Posts Tagged ‘community service’

Hillside Digital Trust’s mantra is “We are one people, we have one destiny, we can make the world the way we’d like it to be.”

Our task is simple, to bring about real change and make a real difference. Our Siyakhona (We can do it) Video Journalists use their skills in film, new and social media as community organizers, they are empowered to engage with their community, identify the root causes of their social ills, organize the community to find the answers and implement action plans to solve the issue together with all role players, stakeholders and partners.

We started in October 2009 and our concept is proving itself as a game changer in community development. There’s been a paradigm shift at the offices of Region E since we presented our call to action video on the rats crisis in Alexandra Township.

To remind you Siyakhona’s advocacy call to action film on the rats crisis so impressed all the regional directors of Gauteng, that they pooled all their resources together, from as far as Orange farm and Soweto. Our film inspired the departments of health, environmental affairs, service delivery, roads, water, the Police, emergency services and others to join our campaign. Over three days they joined us and nine hundred local volunteers in a major clean up and education campaign. The Regional director has since overhauled their entire approach on service delivery. Before the campaign their departments worked in silos, each not knowing what the other was working on. Siyakhona has inspired the city to bring all departments together in an integrated service delivery plan for Alexandra and surrounding areas to combat service delivery issues in a manner that is sustainable and visible to the community.

Herbert and Lucky joined me at the Region E offices to identify the hotspots Siyakhona will focus on for the clean up campaign and rodent crisis; Pan Africa precinct, River Park Precinct, Madala Hostel, Nobuhle Hostel and Helen Joseph Women’s Hostel, how to monitor the project’s impact and get the support of specifically the hostel dwellers as well as the rest of the community. The regional director established monthly Siyakhona task group meetings at her offices. The task group involves representatives from departments of environmental health, housing, PickitUP, Stakeholder management, Service delivery, urban management and ourselves in which we will work together on this and other service delivery issues and implement innovative solutions.

All departments have been briefed on the Siyakhona Initiative and have been directed to submit plans on how they can best add to the project and its impact on the community. Further to the clean up campaign we are also discussing other projects such as recycling, developing green based cooperatives, rehabilitating the Jukskei river, ending tribalism as well as delving into the problem of housing delivery.

Region E will pay the costs of our public screenings, literature and marketing materials and participate in conversations with the community at our screenings. I met with Ephraim; marketing specialist for Region E, he relayed how excited they all are to join the Siyakhona Initiative and add to our work. He believes that joining our grass root initiatives will be far more effective than trying to implement projects developed at management level.

We’ve also been given the go ahead to produce and distribute a Siyakhona Environmental Health DVD on rodent control.




Picture by Azola Maliti


This has been a great successful event, the whole community stood up as a one society saying no to drugs and substance abuse, also on Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, especial among youth.

They were saying no to Rape and brutal killings of women, defenceless grannies, people with disabilities and young children and also human trafficking. They also fight against not coping with the burden of HIV /Aids leading to suicide and killing of partners and violet crime.

It was great to see political parties united as one supporting their communities even though Mr Jacob Zuma and Helen Zille were not present. ANC, DA, NAPWA, HOME AFFAIRS, CHILD LINE and other NGO’s stood together and shouted with one voice; “DON’T LOOK AWAY, ACT AGAINST ABUSE”

There was also HIV/Aids test clinics, while Home Affairs were helping people with Identities and some got free t-shirts with flyers detailing contact details of programs and associations that could help.

This is how we should work as a province to protect our sisters, brothers and our parents, families together with our communities, so we started it here and you???

By Gladness “Nana” Mathebula

Siyakhona covered the ‘No to child pornography and human trafficking’ awareness campaign in Alexandra township at Thusong youth center on the 23 October 2010. Guys from the film and publication board and bikers representing their clubs; Gauteng’s Night Riders, Signature de Bikers and the Hood Ratz Bikers were out to support the campaign. 

Child pornography in terms  of South African law is any picture or any description of a real or imaginary person who is under the age  of 18 years , or is represented as being under the age of 18 years.

