The African National Congress (ANC), which was formed just after New Years in 1912 to resist minority white domination of South African society, signed their Freedom Charter in the '50s in Kliptown, Soweto (Johannesburg). Considering this history, and Soweto's critical role in the eventual fall of Apartheid, it is appalling to see first hand that the residents of Kliptown continue to live in shacks and suffer the never-ending impacts of massive unemployment. It has been seventeen years since the fall of Apartheid and the beginning of the "New South Africa", but even though the land across the railroad tracks has been broken and given way for a large R.D.P. housing project, the majority continue to live in a maze of shacks. While the reality here is extremely grim there are people in this seemingly forgotten community that refuse to accept these conditions as permanent.
An organization known simply as KYP- Kliptown Youth Program- has harnessed this energy and partnered up with other organizations, both South African and international, and have created an oasis amidst the chaos. Their focus has been on education, access to life services, after-school programming and food for children. I was here last year with GLA- Global Leadership Adventures- and they were back with a group of students from Nigeria, America and Europe to assist in KYP programming. While I wasn't able to attend the programming this year I was able to catch back up KYP and document some significant changes in the facility and scope of their activities within the community.