Raising empowered men

2016-10-04 06:00
 Kevin Mutata and Obert Makaza cut the ribbon, officially opening the Launchpad. PHOTO: nicole mccain

Kevin Mutata and Obert Makaza cut the ribbon, officially opening the Launchpad. PHOTO: nicole mccain

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Having raised hundreds of boys, the Homestead in Zonnebloem is now turning its attention to raising men.

The organisation cares for street children, helping them to rebuild their lives through offering a safe home, schooling and rehabilitation. The Homestead’s vision is that no child should live, work or beg on the streets (of Cape Town) and that every child should live in a community with a family. They currently provide support and services to more than 400 children every week.

However, the children in their care have to leave once they turn 18, which the organisation found to be a traumatic event for many of them as they leave their only support structure, explains director Paul Hooper. “We saw these young men who had left behind pain, guilt and substance abuse and who had gone back to school. They were then faced with the difficult task of going out into the world alone. It was heartbreaking to see so many of our children who left, fail over the years (by turning back to substance abuse or living on the streets) and we looked at how we could reduce that,” he says.

On Thursday 29 September, the Homestead launched a new project to equip their residents with the skills they need to successfully navigate adulthood and the world.

The Launchpad Centre was started six months ago and currently houses 20 boys between the ages of 15 and 18. Here they are taught the life skills they will need to successfully cope when they leave the Homestead.

This is often as simple as leaving them to make their own food on weekends or requiring them to clean the house and carry out simple maintenance tasks. The young men are also involved in a range of activities – from guitar playing to sailing – to help each one “find what he is good at”, explains residence manager Liezl Conradie.

“This is real life,” she says. “One day you’re going to have to clean your own house.”

One of the residents, Orbert Makaza (18), left Zimbabwe almost a decade ago after the death of his father. He and a group of boys travelled to Cape Town, where he was picked up by police officers in Blouberg in 2010.

For him, the Homestead has been a place to “find himself”.

“I’m able to go to school and do part-time work during the holidays,” he says.

He has also fallen in love with his sailing lessons and recently competed in the Lipton Challenge. For him, the Launchpad has eased some of the worry over where he will go when he leaves the residence by “empowering” him, he says.

The young men at the residence assist in street outreach work by facilitating for other children, who are still living on the streets, to access services at the Homestead. They are also members of the local neighbourhood watch.

Each boy is required to remain drug-free and attend school while living at the centre and they attend counselling sessions to learn life skills and coping mechanisms to empower them when they leave and ensure they stay sober.

“(At Launchpad) it’s about becoming a man and going out into the world empowered,” concludes Hooper.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.