Cape Town - In an area grappling with crime and high unemployment, the newly-launched community centre in Philippi Village should go a long way to equipping and developing the youth with skills and career guidance in a safe and enabling environment.
The centre is an addition to the existing complex of smaller container spaces for entrepreneurs and sports and arts facilities at the former cement factory, which has been turned into an entrepreneurial and social space.
It boasts a fully-equipped digital resource centre where the youth would receive career guidance, a boardroom for discussions, and a safe and stimulating after-care facility that would also be running holiday programmes to support parents who are required to work during the school holidays.
The centre is the brainchild of Salt Employee Benefits CEO Eddie Strydom, who said although Philippi Village would be the first location for this Rootz facility, it is envisaged that the multi-purpose centre would be replicated in similar communities across South Africa so that resources and services were offered to empower the youth nationwide.
Philippi Village tenant manager Shevon Baartman said the village prided itself in supporting organisations and local businesses with a focus on community inclusion, and with a response to social challenges affecting the Philippi community.
She said Rootz’s objective in the space aligns with the vision that the village has for the residents of Philippi and surrounding areas, as well as its tenants.
Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC Anroux Marais said the department had done much research into the benefits of facilitated after-school activities to help children at under-resourced schools gain the tools needed to help them close the opportunity gap.
Marais said after-school activities can support socio-economic, cognitive and academic behaviour, and offer youth at risk a safe space to be after school hours, while also fostering a sense of belonging.
“Youth in areas that are hard-hit by social ills such as gangsterism and the drug trade often feel despondent due to their circumstances. They are enticed into the world of these social ills through the promise of money and status.
“We must intervene and break this cycle by offering youth alternatives and helping them believe that they can go on to greater things,” she said.
Philippi community facilitator Ntsikelelo Qinga said the provision of these resources would be a critical undertaking towards combating crime, poverty and unemployment.
“We would like to officially welcome Rootz facilities to our space and also to congratulate them on bringing this beautiful idea into existence,” Qinga said.
“These facilities will restore hope, extend education and develop our community, and provide a safe space for the youth of Philippi Village. We will guide and support where we can, and hope that their roots can grow and expand so that together we can grow.”