A few days ago I saw guys  sell pornographic DVD’s to a 10 year old girl. I started having questions popping up in my mind, where does she watch the DVD, with who, when and what was her reaction, after watching the DVD what does she feel like?

I told them that I would call the police. One guy laughed as he told me the very same police came here for the very same porn DVD’s and police take the  DVD’s for free. I am a mother in Alexandra Township, I am worried about the future of our children in this country.

The community came out in great numbers to show support. I was so impressed to see young children coming in a huge number to support the event.

At the same event I spoke to Amanda Ndlovu, she is 14 years old. She told me that porn is her food, clothes and she can’t live without it. She saves money from her lunch box money given by her parents. Her parents have no idea of what she does with her pocket money.

The event was a success but my main concern is I didn’t see any of the children’s parents support their children at this child pornography awareness campaign. We cannot do it alone. Parents, the Police and the government have to be involved and  help us save our children.

The Siyakhona (We can do it) Alexandra team has been working almost seven days a week since November and had just achieved my dream; using the medium of film to create change within their society. They have achieved beyond my wildest dreams.
With portable projector and screen they have shown the film to to just about all the residents of Alexandra township. The team created a platform for freedom of expression; dialogue, ideas and debate. Soon after the screenings Warren, Tshepiso and Lehlohonolo took a copy of their film highlighting the growing crisis of rats to the municipal managers of region E, without an appointment.
The team so impressed the managers with their film and powerpoint presentation of the possible solution, that they were referred to the next highest level. Three short meetings later Siyakhona Alexandra had presented their film on rats to the directors of every region of Gauteng. These public servants and their staff were so inspired by our team’s work that they committed to pulling all their resources, time and in some cases holiday time, to help our team and the residents of Alexandra to get rid of the pollution which is exacerbating the rat crisis.
900 volunteers came each of the three days to join our campaign together with Region E, PickitUp, Emergency Services, Departments of environment, service delivery, health, urban management,the police, the metro police, Alexandra Renewal project, local NGOs and others to clean the worst areas of Alexandra. It was a fantastic effort but it is by no means the last. The impact has created further determination with our partners to turn Alexandra township into a safe environment for its residents.
The team has since the campaign ( the last ten days) produced two Mxit videos for mobile download (Watch this space!!!) and an advocacy based citizen video journalist film on their community addressing the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG); reducing hunger and poverty. I had no reason to worry as the team pulled together and produced some wonderful work.              

Hillside Digital citizen journalists (CJs) collect a minimum of 100 votes from their community on a particular issue before producing an advocacy based video on a call to action: Sony Fevacastors made a great video explaining what we’re about.

HD CJs research and interview all concerned before formulating and producing a film that calls for a ‘plan of action’.


The screenings provide a platform for information sharing, debate and (a specialist on HIV/AIDS, employment, housing, government policy etc) dialogue empowering the community and leadership to unite to find solutions to their most pressing issues- speeding up social change.

HD videos are screened to all parts of the community on portable projectors; covering a number of issues notably, service delivery, human rights, health, education and employment, local news as well as positive stories on local arts and entertainment, success and impact.

A post viewing dialogue will give the audience a chance to have their voice heard.

The videos empower the community to unite and find solutions to their most pressing issues; i.e. speeding up social change.

HD CJs are responsible for implementing an agreed upon action by the community and reporting back to their community.


In each area where Hillside Digital operates, it coordinates with the area’s key role players; community leaders, NGOs, development forums and local authorities (when ethical) inspired by the community to ‘do it for themselves’ through the video advocacy screenings. Siyakhona inspires city to put rats in its crosshairs [tweetmeme source=”hillsidedigital” only_single=false]

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.

Rats are in City’s cross hairs Print E-mail a friend
Written by Rudo Mungoshi
Thursday, 02 September 2010
Catching rats: an Alex resident uses special equipment to kill rodents

There is a rodent infestation in Alexandra, but the City and its partners are spearheading a cleanup and education campaign.

DAVID Maphangwa doesn’t remember when the giant rats first appeared. Like many another Alexandra resident, he has learned to turn a blind eye to the creatures and, surprisingly, he is adjusting to their growing presence.

