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Helping the needy in 'feared' black townships

By Francis Hweshe | Jul 14, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

BLACK townships are not as dangerous as most white South Africans might think.

In fact, you do not need to carry a gun or the protection of armed security guards to visit the communities.

This is the view of Jenny "Nomvuyo" Houdson, a darling of Khayelitsha.

Houdson, a small-scale tour operator, uses her business to support community projects there and to highlight the dire living conditions to appeal for donations from foreign tourists.

Houdson, who runs her business from home with one vehicle, said she employed local people for the tours.

During the World Cup, a group of American tourists donated a kit to a soccer team of youths called Site C Gunners.

The Americans made the donation after a South Korean tourist, who noticed the youngsters playing football without shoes the previous year, posted the soccer team's photo with an appeal for help.

A group of soccer fans from Chicago in the US raised $5000 (about R38000) for the kit, which they handed over personally last week at the Site C stadium.

A 14-year-old disabled boy who is passionate about basketball was given a special basketball wheelchair.

Apart from trying to find a donor for another team whose kit was recently burnt down in a shack fire, Houdson is also raising funds for school fees for needy children in the community.

Houdson, who has a deep respect for African culture, said she was not scared to walk the streets in the townships.

She said despite the poverty in the townships, people were "warm, greeted each other, lived together and looked after one another".

However, Houdson said all her friends, with the exception of her mother, were scared to go to the townships.

She said another tour company asked her if she could provide armed security guards for their clients when they visited townships.

"I said no, I won't do that. It's an insult to the people," she said.


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