of Hope Project – These impressive butternuts were grown from seeds our Roots & Shoots children traded for Eco Bucks (for trading in the Eco Trading Store). The seeds were planted in the veggie garden on Mandela day and were then harvested to produce our Ubu lunches, a healthy meal available to our participants. This is the circular economy in action.

 

Roots & Shoots kids working in food garden

The Diepsloot Greening club (run by Roots and Shoots SA)– has been very active this term. They bring in compost and recycling materials  that can be used in the garden or to earn Ecobucks (virtual “currency” that can be exchanged in the Eco Trading Store). The group has grown to a fabulous 115 participants this year and we’re delighted to welcome our new volunteer facilitator, Petunia, who will be starting in the last week of February.

This term the children have already identified many projects that they would like to undertake for 2020:

Animals –  Bird Feeders

Environment – Recycling & Wetland Clean-ups

People – Food Gardens & Knitting squares for blankets

The participants also developed their own Code of Conduct based on the way they would like to be treated. We used this opportunity to cover what respect means to different people, and examples of how to show respect to animals, people and the environment in Diepsloot. Our Social Worker, Sheila explained to the children that elders in their community are not always right just because they are older than them. Showing respect to someone does not require that you have to accept behaviour that you know is wrong or that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. The children were given examples and information on who to reach out to, should they need to talk about any form of abuse.

 

Happy, carefree kids

The Emergency Pedagogy team held a full morning session with all the participants, and gave a briefing with all the facilitators present on the day. This covers how to work in the education space with children who are affected by trauma. Please visit the website for more information

 

The Saturday Youth Development programme –started on the 25th January at Shumbashaba. We continued with the theme of respect for animals, people and the environment. The two groups developed a song that embodies this meaning for them.

 

MEMORABLE MOMENT

 

Diepsloot boy with pram purchased in Eco Trading Store

This special young man saved 350 Ecobucks to buy this double pram for his mom. He wanted to make it easier for her to carry his siblings through the township. His selflessness attracted the Good News Guy who featured him in an article. The second-hand pram was donated to the Trust. Wot If? accept donations from the public to help them stock the Eco Trading Store. Some of the things that can be purchased using Ecobucks includes school stationery, clothing, household items such as crockery and cutlery, food items etc.

67 Days of Digital Activism 2019

Every year Mandela Day sees hordes of people flocking to townships, orphanages, care facilities, early childhood development centres and food gardens to do their 67 minutes or a few hours of ‘giving back’. There are a few who don’t quite make it and their fallback is usually ‘oh well there is always next year’.  I guess the thought of considering tomorrow or next week or every month or twice a year doesn’t quite prevail.

A few years back we saw this mad scramble that had people feeling it was the 18th of July or nothing and as a result we lauched 67 days of Digital Activism. This gives people a chance to partner and achieve meaningful outcomes rather than merely ‘give back’ and they can do this over 67 days.  Fortunately for us, 67 Days from Mandela Day lands us right in the middle of the UN General Assembly in New York, which culminates in the Social Good Summit.

This year both Mandela Day and the Social Good Summit celebrate 10 years of existence and this year both events are promoting action and activation. Mandela Day promoted Action against Poverty and the Social Good Summit is planning constructive dialogues and activations around Climate Change. Our 67 Days Campaign is also overlapping with Peace Day which is observed by the UN on the 22nd of September and the theme for 2019 is Climate Action for Peace.

So what does any of this have to do with digital activism? A lot, actually. Other than the fact that these events provide us with our 67-day window, they are all about ACTION, taking a stand, not accepting the status quo, moving forward and seeking change.

Digital Activism is typically defined as the use of digital technology in campaigning. Our point of departure for Digital Activism is in a township context and seeks to expose our participants to the opportunities available in a Digital World or to showcase what we have done or plan to do to ensure that our township tech and creative community are relevant and have the necessary skills and resources to access opportunities out there. Our digital activism takes the form of a campaign with our donor community and partners that has an intense digital focus and is action and outcomes orientated.

Our 67 Days campaign has comprised of some pretty awesome interventions and activities this year which included

  • Participants attending Media Tech Africa and Cultural Economies Digital Innovation Conference
  • The showcasing of the short films made by the women using mobile technology
  • 5 Teams sponsored to enter the 48-hour film festival (and attend the screenings)
  • Finalising the plans for a recording studio at our eHUB facility in Diepsloot
  • The scoping of the showcasing part of our planned digital media platform
  • Our Creative participants attending animation, business, sales, social media and implementation workshops
  • The launch of a Digital Lab that will train local youth as trainers, who in turn will teach children about robotics, gaming and coding.

The most exciting thing for us is that for the past 5 years we have hosted a Social Good summit meetup in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg and this year will be no exception. We will have dialogues around the themes about action for the environment and action for peace, and in the end we will see how we can use technology and a digital focus for good and to effect the change we seek in our township ecosystem.

The Digital Lab is an initiative by Ericsson that aims to get children excited about the possibilities of technology and begin preparing them for the jobs of the future . The programme is still  fairly young, and this is the first roll-out outside of Europe. Training of the trainers begins this month in Diepsloot, and the courses will officially begin early next year. Watch our social media pages for Digital Lab milestones. 