All Alex residents should come together to clean up their area, says Region E director Liziwe Ntshinga-Makoro

All Alex residents should come together to clean up their area, says Region E director Liziwe Ntshinga-Makoro

“I have been here for three years and it has been an ongoing problem,” Maphangwa says. “They have cost me a lot of money and a lot of inconvenience.”

Maphangwa, an informal trader who sells meat for a living, tries his best to clean up his work place in the hope of not attracting the rats. He used to put down poison for the rodents, but eventually gave up when he realised that it was having no effect.

Norman Mashaba, another Alex meat seller, adds: “They are massive creatures. If people didn’t throw food on the ground, I don’t think it would happen.”

He “always” sees the rats running around, especially in the afternoon. They are causing hell for residents; they chew through doors and get into houses in their endless search for food. It’s common to hear stories of rats eating clothes or opening pots or, more horrifying, of rats biting babies.

One resident claims: “They are large as cats.” Another says: “They are the size of dogs and they are not afraid of humans. They will scurry right around your feet.”

The rodents plaguing Alexandra feed on scraps from bins or on rubbish dumped in the streets. They belong to the Rattus Norvegicus species, known as the Norway rat or the brown rat.

Clean up
To tackle the problem, the City began a massive cleanup campaign on Wednesday, 1 September. It is a response to the problems identified in short films made by six trainee video journalists on the infestation of rats in the township that are breeding in improperly managed rubbish.

The unhygienic conditions in most parts of Alex are excellent breeding ground for rodents

The unhygienic conditions in most parts of Alex are excellent breeding ground for rodents

Participating in the campaign are the Hillside Digital trainee video journalists, Region E, Pikitup, metro police, South African Police Service, Alexandra Urban Renewal Project and local councillors. The campaign will end on 4 September. The areas targeted for the cleanup include Oliver Tambo, Kholofelo ya Joseph, Roosevelt, Alex Vincent, Vasco da Gama and Richard Baloyi.

The six trainee video journalists, all from disadvantaged communities, were trained under the Siyakhona project to become citizen journalists, fighting for the rights of their communities. Siyakhona is part of Sony’s corporate social responsibility collaboration with FIFA. It is implemented through Football for Hope, the FIFA and streetfootballworld movement.

The project is implemented by Hillside Digital, a South African nongovernmental organisation dedicated to giving a voice to impoverished communities.

Speaking at the start of the cleanup at the Square in Alexandra, the Region E regional director, Liziwe Ntshinga-Makoro ,thanked the City departments for uniting to tackle the rat problem. “If we cannot do it together, we are unlikely to win the battle against social challenges.”

She pointed out that initiatives implemented in the past were not successful because of a lack of co-operation between departments and communities. “Urban role management is unlocking the inefficiencies and encouraging a more systematic and integrated approach to service delivery.”

The City needed to develop a holistic approach to illegal dumping in informal settlements, she added. It needed to encourage people to use rubbish bins and rubbish collection points to reduce rat infestation.

Gotcha! A health officer shows off the size of rats hounding in Alex residents

Gotcha! A health officer shows off the size of rats hounding in Alex residents

Mustapha Hendricks, the chairperson of the pest control task force in the City’s environment health unit, spoke about the five steps that Alex residents could take to keep rats out.

“You have to inspect your property; clean up any droppings or tracks they leave behind; starve them … also shut them out by sealing cracks and holes in your residence; and wipe them out with rodent baiting.”

However, he warned the crowd that using pesticides or baits would not work effectively if they did not change some of their habits. “Rodent bait is an effective way to wipe out rats but it only works if we clear the rubbish first … Instead of throwing out food on to the pavements, wrap it up in plastic bags and throw it into bins.”

To prevent the outbreak of disease, Hendricks explained that his division caught rats on a monthly basis and sent blood samples from them to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases for testing. “So far we have not had any positive results,” he said.

The head of Region E’s health department, Vusi Mazibuko, said the rat infestation in Alexandra was caused by unhygienic conditions, overcrowding, scrap yards and illegal dumping. “If we don’t act quickly about this critical problem, we will have a serious outbreak of diseases.”

Contact the environmental health office on 011 582 1651/2/3 for help in controlling rodents.

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