Posts Tagged ‘call to action’

DATE: 29 AUGUST 2011


We as Siyakhona went to the MC Weiler Primary school to screen the rats’ call to action film for 250 learners. We were truly amazed by the way the kids responded to our call for them to join the Siyakhona Initiative to get rid of the rats and pollution in Alexandra.

It was not only to show the film but to hear their views about the project and the film. Mandla from Eco-Solutions was there to tell the kids about the owls and how they will help Alexandra to reduce rat populations. The kids responded by saying:

“We want the owls because it’s good for the environment and they could help.” But there were two sides, others said “Owls are used to practice witchcraft”. Others said they were scared of rats but they would love to be part of the project of introducing owls to their school and a competition to turn waste into wealth by recycling as the environmental class.

They came with the solutions that they are using now, “as learners of MC Weiler we will go around our township and collect waste and recycle.

And they have their three R’s (re-use, reduce and recycle). So we urge the schools that are part of the competition to start looking at the environment differently and tell their peers to.


Shirley Langley


Siyakhona held their mobile public cinema screening on 25 August 2011, the screening was held in the Setshwetla area near Marlboro Gardens. We demonstrated a good strategy of working together with local stakeholders such as Alex FM and Amakhone Esintu. The Alexandra community station reported on the event and dj Umbrella joined us to listen to what the community had to say. Amakhone Esintu, a local theatre production company performed African traditional ways of story telling to empower our community with issues related to battle against rats.

Mobile Community Cinema Screening

Lehlohonolo speaks to the community

Eco solutions provoked a possible solution by playing a digital story about owls and their role in managing the rats and also verbal teaching of the importance of balancing the eco system. Introducing owls to the rats problem is part of a solution which then sparked debate amongst the citizen of Setshwetla.

After the rats film the audience shared their views and opinions:

They highlighted the issue of cleanness as one of the problems, they then suggested to be given extra plastic bags to put in their rubbish.

People also have a problem of congestion as one of the problems that prevent proper cleanliness, and they suggest that the cleaning company must intensify cleaning effectively in congested areas .

They also highlighted the issue of housing as the main solution to the rats problem.

More than half the population believe in different myths that are attributed to owls . However one lady suggested that it would be better to live with owls than rats. The over-all response of people on this eco-solution showed a greater need for more workshops about owls.

The Setshwetla screening was one of the best screenings that we ever had around Alex. The turn out was +-350 people and more than 50 kids were there. Organizations from Alexandra township like Life Line also supported our consultation, helping us to facilitate the dialogue session after the film and encouraged us with support for the great work we are doing.

They are big with different kinds of colors. They don’t care about life as long as they get something to eat. You will find them everywhere, but they stay in a township called Alexandra yes I am talking about Rats. Others may take rats and mice and make them their pets but for us people of Alex it’s terrifying to have rats as our pets.

We live, eat, sleep with them. These rats have invaded our beautiful township. mobile public screening in Setshwetla Alexandra

They are seen day & night yet we think it is normal, at first it was 1, 2, 10 but there are millions of rats in Alexandra township. These rats come with their own diseases, but still we sit and keep quiet. I am a citizen journalist of Alex who is very concerned because these rats won’t only give me their disease, but the whole of Alex will suffer.

So we took the rats’ film to Setjwetla one of the informal settlements in our township, trying to hear their views and what can we do about this problem.

The people were very shocked when they heard about the diseases that the rats carry. We consulted with them. This is what they said, “as long we don’t clean after ourselves nothing will be done to get rid of these rats”, the other one said “we as Alexandra citizens, we need to help the municipality and work with them to keep our township clean”.

We do not plead to the government only but to the people as well please let’s keep our yards clean, let’s live in a clean environment, the government is trying to help Alexandra by bringing owls to the township so people I leave you with this question. What do you think about owls in the township of Alex?





By Warren

It has been a perfect three-day clean up campaign in and around Alexandra Township after a call to action to Alexandra; cleaning the environment to eliminate a number of rats.

We have had 900 volunteers from the community to clean up in eleven most polluted areas. Such areas that we have identified when we were filming the rats documentary.

The Regional Director of the Municipality, officially opened the first day of the campaign,, with other councilors, and officials from City of Johannesburg Municipalities.

Mean while the launch was taking place at three square grounds in Alex, 900 volunteers were gathering at the starting point of the parade, and with youth musical groups which lead the parade in excitement,  not only with crazy dances but it managed to pull the community to the inner community hall. At the community hall, the volunteers were allocated to clean sites, and then the clean up campaign started.

The hunt for the rodents reached one of the most affected areas by rats, and then there was the fumigation process.

We encountered a few problems with some locals of the area who kept on dumping and not cooperating with us, as they demanded more plastics, and they promised they would keep on dumping carelessly till the municipality gave them more rubbish bags.

I guess the only way we do great impact in Alexandra, is by pulling the community together, and influence community participation strategies that will create a working and united community against all issues such as the Rats problem.

All stakeholders will be meeting to discuss such strategies and the monitoring and evaluation processes that will be put in place, making sure there is less waste of resources on future campaigns and to use them fruitfully for the benefit of the community.

I would like to recognize extended support we received from the Region E Municipality, City of Johannesburg Municipality, Alexandra Community organizations in environmental works and social development, and the volunteers, field band musical group which made a wonderful parade performance.. It was indeed a shaking effort for the people of Alex.

