Cape Town’s prolific waterfront community is paying tribute to light and hope this year. It’s a seven day celebration and yesterday on day two it was dedicated to the spirit of compassion.
At midnight on the 31stof December 2020 the V&A shone a light of hope from the precinct which, on clear nights, will be visible throughout the city and surrounding suburbs. The beam, which consists of 36 vertical searchlights, forms part of the Waterfronts’ Tribute of Light and Hope which will run for seven days. Day 2 zoned in on compassion and this 123 hectare neighborhood is building the essence of giving back into their very DNA.
The V&A sees one of its roles on the continent as being a platform that drives positive social and economic change. By prioritising people and the planet, the V&A is an example of how working with communities, respecting the environment and operating with passion and integrity is a better, more productive and kinder way of doing business. 2020, with all its curve ball challenges served to sharpen this multi purpose destination’s attempts at giving back meaningfully and as we hold the light up to the spirit of compassion, we look into some of the ways the Waterfront has led from the front when it comes to spreading good will.
The Heart of Filling the Belly
With Heart of Filling the Belly, a campaign launched last year which supported the V&A’s food and beverage tenants, the pillars of Community, Upliftment and Food for locals came to life. The campaign was a catalyst response to the tremendous need for food relief at the outset of Covid-19.
Collaboration was the driving force behind this food relief program and those involved managed to chop, dice and cook up to 2000 meals a day. Working in partnership with Den Anker, Via Vittoria, Radisson Red, Grand Beach Café and the Oranjezicht Farmers Market, the Waterfront’s partnership allowed them to support local NGOs like Ladles of Love, Hebron Project, The Justice Desk and The Rhulani Mabasa Children’s Foundation.
To date Heart of Filling the Belly has shared 117 040 meals with hungry bellies in need.
Watch here for more:
Helping Youth Dial into Activism with The Justice Desk
The Justice Desk is an award winning non-profit organisation that empowers local people to become human rights defenders and everyday activists. The Justice Desk educates, advocates and equips youth, vulnerable groups, civil society, and governments in human rights, justice and advocacy in order to lead their own positive change. The Justice Desk’s key focal areas are: gender-based violence, human trafficking, human rights education and children’s rights.
The 16 Days of Activism campaign was launched with the idea to highlight the plight of women and the girl child globally. It aims to accelerate policy and legislative conversations on how the law and our people could better protect women and the girl child. As a part of The Justice Desk’s response to the gender-based violence crisis, specifically violence against women in South Africa, The ”Mbokodo Club” Project (translated to The Rock Club from isiXhosa) was formed. This project focuses on offering female empowerment workshops, mental health care support, and self-defense programs to girl survivors of gender-based violence and rape.
The Mbokodo Heroes are between the ages of 10 – 19, and come from the murder capital of South Africa, an under-served community called Nyanga. Through a variety of transformative processes, our girls are equipped and empowered to become incredible leaders and champions for human rights in their communities. The motto of this project is “wathint’abafazi wathint’imbokodo” which translates to “you strike a woman; you strike a rock”.
The Justice Desk now sees this campaign as a stark reminder of how South Africa has failed her people. We can no longer afford to only shine a spotlight on our country’s GBV problem during this campaign of 16 days, but rather emphasise the importance of fighting it 365 days a year, as women and girl children die daily in this country.
The beam of light which illuminated the skyline for an hour at midnight on 31 December 2020 will continue to shine daily for an hour at 21h00 for the next few days compelling us to reflect and we’ll hopefully realise that compassion is merely good intentions ignited by decisive action. We live in a time where doing good is truly good business and with establishments like the V&A embodying new models of merging commerce and compassion humanity is surely headed into a promising future. Highlighting compassion as much more than a cheque handover on a charitable occasion, the V&A is also challenging us as Capetonians and even South Africans to make compassion a daily, lived-in experience!
So, let’s all do our bit and keep those less fortunate in-mind during these uncertain times.
Keep safe, mask-up and don’t forget to be kind to one-another too.
The Boy On The Park Bench.