The wheels of the bus go to fun town

The children line up to be part of the Amazing Race, which was held on the streets of Manenberg.

A literacy and numeracy (Litnum) project, with its roots at Saambou Primary School, joined up with the Community Work Programme (CWP), to take 80 children from Manenberg on a bus trip to Cape Town, in commemoration of Youth Day, Thursday June 16.

Chantal Swartland, a volunteer at the Litnum project, said the idea behind celebrating Youth Day in this manner, was to let the children experience life outside of Manenberg.

“Most of these children have never been out of Manenberg. They are exposed to so much in their community and are often surrounded by violence, abuse, gangsterism and poverty. They don’t see anything else outside of Manenberg, except the constant violence on a daily basis,” Ms Swartland said.

The excursion started at the Slave Lodge Museum in Adderley Street, followed by a walk through the Company’s Garden, and ending off at the Iziko Museum.

Ms Swartland said the children had been fascinated by their museum experience, as some of them had not been to a museum before. The children received a meal and a goody bag.

The following day, Friday June 17, the Litnum project ran an “Amazing Race” game in the community, for all those children who could not attend the excursion.

“As it was a school holiday, the Litnum project partnered with Druiwevlei community centre, Manenberg SAPS and the Manenberg Safety Forum’s Sector 2. We used our youth at risk as officials, and used the seniors to have stations available for the children as they moved through the community.

“At each station, they had to do an activity, such as shaving balloons, playing marbles or dominoes, dressing up, eating competitions, ping pong, ball games, stack a tin, and searching for clues under bottle caps.

“It was just the most beautiful thing we have ever seen – where the whole community came together as one to see our children have fun and learn some valid lessons.”

Ms Swartland said that with all the excitement, there had been lots of running and noise.

“People in Manenberg assume that if they hear others screaming and you see people running, that violence is erupting. Some residents said when they heard the children shout and run they thought bullets were going to fly, but to their surprise they saw police and safety forum members ensuring the safety of our children. Young and old were running around to find clues at certain stations to move onto the next clue. Our motto at the Litnum project is, ‘We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone’,” she said.

Ms Swartland thanked all those who had helped make the two-day programme a success, adding that was “the beginning of many programmes” they hope to have.