I’m excited to tell you that Hillside Digital is now partnering with the city of Johannesburg and it is a dream come true relationship. Warren Radebe; one of Hillside Digital’s citizen journalist’s in Alexandra township, showed up at Region E municipal offices in the heart of Sandton City without an appointment and armed with a portable projector and the video he directed about the terrible infestation of rats in his township. Warren met with the managers of Alexandra and delivered a powerpoint presentation that included our solution to end the root cause of the problem; pollution.We had no idea they would turn our initiative into a much bigger campaign. They were impressed. Since that meeting we have now presented our video and idea of a campaign; asking all the stakeholders to join volunteers wanting to get rid of the pollution that is causing the pandemic; to every level of the municipal structure under Mayor Masondo.

When Warren presented to the Regional Director of Region E, he was drawn to tears when he told me about her response, the RD told him that she was so inspired that she was canceling her holiday and mobilizing every other region in Gauteng to support us in our initiative, she isn’t the only one.

We’ve been dealing with Thandiwe Mthonti, manager of steak-holder management for Region E, through most of the process and she is passionate about us. Thandiwe has postponed her leave, despite her exhaustion, and has long term plans on how we can work together. She is determined that we remain neutral and keep our independence. In her words we are the eyes, ears and voice of the community, she wants us to present every call to action initiative and the city will help us put it in action. In our last meeting she thanked the guys of Hillside Digital for inspiring her again in her work. I had to hold my emotions back as it became clear that the dream I had on my dad’s farm in Mpumalanga was being realized.

The clean-up campaign in Alexandra lead by Hillside Digital and the Siyakhona project will take place between 1st and 3rd September and will involve the City of Johannesburg Region E, the City Department of Health, Pikitup, JMPD and SAPS, the Alexandra Renewal Project, local councilors and the community at large. The Johannesburg Roads Agency has made available three cranes to lift the covers on the storm drains and allow access to the sewers where rats are breeding. Over four days the campaign will target the eleven most polluted areas of Alexandra, beginning with presentations and health education to raise awareness and mobilize the community to support it.

We have been able to create a platform for a united front through media for the people of Alexandra and the Authorities to create change for the better.

It is a significant call to action for the people of Alexandra for social change. The campaign preparations are becoming solid as so far stakeholders are offering greater support. We have been able to create a platform for a united front through media for the people of Alexandra and the Authorities to create change for the better.

Our community screenings this month highlight’s the growing rat pandemic and is instrumental in the success of the campaign to end it. The concept of mobilizing the community through citizen journalism will be an inspiration to raise solutions for many other issues that exist in the community. It is a significant call to action for the people of Alexandra for social change. The campaign preparations are becoming solid as so far stakeholders are offering greater support.

On the 14th August 2010, I was prepared along with my team for the City Municipality in Johannesburg meeting. We made our way to the boardroom, along with Region E Municipal representatives to meet with Regional Municipal heads in health and environmental department directors of all the regions of greater Gauteng, PickitUp and mayoral representation.

It was very clear from the officials across the municipal leaders that the Rats Story has caught their attention and interests. We were there to request partnership and support from the City of Johannesburg in our campaign, in consultation with the people of Alexandra, to clean up the township. Pollution has been identified as the root cause of the rat pandemic plaguing our homes. We screened the Rats Story, which met with shaking of heads, groans and admiration at the quality of our video investigation. It was evidence about our commitment and objective to educate and expose the issue. Our strategy was that we had to listen to what the community had to say about the problem and where the faults were, investigating all sides of the issue. We have been able to unite the community through the story, and at the end of it we aim to achieve a colossal mission.

Amongst logistical challenges that we’ve faced to this point, was the lack of interest from other local non-profit organizations that claim that they have been there and done it, you know what I mean, but we assure a greater impact at the end of the day. As we came to conclusions in the presentation meeting, all regional municipalities were committed to supporting the campaign and us. They were so impressed that they want to implement our plan in all the problem areas of Gauteng. We received complements and advice. So far we are certain that the Campaign will be one the best and most effective to be implemented in Alexandra. Remember the Campaign is on the 1st to the 4th September 2010 and together we can move mountains.

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 We have gone a mile as a nation, enjoying and celebrating the FIFA World Cup 2010, and so we have been successful hosting the Football for Hope Festival in Alexandra Township. Alex community becomes more and more desperate for social change.

On the 1st to the 4th September 2010, we will be organizing one of the biggest and influential clean up campaigns in Alexandra Township. To create awareness about the Rats problem and land pollution. This is after we have spent days producing the Rats documentary; a story by the people of Alexandra.

Rats in Alexandra have become a serious problem and so far nothing has been done for a call to action. We intend to inform the community about the causes of Rats population increase and how the community can eliminate the number of Rats; start to clean their environment. The story has involved the local Municipality as environmental expects and key role players in solving the problem.

The story is a journey for Alex people, forging a united front of all stakeholders despite the impoverished neighborhood realities and suffering of the locals. Alex has given birth to some of the leaders in the government, yet the area is still the under developed. Amongst other issues we have discovered is housing problem, xenophobia and education. We hope that the Call to Action will also inspire the community to raise awareness about the issues and be represented for basic right to have a safe and a clean environment.

The clean up campaign will involve organizations, municipality and local businesses; we invite the world to be part of this social movement for the Rat bite victims who are desperate for an intervention. On the 4th September the campaign will Parade in the local streets to educate and create an urgent community mobilization. We request support and dedication from our government for the success of the upcoming campaign. Great leadership is a key to the success of our democracy; let us gear up for the call to action.