Xenophobia Relief Update

Although April may seem far away from our memories, for those who were affected by xenophobia violence, fear and uncertainty remains.  A small group of just over 100 non South Africans are still at the Chatsworth camp, which will shut down this coming Tuesday.  Those at the camps have been offered packages, with places to rent.

Many Zimbabweans, Malawians, and Mozambicans have returned to their home countries.  But for those from DR Congo, Burundi, Nigeria, and other African countries, there were not many options besides staying in South Africa because of ongoing violence in their home countries.

As a result, CAST, Zoe-Life, Domino Foundation, Glenridge Church, and Tearfund have come together to address issues of social cohesion.  CAST has offered to use Paradigm Shift business training materials as a way to link non South Africans and South Africans in income generating projects, as well as empowering non South Africans to use the skills and qualifications they already possess.

CAST has joined in the ongoing “Durban Dialogue” with these other local partner organisations about diversity and integration in the communities, churches, and schools.

Durban Dialogue has put together a fascinating short documentary about refugees in South Africa and the challenges of xenophobia called “Refugees of a Rainbow Nation”.  A Youtube link to this video can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fuMQsWLNBY&feature=youtu.be


CAST also continues to work with Refugee Social Services, assisting with data capturing of those who were displaced.  CAST will also follow up with a vulnerability assessment to find the most vulnerable among those displaced who meet criteria for further packages, while also looking for specific needs in this population.  This vulnerability assessment will take a look at work, accommodation, family size, schooling, assistance accessed, disabilities, and health needs.

CAST’s goal is to first meet the physical needs of those displaced.  Afterwards CAST would like to focus on resilience and family strengthening.

CAST would like to thank everyone who has played a part in the xenophobia relief across Durban.  There is still much work to be done, especially in building trust among the foreign and South African communities.  Please be in prayer that non South Africans and South Africans will bond over commonalities, especially among issues of faith.

If you would like more information about CAST’s role in the continuing xenophobia relief effort, please contact Janine Pepper at: janine@cast.org.za


Thoko the Teacher

One of CAST’s most faithful volunteers, Thoko was more than thrilled to become a CAST intern at the beginning of this year. Thoko’s journey with CAST began in 2014 when he was working a part-time job and looking for a way to give back to his community. One Sunday morning Thoko came to Westville Baptist Church, with a CV in hand and hoping for a chance to volunteer. After hearing CAST’s Executive Director, Jean-Ray Knighton Fitt, speak during the service, Thoko knew CAST was the place for him.

Thoko is originally from the small country of Malawi. As Thoko explains, “Malawians are too nice. Everyone greets you. Malawi is a poor country, but its people are hardworking.”

True to his word, Thoko used his passion for teaching through volunteering at CAST’s Homework Club in Addington. Last year when Homework Club transformed into the new Wordworks Literacy Programme, Thoko was excited to get involved.

When children come to the programme who are struggling with reading and writing, Thoko finds it incredibly fulfilling to work with the students. While volunteering with students who have fallen behind requires some serious patience, Thoko believes any volunteer can find a sense of fulfillment from getting involved with CAST’s Literacy Programme. The more informal and fun learning environment allows students to make enormous improvement within a short amount of time.

As Thoko explains, “The Literacy Programme opens up a whole future to the kids.” Without adequate reading or writing skills, students struggle to succeed in every subject. The goal of CAST’s Literacy Programme is to help students with basic literacy and language skills that lay the foundation for overall academic performance.

CAST’s Literacy Programme is completely dependent on volunteers who give a few hours of their time a week. If you have a heart for kids and education, and want to get involved, just email Murry at: murry@cast.org.za to find out more. CAST provides Wordworks training that makes it easy to get started. The Literacy Programme runs on Tuesday and Thursday at Addington Primary School in Durban central.


The Clan Barbershop Project

For many of CAST’s older participants in the Youth Development Programme, finding part-time work while also pursuing further education can be a challenge. Often times the participants come from single-parent homes where they care for their younger siblings. Over the past few months, CAST has begun looking at ways to create solutions for this problem.

An exciting possibility to address this problem is The Clan Barbershop Project. This project started through a conversation between George, CAST’s Youth Development Programme Manager and David, his friend from Burundi. David first came to Westville Baptist Church when someone invited him at the Westville BP Garage where he works. He liked WBC and started coming to church on a regular basis with his cousin.

Recently David’s work schedule at the garage has kept him from attending church on Sunday. David was sharing his work frustrations with George, when they devised The Clan Barbershop Project at CAST’s Ministry Fair. It all started with David’s experience of cutting hair in Burundi.

David has spent most of his life fleeing his own country because of war. At first, David fled to Tanzania and Rwanda, waiting for the conflict to end. When he was 19, he returned to Burundi and found most of his friends cutting hair to make ends meet. When a friend offered to teach him how to cut hair, David jumped on the opportunity and learned most of the basics in just three weeks. Over time he was able to open his own barbershop and run his own business.



However, once again David was forced to leave because of conflict in his home country. This time, David fled to Mozambique, and eventually South Africa. As a refugee, David was able to make a living by cutting hair, but life was not easy so he decided to work for the BP Garage in Westville.

Now David would like to cut hair again, but this time he wants to give back to the local community through The Clan Barbershop Project.  By sharing some of his experience with CAST’s older Youth Development Programme participants, David hopes to help young people who are still in school or have just graduated. CAST’s Youth Development Programme would like to open a barbershop in KwaDabeka, near Themba’s Carwash (another successful CAST business forum participant) and KwaDabeka Baptist Church. Just as David’s friend took the time to teach him, David would like to teach other younger guys how to cut hair so that they can work part-time while still attending school.

Future location of The Clan Barbershop Project

Future location of The Clan Barbershop Project

Barbershop location near Themba's Carwash in KwaDabeka

Barbershop location near Themba’s Carwash in KwaDabeka

The Clan Barbershop Project will not only create employment for CAST’s Youth Development participants, but will also offer a valuable service to the young people in KwaDabeka who normally have to travel to Pinetown, KK, or Durban central to have their hair cut. By bringing this service closer to the youth and at a more affordable cost, CAST hopes that this project will also give back to the greater community.

Currently, The Clan Barbershop Project would like to employ at least five older guys in the Youth Development Programme who want to work part-time while going to school. During the school holidays, David will be able to train more participants.

Please pray that as we launch The Clan Barbershop Project, it will be a successful integration of CAST’s Business Development and Youth Development Programmes. Pray that the programme graduates and senior basketball team (also known as “The Clan”, which the project was named after) will benefit from this new project as they begin a new chapter in life.