Every morning Nomute and the volunteers from the Vuka Nomtoboyi Culture Home for orphans and vulnerable children began their day cooking breakfast for 75 children on an open fire. They fed them and then started the preparations all over again for lunch, and then dinner. Day after day relying on firewood and flame.
But now, thanks to the proceeds from the sale of photo books created by the talented photographers in the Kujaja team, enough funds were raised to supply the home with a gas cooker, a fridge, pots and crockery. This has changed their daily lives in the most fundamental way.
A little money was set aside to give the children a party. The celebration gave the home an opportunity to show their deep gratitude for the donation. These are a few photographs from the day.
The children were each given hotdogs, juice, party packs, popcorn, biscuits and a slice of an enormous chocolate cake! There was enough to give the extra children in the area a treat too, so in all over 100 were provided for.
Waiting in the sun for her turn to dance.
The orange skirt is traditional dress.
Mamphela Ramphele warns that it is the black male youth we need to look out for. What do we expect from a teenage boy, lacking in family guidance, with little hope for employment and driven by testosterone?
Gangsterism and crime is a growing concern in these areas, and they learn the language early.
Iron containers serve as 'apartments'. This is the playground for the hall we used for the party.
Little girls sit patiently while the elders make preparations.
Here is the kitchen where the food for the children is prepared.
The corn is grown by the community.
Cutting up squash for the stew. This was also grown by the community.
Little girls doing their dance routine, and taking things very seriously!
Like the sound of the heartbeat in the womb, the drums can send you into a dream like state.
Baby with an 18 year old mom. Uneducated and vulnerable, mom and baby rely on the community for any kind of assistance. The mothers chance of elevating herself out of the cycle of poverty, now that she has a child, is virtually non existent.
Listening to close on two hours of thanksgiving speeches.
He arrived with a traditional blanket over his shoulder, carrying a knobkierrie* and proceeded to recite Xhosa poems of thanks. * african club
Watching the boys do the gumboot dance, entranced by their quick, agile steps in boots that are many sizes too big for them.
umlungu hands The little girls fascinated by the
The little girls fascinated by the Goggos hands.
This little boy in particular was extremely curious, and i sneaked him a biscuit before everyone else came inside. Here he succumbs to the exhaustion of excitement, on a pillow of a chest.
It happened to be his birthday, so in tradition he was 'painted' with the cake icing.
This little boy is three and has lost both his parents to HIV AIDS. His sweets were stolen by one of the older boys, but the little girls brought him inside and found some biscuits for him. He was very shy but I managed to get a smile out of him, eventually.
This is Fikile, a quiet and gentle man. He was once an orphan in the same home. Now he comes back and helps with their singing and dancing classes. There is the smile!
Traditional ankle bracelets made of fabric and metal tops, to add a shaking sound in time with the drumbeat.
after the dance
the party is over ...
But we have lollipops!
Home is around the corner, down a sandy alley and through the door of a corrugated iron shack.