Learn a skill or two from Siyabonga Africa: Brakpan’s very own skills development NPO – By Mzwandile Prince Mamaila

By Mzwandile Prince Mamaila

Siyabonga Africa’s computer literacy students. Source: Siyabonga Africa’s website

Brakpan is a town in the East of Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni. It is known to house over 305 000 residents and is historically rich in coal and gold mining since the late 1880s. More recently, as a result of drugs and a rise in crime, the town’s standard of living has become multi-layered, being home to both the well-off and the poor. In response, Siyabonga Africa has been a beacon of hope for the underprivileged residents of this deteriorating town.

Siyabonga Africa aims to reduce poverty by providing adequate skills for better chances of employment. The NPO’s significant communal work dates back to 1984 when Ronald and Yvonne Dell saw the impoverished state of living in rural and informal settlements and the need for interventions. With the assistance of other community leaders, the Dells managed to establish a feeding scheme and distribute donated clothing to the poor.

Before 2004, the NPO had reached multiple milestones, such as establishing a Christian praise centre in 1989 and establishing a childcare ministry for neglected and abused mothers and children in 1995. After being registered, the NPO introduced entrepreneurial programmes in 2007, and they are currently running the following skills training courses:

– Welding

– Early Childhood Development

– Bread & Confectionary Baking

– Fashion Design

– Vegetable Food Gardening

– Computer Literacy

Through these entrepreneurial courses, employment opportunities through the establishment of small businesses have risen significantly.

The NPO receives donations from sponsors. In addition, they have managed to grow and monetize a nutritious vegetable garden. The fresh produce from the garden is sold at affordable prices and donated to the underprivileged and other NPOs. With Vegetable Food Gardening being one of the courses offered by the NPO, they believe that having agricultural skills is essential for food security and can assist with generating income and creating employment.

Siyabonga Africa’s vegetable garden. Source: Siyabonga Africa’s website

From being a community feeding scheme to empowering and training the underprivileged, Siyabonga Africa highlights that kindness, gladness, excellence, courage, and significance have kept them in the foreground of giving back to the community for the past 39 years. Their fight against poverty is never-ending, and your contribution can help them maintain their significance for decades and centuries to come.