Vote for Women – Put Your Money Where Your Mouth is

We all enjoy the feel-good messages that circulate on women’s day. However, without action all those quotes don’t mean much. One impactful way to empower women is to support female-owned businesses.

At the Wot-if? Trust, empowering Women has always been high on our agenda. Our Handcraft and Production programme is designed to create employment for older women by equipping them with the resources and skills needed to make handmade items (baby blankets, toys, ponchos, scarves, beanies) that are sold at markets. Their range can be viewed on their Facebook page, Africa Works, and orders can be placed by direct message (DM).

Our support of women in the Creative industries includes  filmmaking courses for women and support of women run businesses.  We encourage the participation of women in all our programmes, especially in the tech and creative space. Two of the ‘rising stars’ we are showcasing this month are women-led businesses.

The first is Alvada Creations, who are set to feature soon in Vogue Italy! They debuted at Torino Fashion Week last year and were invited back this year. Their second collection was as well received as the first, resulting not only in the Vogue feature but also an invitation to show at Uganda Fashion Week, which took place on the 5th of August.

The label is run by designer Salva Thsukudu Pasha and her partner Thabang Maila. When asked what’s next for Alvada, the pair said that they were pushing hard to get a spot at SA Fashion Week. They are also negotiating a deal with a national retailer.  Their collection can currently be shopped in their online store.

If you’re Kaya FM listener, you’ve probably heard talk  of them venturing in to the E-commerce sector. One of their suppliers is Cynthia Thusi, the creator of Tlou Collections. Cynthia creates African themed corporate gifts. She has been a supplier to Kaya FM for some time, and now her beautiful picnic blankets can be found on shopkayafm.co.za

For now, the business operates out of her home in Diepsloot, but Cynthia has dreams of taking her brand global. She currently employs two women part time, and more on an ad hoc basis when she has large orders. Her goal is to use her business to empower more women and other black-owned businesses – a true Wot-if? Star! Cynthia also sells gorgeous handbags and purses to the public. View her range on Instagram (DM for orders).

By buying from local, female-owned businesses, you not only help support their families but also  the local economy, so put your money where your mouth is! All month, we’ll be introducing you to the other female entrepreneurs we support, so watch our social media pages.

Red Bull Gives a Wot-if? Trust Participant Wings

On the 27th of June, the world celebrated MSME (Micro-, Small and Medium Enterprises) day. The mere recognition of this day by the UN is confirmation that we are on track with the work we do in Diepsloot, supporting entrepreneurs. Recently, one of our participants, Nondumiso Sibiya, was accepted into the RedBull Amaphiko Academy.

The article below was written by her business partner, Sbusiso Shongwe. It tells us about her experience and how being a Wot-if? participant helped Boombadotmobi get to where they are now.

RedBull Amaphiko Academy is a global programme that champions social entrepreneurs driving positive change in their respective communities. The programme’s key focus is in developing and supporting the visions of these young eager entrepreneurs and their groundbreaking initiatives through a storytelling format.

One fortunate Social Entrepreneur who took part in the 2019 programme is Nondumiso Sibiya from Boombadotmobi, a Diepsloot-based waste management business platform that connects waste generators with waste collectors in order to facilitate responsible waste disposal. Nondumiso says the eight-day Bootcamp, which took place in Durban early this month, was a game changer.   

“Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey. Being with other social entrepreneurs under one roof, sharing similar values makes one realise that one is doing the right thing. The Bootcamp made it possible for me to be the first one in my family to fly in an airplane and stay in a 5-star hotel near the beach.”

“I love storytelling and meeting people like Saray Khumalo who recently summited Mount Everest, and South African celebrated storyteller, Gcina Mhlophe, made it all the more fun. They both shared their stories and the impact they have had in their respective communities and across the globe.”

Boombadotmobi was founded in 2017 when Nondumiso and her business partner noticed the scourge of illegal dumping in Diepsloot. Upon discovering that the waste was coming from outside Diepsloot, they quickly sought a solution to address the problem. Now they collect waste directly from the generators and redirect its final destination.

“We send pictures to our customers to assure them their waste is responsibly disposed of.” says Nondumiso.

She says starting a business is like raising a baby. A business needs the care of an understanding parent but equally important is having a supportive family structure.

“The Wot-if? Trust has been that family structure. They have seen us crawl, learning to stand, taking that first uncertain step, and learning to walk”, added Nondumiso.

She says that without the support from The Wot-if? Trust, she would not have known about the RedBull Amaphiko Academy. Being an online business platform, constant access to the internet is crucial for the success of Boombadotmobi. So is the constant need to master as many business skills as possible.  

“The Wot-if? Trust has made available business skills development like Economic Literacy, record keeping, invoicing, social media master classes and others. I think doing this on my own would have cost a lot of money and taken a long time.”

just as it takes a village to raise a child, local entrepreneurs require the support of a community. By buying local products and services, you help feed a family or send a child to school or allow a one man business to grow and employ someone else.