Final Celebration

Tata Mbele leading prayerFinal Celebration

The community celebration on Saturday,  December 12 marked the culmination of WPI’s  work in Monwabisi Park for 2009.  Among those in attendance were WPI project sponsors, City of Cape Town officials, Consul General Alberta Mayberry of the US Cape Town Consulate, University of Cape Town staff and over 100 members of the Monwabisi Park community. The day was a celebration of the community, the Indlovu Project, and of the seven weeks hard and rewarding work by everyone at the Cape Town Project Centre.  Festivities included a poster session at which the seven WPI project teams presented their work to the community, African singing and dancing, and a photograph session in which over 100 community members participated. Our team was responsible for working with the co-researchers, Di Womersly, and the advisors to plan the day. We scheduled the speakers, organised the project posters, gathered the equipment necessary, and coordinated the program.

The day kicked off with an opening prayer by Tata Mbele, a leader in the community, that the community actively sang and participated in.  Following this were speeches by Di Womersley, head of the Shaster Foundation, Cape Town Project Centre Director Prof.Scott Jiusto, and Michael Krause, team leader of Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) of Khayelitsha.  These three leaders represent all aspects of the Indlovu Project and created a cohesive front on advancing the redevelopment process in Monwabisi Park.  As the ceremonies went on, all of the WPI teams gave a brief overview of their projects thanking their sponsors and providing them an opportunity to speak.

The captive audience

After the speeches were given some of the WPI students and the co-researchers joined in singing the national anthem of South Africa. The anthem has different verses in Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans, and English.  As soon as the singing began almost the entire audience joined in, creating an explosive sound throughout the community building. A tradition African dance was planned and a line of children from Monwabisi Park stomped in to the beat of an African drum.  The local group of children meet in the home of a Monwabisi Park resident who teaches the girls drumming and dance. They performed several dances as the crowed cheered them on bringing the presentations to an end on a high note. After a closing prayer the poster session began: the project teams stood by their posters as the  guests  wandered the room and interacted with each team on a more personal level.

Community Pictures

While guests and community members had the opportunity to learn more about the projects, our team and the co-researchers had the photo shop actively open. We had a banner painted displaying the words The Indlovu Project in Shaster Foundation colors and a white backdrop to provide a background for the photos to be taken.  Anyone in attendance was able to have his or her picture taken in front of the Indlovu Project banner and printed for free.  People waited in line for over twenty minutes to have their picture taken with their family or simply by themselves.  The pictures were either printed on site for the guests to take home or given to Buyiswa Tonono to be delivered to community members.  Refreshments were served and people were able to leave as they pleased although the celebration continued as children played and adults gathered.

Community photo taken in front of backdropThe day was an overall success and enjoyed by all in attendance.  The combination of project presentations and community celebrating provided a healthy environment to allow the community to learn about the WPI Projects and the redevelopment process. Not many individual community members came to each team’s poster, however the ones that did thanked us for the work we did. Notably, one of the workers who was building the community centre came up and shook our hands.  We recommend that similar format be taken in the future but also possibly adding in more formal presentations to the advisers and team sponsors.