The songo.info organisation has grown from humble beginnings. Everything started with Songo Fipaza’s dream to uplift Kayamandi, the community that he has lived in for numerous years of his life and where he has been working hard to bring about change for his community.
The festive and vibrant community of Kayamandi, meaning “Sweet Home”, accommodates over 33 000 people who live in various structures from formal houses to shack dwellings. Approximately 70% of the community live in informal settlements without access to services such as water and toilet facilities. Unemployment is high and total income per family is significantly low.
As a result social issues run rampant, from malnutrition and hygiene, to the challenges around keeping children safe from the perils of poverty and unemployment including alcohol and drug abuse.
Education is another fundamental issue where there is a distinct lack of English speaking schools in the area, and where the existing schools are heavily oversubscribed with a great lack of facilities and good quality education. As a result many children are struggling to pass grades and obtain matriculation qualifications. This further exacerbates the social issues of unemployment and hopelessness.
The history of Kayamandi has not always been sweet or vibrant where the community, established nearly 100 years ago, has undergone significant prejudice from surrounding communities. In its founding days the community, based opposite Stellenbosch Wineries was called “Kafferland” and was under significant pressure from local farmers who wanted the community moved. In 1941 Kayamandi was officially recognised as a “location” and the move began to relocate black people in the region into the “location”. Formal services evolved slowly however with the Abolition of Influx Control Act in 1986, which had previously significantly restricted movement of black people in white areas, the community saw rapid growth, far too quickly and too many people for the resources available. Currently 33 000 people live in 75 hectares, where services are evolving slowly. The lack of educational facilities is also significantly impacted on the future of the community.
Social issues exist in multitudes in Kayamandi however Songo Fipaza has recognised the value in creating a community for children and a safe place for them to grow and develop.
It is Songo’s dream to provide his children with the possibility to go out and achieve their dreams, no matter how big or small, providing opportunities that have not been available to his community. His goals are significant: to look after and protect our children; and to provide them with opportunities as all children should have with the belief that anything is possible.