We've reached our initial goal and will be able to launch the community center!
Thanks so much to everyone. However, our costs will continue on an ongoing basis. Everything you contribute over the base amount will go to our future needs. So please keep spreading the word! Also, contact us at [email protected] to discuss ongoing financial support.
A community organizing space providing key resources for grassroots organizers and community members in Salt River (Soutrivier) and surrounding areas of Cape Town.
This will be a drop-in space for meetings, performances, and services. It will be staffed by a volunteer collective, two of whom will reside onsite. Through partnerships, our goal is to provide a wide range of services to the community, including legal, medical, child care, and community projects, as well as information about human rights, gender-based violence, and workers' rights.
This will extend the organizers' existing work which is based in: a refugee encampment in nearby Kensington, an occupied former hospital in neighboring Woodstock (Cissie Gool House), and a bottom-up newsletter to report and record community members' own lives.
Ntirhisano is a Xitsonga/Shangaan word that means working together. Naming the community center Ntirhisano seeks to bridge geographical, linguistic, and political divides. As well as to acknowledge the migration of languages, people, and cultures, the initiative aims to consolidate a sense of solidarity between disparate and oppressed groups, of which Cape Town has a rich history.
We are committed to promoting and advancing a long-standing tradition of solidarity against oppression with consideration, care, and sensitivity. We believe the name Ntirhisano will intrigue, trigger, reignite and reinforce multiple layers overlapping deep within the human consciousness. Rediscovering ways to help communities and participate where people have always taken care of one another in many years of hardship
There will be resonance from both these anticipated activities and those already underway. We'll achieve these objectives through using critical material, engaging in discussions and readings, holding debates and discussions, gathering and organizing information, visiting communities, and teaching.
The goal is to move into the space in February 2022. Preparatory remodeling has already begun in December.
We are a diverse group of activists and organizers frame a variety of race and class backgrounds; from secondary school students through experienced middle-aged organizers.
Some of us spent years organizing amongst the waste-pickers in Makhanda as part of the Mass Solidarity Movement which we draw on as experience. More recently, we have built rich relationships through our work in Woodstock, at Cissie Gool house, and Kensington, at the refugee camp, especially among those largely written off by mainstream NGOs.
We have negotiated a lease of R6 500/month for the space ($425 / €375). We anticipate other expenses (for basic food and transport, utilities, maintenance, and promotions) of as little as R3 500/month ($225 / €200).
These will be ongoing expenses, and we will be developing an ongoing pool of sponsors who can help maintain the effort (possibly including you!). We also plan to launch a cafe to subsidize costs.
But for this campaign, to launch the space, we need to raise a minimum of 3 months' expenses, or R30 000 ($1950 / €1725).
We need this money by January 15, 2022 to demonstrate feasibility and move in by February 2022. Please help!
We have witnessed how the grassroots communities are ready to standup and fight for what is theirs. But in most incidences, you find these that the solidarity with these communities is separated from existing societal structures. This includes everyday existence: from body language, deeds, aspirations, values and even where we live. Many leaders or facilitators are living lifestyles or aspiring to lifestyles contrary to grassroots realities. They do not realize that the masses are intelligent humans like everyone else! The problem is there are no structures immediately available for the rank and file to express themselves, and as a result, they fall back on societal structures which are fundamentally patriarchal, capitalist, neo-colonial, and statist.
Our movement is therefore rebuilding revolutionary movement that will activate structures and platforms already existing in grassroots communities. The Ntirhisano Community Centre thus acts as a resource for local communities to rebuild, reactivate and consolidate revolutionary structures from the base. We will make contact with community activists and arrange visits to their communities, where we can learn and invite them to use the resources of the Community Centre. The movement is centered primarily around informal and formal workers, homeless people, refugees, rural communities and urban poor communities. The Ntirhisano Community Centre aims to play the role of a locus for communities to organize, be creative and feel included.
The ntirhisano.mp4 below was created on December 4, inside the space where Ntirhisano Community Centre (NCC) will be based:
The following are some links to Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) podcast, newsletters, videos and etc.
The following is the Soundcloud link. Monde Xinwa, one of the waste-pickers and a member of the waste pickers' movement in Makhanda is talking on the Radio Grahamstown about the waste pickers' experiences at the Makana municipal landfill: