Social entrepreneurs Siviwe Mbinda, founder of Happy Feet and Wandisile Nqeketho, co-founder of 18 Gangster Museum were selected by Red Bull Amaphiko to attend the annual 2016 Global Seminar in Salzburg late last month. Happy Feet is a Youth Project in an effort to provide a safe after school environment for the children in Langa. The 18 Gangster Museum is a mobile museum that raises awareness about gangsterism in Khayelitsha. The two Cape Town residents networked with changemakers from all over the world at the seminar that aims to connect social visionaries while covering various topics including sustainability, African justice issues and more.
“Wandisile and I are truly humbled that we were selected by Red Bull Amaphiko to represent South Africa and our respective towns in Salzburg. Through this wonderful opportunity we were able to present our projects to a group of changemakers from around the world which has improved my confidence in terms of telling my story” said Siviwe.
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“I had also been struggling to dream big but now my plans for my project has grown to impact more people. The seminar was for 6 days but the impact it has made to each and everyone who participated will last forever. Words like global and international no longer intimidate me because our global networks have expanded and we got to interact with other innovators which has given us new ideas to create more solutions for our communities and the world”, said Mbinda.
A former fruit and vegetable vendor and taxi driver for preschool learners, Mbinda started Happy Feet single-handedly in 2007 with donated gumboots from construction workers. Happy Feet is an after school dance and music programme that offers the youth of Langa, in Cape Town, an alternative to hopelessness, crime and substance abuse. The project also has a feeding scheme providing healthy donated meals to the youngsters twice a week – an arrangement he hopes will become an everyday occurrence. Apart from his other endeavours, Mbinda is trained as a township tourism operator and uses these connections to provide scholarships to Happy Feet youth.
On the other hand, Wandisile Nqeketho and his two partners created the 18 Gangster Museum two years ago to raise awareness about gangsterism so that people can clearly understand this societal ill. The aim is to educate people about the negative consequences of joining a gang using images, documentaries and other forms of art.
Since the inception of both projects, these two Cape Town community heroes have achieved many milestones. Over 150 children and young adults attend Happy Feet classes in a small garage in Langa and over 25 gangsters reformed gangsters through 18 Gangster Museum.
“Salzburg Global Seminar was just phenomenal and I wish that the other Amaphiko participants could’ve attended because it was enriching and informative. There were so many inspirational young people from different backgrounds who all had so much passion and knowledge to contribute” concludes Nqeketho.
“It’s not every day that one finds people who are truly genuine about helping them, and making sure that they become a success. Being part of the seminar propelled me to operate and think at a higher level”
This life changing experience was part of the Red Bull Amaphiko Academy, an 18 month development program which seeks out talented grassroots social entrepreneurs and gives them the platform to take their project to the next level. Siviwe and Wandisile were part of the 2015 class of the Red Bull Amaphiko Academy held in Langa, Cape Town. Applications for the next Amaphiko Academy which will take place in Gauteng in 2017 open soon. For more information visit www.redbullamaphiko.com