Ngonyama is a community project aiming to positively influence the next generation in Windsor East with a faith-based, skill-equipping approach. It began in October 2016 with the Saturday program reaching over 100 kids from the first day. Our hope is to be a light in the kids lives in a way that will affect their decision making and their actions.
Windsor East has been named as one of the worst drug spots in Joburg. The kids that grow up in this area have to navigate a culture of poverty and drug deals, and all of the consequences that accompany that kind of world. Many kids live in shared apartments with two or three other families. Many don't know their dads, or their moms, and live with extended family. We want to provide stable, positive role models for these kids that they would otherwise not have.
Ngonyama is the Zulu word for lion. As in big lion. Like Mufasa, the Lion King! Or Aslan. Or the Lion of Judah. We are an interdenominational, organisation birthed out of churches in the Randburg/Linden area and fall under the NPO, Tshepo. Our funding is currently entirely reliant on individual sponsorship.
The main program that we run happens once a month, on the second Saturday of the month. This opens up doorways into the lives of families within the community as well as an opportunity to provide positive role-models to the kids that crosses social, racial and economical borders in order to increase the social resource repertoire of the kids.
The project was started by my wife and I, Gavin and Esther Hayes, in August of 2016. I am a South African who grew up in the neighbourhood, and she is a Swiss who grew up as a missionary child in Ivory Coast. We had been involved in the same work in a favela in Brazil for three years before moving to South Africa.