With Muizenberg CAN and Vrygrond United 4 Change / Spaza Hub

The focus of the engagement was on supporting these youths to develop response strategies to the crisis. They undertook a mapping exercise where resources were identified in the form of sewing machines, seamstresses, printers, social workers, leaders, garden spaces, business mentors, local traders, people willing to cook, stoves, pots, available spaces and existing community kitchens. A fundraising campaign was established, food distribution systems set up and in the course of 4 weeks, the group “Vrygrond United 4 Change” was formed, and 10 new kitchens were up and running in an attempt to ensure everyone had access to at least one meal a day, relatively close to home.

The response to Covid-19 brought to light extraordinary individuals who pulled together, pooling skills, resources and time, to build relationship with each other and collectively respond to a very unknown circumstance. The complexity of navigating broken systems, in an incredibly unjust world, in the middle of a pandemic can be overwhelming, but we believe that if we can come together the way we did on the arrival of the pandemic, we can indeed make positive change that lasts long beyond Covid.

The youth leaders of this movement are in the process of transitioning from emergency response mode into long term resilience thinking. This has resulted in the formation of the Spaza Hub – with the vision of offering a safe and inspiring learning space for the community to support each other’s dreams and visions for a better future.

What we have learnt from the response

“We believe that what needs transforming in the world and in our work, is our ability to connect with each other as humans. In the world today, there is so much division that connecting can be very difficult. The one thing that can bring us together though, is food. We came together to make sure that everyone in our community could get food through these difficult times. This did indeed create many amazing connections, across all kinds of divides, but it also created division, and brought up many community dynamics that were very painful and frustrating.”

Right one year after the beginning of the pandemic, we reflected on learnings and experiences of our Covid-19 response. Moments of reflection and silence are so important to make sense of the world around us.

The reflections are part of a research project by TESF to provide insight into lessons learned from education, training, and/or social learning approaches applied or tried out during the COVID-19 period (between March 2020 – March 2021) in South Africa, with a focus on adaptations or innovations in education, training or social learning. Click here for a summary of some of our key learnings and methodologies that we used for the reflection process.

With special thanks to the team behind TESF (Transforming Education For Sustainable Futures) for this research opportunity and their special support.

Muizenberg Community Action Network is a group of more than 150 volunteers from Muizenberg coming together to take care of each other as a collective in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We join over 140 community action networks (CANs) as part of the greater Cape Town Together initiative.

  • Community response to Covid-19 in Muizenberg
  • Develops new systems and logistics
  • Collaborating closely with Vrygrond

Vrygrond United 4 Change is a group of around 30 volunteers from Vrygrond / Capricorn and Overcome Heights seeking to create resilient strategies to get their communities through what the future may bring.

  • Community response to Covid-19 in Vrygrond
  • Develops new systems and logistics
  • Collaborating closely with Muizenberg CAN

AMAVA OLUNTU is a Muizenberg based NPC that works to build community through supporting youths to create and implement their own solutions to prevailing challenges they are facing.

  • Fundraising and Administration of Covid-19 response in Muizenberg and Vrygrond
  • Focus on leadership support and mentoring of mobilizers in Vrygrond