A group of Manenberg teens are transforming the dull and dirty walls of council flats by painting it in bright colours and spreading messages of hope for passersby to read.
The initiative, started by Yumna Alexander, 34, culminated in the group hosting their own outdoor cinema event over the weekend as youngsters watched movies on a home-made big screen.
The single mom says several weeks ago, she noticed children hanging around with no activities to keep them busy and approached Ward councillor Bonita Jacobs for help.
“The children from Francesca, Flora and Erica courts were bored and we looked at these dreary walls covered in gang graffiti and it is so demotivating for our youngsters,” she says.
“I spoke to Bonita and told her what I wanted to do and she gave an R800 donation and a local contractor sponsored some paint and we got busy.”
The group of boys and girls, between 11 and 15 years old, got their hands dirty as they made messages they wanted to share with their community.
“They used some nice bright colours, and not only did they beautify the walls but when we asked them to do hand prints and write an inspirational message, we found that many of the messages involved the word ‘love’,” says Yumna.
“We wanted them to do it on their own so they can take ownership of their community and we saw some key words being used like ‘love’, ‘peace’ and ‘joy’, showing what our children are thinking about and it is aimed at those who pass by to see there is more to Manenberg.”
Over the weekend, the group used a section of the wall which they painted white as a massive screen and along with a projector, they watched a movie.
“They gathered and watched the dance movie called Work It. They had such a lekker time because many of them have never even been to a cinema,” says Yumna.
“I got them lollipops so they could have something sweet and these guys came walking past on their way to buy beers and saw the group enjoying the movie.
“They said instead of buying three beers, they only bought one and used the rest of the money to buy chips for the children.
“Our plan is to expand and paint more courts and have a weekly movie night for the children.”
Anyone who would like to assist can email [email protected].