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Exploring Africa Since 1688

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Philanthropic visit with Uthando

Last month I took some of our guests to visit one of the Uthando sites near Cape Town.

What really struck me was that we were in the Free Burgher's original "Valley of the Vines" surrounded by ultra smart 300 year old Cape Dutch mansions; as grand a set of homes as you will find anywhere in the world, and a shanty town. Circumstances of space and poverty caused a squatter settlement to find a tiny piece of ground and like mushrooms suddenly there were thousands of people living here. Mostly Xhosa people who do not speak English or Afrikaans. Parents from this shanty town probably work in the fishing factories of Hout Bay.

With this scene and background James from Uthando took us into a shanty school, into a hall and there on the stage sat a teacher with about 20 street children successfully playing violins, cellos and other sophisticated musical instruments. The two extremes of the world met by playing music. It was an incredible experience and it left me speechless just looking and listening to the music.
Uthando South Africa (Love South Africa) is a non-profit we support. Their mission is to raise funds to support a broad range of grass roots, community based, sustainable, innovative and empowerment projects with substantial and enduring value to the most destitute and marginalized communities in South Africa.

The Free Burghers were Dutch ex-VOC (Dutch East India Company) employees released from service and granted land under certain conditions. They settled, traded with and competed with the local Khoikhoi pastoralists. They later became known as Afrikaners or Boers.

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