WE SUPPORT THE SHALK, KLIPTOWN IN SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA
The Shalk – small, little known, only a few years old, but significant. Significant in a world that many cannot even imagine: Kliptown, one of many slums in Soweto.
As a registered non-profit organization, The Shalk supports children and young people with art, dance, sports, literature, and education in an environment that is reminiscent of the favelas of Brazil. Kliptown has long been considered as dangerous. A breeding ground for a lot, but nothing that brings young people a good future. In April 2019 we came across a world of improvised rubble huts, many of which were somehow cobbled together on bare earth. No electricity, no running water. We were told that these conditions prevail in around 20% of Soweto. Soweto, the so-called “township” on the outskirts of Johannesburg, became a symbol of resistance against the apartheid policy in September 1976 – triggered by brutally suppressed student protests. For decades, Soweto once was known as a social hotspot with a lot of violence and crime. During our tour of one of the slums of Kliptown, we did not feel or see any of it, but the massive poverty was omnipresent. After a few steps and insights into the work of The Shalk, it was clear to us: Those who offer community, joint activities, security, meals, and education, lead the young generation away from influences that are destructive to the future, sow hope, and prospects.
SHAPE THE OFFSPRING FOR A BETTER TOMORROW
That is exactly what motivates The Shalk. ‘We want to protect the children from drug consumption and teenage pregnancy and from hanging around in the streets’ said Nkululeko Shelembe, co-founder of the organization during our visit in April 2019. The Shalk’s afternoon programs should keep the children busy and give them a lot of positive impulses. The organization’s initiatives include a soccer team and dance groups. Shelembe continues in the interview: ‘Our dream is to end extreme poverty. We wish that were possible all over the world.’ The Shalk was founded in 2016. A committee manages the organization. Its activities are organized and supervised by volunteers. Charmaine, one of the owners of SowetoTours.com, had led us to The Shalk as part of a half-day Soweto tour. Soweto, a bogeyman on the mind of many, turned out to be a bustling city with schools, hospitals, shopping centers, and even residential areas. And don’t forget people like you and me. To be in the various facets of Soweto with Charmaine on foot and public minibusses – exciting, thrilling, highly informative, and absolutely broadening one’s horizon. The encounter with the aid organization The Shalk and the insight into their work in the slums of Kliptown was the most impressive section for us.
CHILDLIKE CHARM IN THE MIDDLE OF MISERY
The happy, lively manner of the children who flocked towards us took away much of the inner tension with which we had started our walk through the slums. To have the little ones by the hand or our arm, in these surroundings… It gave us a good feeling for the value of The Shalk’s work. And it touched. Nothing you wish these little souls from a distant world in such a moment of immediate proximity more than that they find their happiness in life and get a chance to shape it. This encounter also deepened the impression that many and many things gave us on our travels through the world: living conditions, lifestyles, and horizons may be so different. At heart, we are all the same. Creatures of this earth, people with feelings and thoughts, hopes and fears, on the move in life, a story, somewhere between fate and self-creation. One of the big things in it is doing good for others.
We are convinced that at The Shalk, sharing is in very good hands. That’s why we are happy to support them.