Young Sparks for Hout Bay Program

In the Cape Town harbor community of Hout Bay, youth have hope! Like youth everywhere, in every age, they are ready and willing to change their world. They have the vision and the energy: all they need is financial support.

In September of 2005, at the initiative of CELD Board Member Chuck Adams, a meeting of potential ‘Young Sparks’ was held at the Hout Bay Cultural Community Hall. Young Sparks is an initiative funded by the CELD in partnership with Imagine Hout Bay’s Youth and Social Development sector.

Seven Young Sparks teams from the local township of Imizamo Yethu (IY) and the Harbor community competed for one of five $200 CELD grants by motivating their projects in a public presentation to the Young Sparks board. Teams were required to present a clear project plan and to convince the board that their project would benefit the community as a whole. The 9-person Young Sparks board reflects broad representation of citizen leaders from around Hout Bay.

Three of the presentations centered on improvements and renovations to the playground and sports areas in IY:

  • Siyabonga Ngetu and his volunteers, were keen to turn the existing basketball court into a multiple-use facility that could also accommodate netball and volleyball. He and his volunteers dreamed of building up teams that could compete against the Peninsula’s best.
  • The girl-dominated representatives of Sibanye Youth Club had a vision to clean and paint the equipment on the children’s playground, see the swings and slide restored, and the goalposts on the soccer field replaced — possibly by the organization that installed the equipment.. They also wanted the SPA to build public toilets nearby.
  • With enthusiasm for soccer increasing in the run-up to the 2010 Soccer World Cup, Muelase Manzini was also keen to see IY’s soccer field restored to a state that would allow it to host games with teams from other parts of Hout Bay. He even volunteered to write a letter to local taxi-drivers asking them not to park on the field.

All three of these projects were funded by the Young Sparks program. The board undertook to enlist the services of a local architect to advise them on how best to restore the soccer field. The Unicity will also be asked for assistance with fencing, to remove the logs on the soccer field, and to erect public toilets.

In June 2006 a second round of Young Sparks project grants were undertaken aimed at community service projects with an environmental theme — Clean and Green. Projects include tree planting, expanding a community garden and cleaning up trash and debris that poses health and safety dangers. All three areas of Hout Bay — the township, the valley and the harbor — are involved in this round of projects.

In 2007, at the initiative and under the leadership of CELD Board member Tom Boyce, the Rotary Club of Los Gatos, California, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Hout Bay, took over funding the Young Sparks program for the next two years. Supported by the Rotary Club, a part time administrator for the program was hired and has been involved in public outreach and working with groups to develop proposals. In June 2007 the Board of the Young Sparks program approved grants to support five projects:

  • Masibambane (Lets work together) Veg Project
  • Ladies Net and Football
  • Youth Clean Up Campaign
  • Masifunbisane Sonke Internet Cafe
  • Imizamo Yethu (IY) Multi Purpose Centre

Chuck Adams and Jean Mearns  Garden Created as Part of Young Sparks ProgramThese projects are funded by contributions from the Rotary Club of Los Gatos, California. The Rotary Club of Hout Bay is acting as the fiscal agent for this two year project. The expectation is that the Rotary Club of Hout Bay will take over support of the program with contributions from local businesses at the end of the two years. The demonstration projects funded by CELD showed the community what a valuable resource they have in their youth and the Young Sparks initiative is being institutionalized with on-going support from the local community. We could not have hoped for a more successful outcome.