The communities in and around Cape Town are what gives the city its characteristically rich and vibrant heartbeat. It’s the people that make the city, and that’s why responsible tourism is so important to the Mother City. When you support an attraction or activity that gives back to the community, you not only help to grow and uplift the people of Cape Town, you also allow the city’s heart to beat in yours.
Here are some attractions and activities that contribute to communities:
Juma Street Art Tours
Artist and tour guide, Juma Mkwela is well known, and much loved in Woodstock and the suburbs of Khayelitsha where he takes visitors on guided walking tours of these neighbourhoods’ street art. He’s also passionate about getting involved with the community, and no tour is complete without painting a wall or helping a local plant their own vegetable garden.
Tea Bag Factory
The Original T-Bag Factory was started in 2000 by Jill Heyes as a way to help the community of the impoverished informal settlement of Imizamo Yetho, in Hout Bay (where a devastating fire recently swept through the township, leaving thousands destitute and in need). The team consists of local community members design and make a number of items from used tea bags, including greeting cards, artworks and more.
See www.tbagdesigns.co.za for more info.
Thandi Wines & Enaleni Vineyards
Established and supported by world-renowned wine producers and exporters, Stellenbosch Vineyards, Thandi Wines is the first Thandi Wines is a black-owned Fairtrade wine brand, the biggest in South Africa. Nearly 250 farm workers and their families are shareholders in Thandi Wines. Stellenbosch Vineyards also recently launched the Fairtrade-accredited wine farm, Enaleni Vineyards, for which they provide business support such as marketing, finance, winemaking, and skills development.
Visit www.enalenivineyards.co.za for more info.
Spier – Pack For A Purpose
World-famous Spier is one of the Western Cape’s most well-known wine farms, and is a favourite among tourists and locals alike. The farm invests in their community, and runs a number of social outreach projects – from social justice, the arts, socio-environmental development, to enterprise development. One of the most exciting projects is Pack For Purpose, a social justice programme encourages visitors to spare some space in their suitcases and pack a something for one of the projects – each project has specific needs, such as stationary, toiletries or children’s books.
See www.spier.co.za/farm/sustainability/pack-for-a-purpose for more details.
Committed to educating and raising awareness about cheetahs – the world’s fastest land animal, which is also endangered – this project was founded in 1997. It was started by Annie Beckhelling, in Somerset-West, about 45 minutes outside Cape Town, and has made major strides in creating awareness for the plight of these magnificent creatures. They run various research programmes, as well as activities which visitors can participate in.
Visit www.cheetah.co.za for more info
Situated in the heart of the CBD is one of Cape Town’s oldest and most well-known hostels, The Backpack. In addition to offering great accommodation for budget travellers, they also contribute to a number of community projects, ranging from sports to skills development. Visitors have an opportunity to contribute to these projects by simply donating their room key deposit. The Backpack also supports the Pack For A Purpose programme.
For more information visit backpackers.co.za/responsible-tourism/pack-for-a-purpose
Dining in the dark
Cape Town Society for the Blind’s (CTSB) Dining in the Dark events puts you in the shoes of a blind person by hosting a dinner in a dark room with no lights. These dinners create awareness for the blind, as well as the opportunity to contribute to the outreach efforts of the CTSB. For more information contact email@example.com
Read more about Dining in the dark.
Situated in Somerset-West, the Imibala Trust makes a difference in the lives of children from impoverished homes by offering various programmes such as arts, math and computer literacy, and more. They also have a restaurant on the premises run by esteemed chef, Nicole Dupper, and all profits from the restaurant, as well as the cookery school she runs, goes towards the trust. In addition, you can get involved in Imibala’s Sponsor-a-child programme.
For more info visit www.imibala.com
Uthando Social Development Projects, or Thando (Love), is involved with a wide range of community projects, from education to animal welfare, health, unemployment and even working with refugees and migrants. Their philanthropic cultural tours take visitors to a number of these community projects, as well as providing in-depth information about a number of issues facing the community like economic, political and social struggles.
See www.uthandosa.org for more info.