Jeppe ECD Crowdfunding - winter classroom

Dear Friends,

We're crowd funding this week to raise R34,600 to build a classroom in our Jeppe ECD centre for winter so there is one room that can be well-insulated. 

Here's what you would be supporting:

For those who don't know much about Bjala, we are a social urban enterprise striving to improve low-income neighbourhoods holistically - through low-cost housing, affordable high-quality education, job creation and community. Our education goal is to bring high quality, low-cost education to Jeppestown. 

Over the past 4 years, Bjala has contributed R3.4million directly towards building an education ecosystem in Jeppe. Most of this has gone towards our pilot education project - Streetlight School - a low-fee, high quality primary school.  

Bjala has a LOT of experience in building quality affordably and our development cost for the entire facility is just R172,000. 

But lets just tackle a small bite from this for now together... by Friday we'd like to raise R34,600 to build one classroom for easy heating throughout the winter. 

Account Name: Bjala Foundation  Bank: FNB

Account #: 62566990084
Branch code: 253305
Swift code: FIRNZAJJ

I know our collective community can do this. No amount is too small and every Rand is deeply appreciated. If you can't afford to support financially, please support by sharing this mailer with your network. 

Human. Urban. Ritual.

the roper

New Centre. 

A cultural melting pot of industria in downtown Jozi. Also the area in which we have recently taken control of a brand spanking new rooftop space. The magic of Roper street and its surrounding area, is in its industrial cool feel. You really feel like you are in the city of gold here, with views of the mines to your right, the glinting skyscrapers of Jozi in front of you, and face-brick buildings surrounding you. New Centre is still in its infancy of being known.. so the Bjala locations team starting thinking of innovative ways to introduce our new spaces to the folks in Johannesburg... and one theme kept presenting itself... goodbye Summer hello Winter... 

What a better than to say goodbye to summer than with a rooftop soiree, celebrating urban, culture, art, food and music- with like minded people- hence the Urban Rituals activation was brought into motion.

Bjala Locations was looking to activate its latest rooftop space- a rooftop location ideal for film shoots, activations and corporate immersions- We carefully curated and selected some of Joburgs finest artisans, to create the ambience and mood for the day, to showcase The Roper as authentically as possible. 

Bringing the community in on the redesign of Jeppe Park

Users of vibrant Jeppe Park were given an opportunity to get involved in the redesign of their community's public space at an event organised by social enterprise Bjala on Sunday, 4 September.

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) and the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) will be collaborating on an upgrade of the facility in 2017, and have partnered on the project's design with Bjala, an organisation that is intimately involved in the community.

Bjala and members of the community have been lobbying for some time for an upgrade of Jeppe Park, which is located in the densely populated inner city suburb of Jeppestown and must rank as one of Johannesburg's most-used - and best-used - urban green spaces.


Besides the children and residents from the immediate neighbourhood who meet here informally to relax, socialise and play, there 5 stakeholder groups who make regular use of Jeppe Park - and whose activities, when they coincide, always do so harmoniously.

Jeppe Park Primary, which provides quality but affordable education for the children of low-income learners, is located across the road from the park, and makes good use of the space the facility offers for its learners to exercise and play.

The park is also the venue for amateur and would-be professional soccer players, who meet after work and play long into the evening on weekdays; for Saturday gatherings of members of the Shembe Church; and for migrant workers staying in the hostels in and around Jeppestown, who meet in organised groups on Sunday mornings to share news from home and other matters of mutual concern.

Lastly, there are the fiercely contested ngoma dance competitions, involving men's teams specialising in various styles from hostels around the city, which fill the air with pulsating music and draw large crowds of spectators to the park on Sunday afternoons.


"Jeppe Park is a different park," said Jabulani Khwela, who was helping Bjala with the setup and running of the outreach event, and kindly took time out to describe the five user groups and their activities.

A documentary filmmaker who grew up, lives and works in the area, Khwela believes it is important for him as an artist to be part of the change in the area.

He went through an artists' incubation programme with Bjala, and is one of the collaborators working on the Jeppe Park Superdream, an exchange project between artists in Jeppestown and Gateshead in the UK which seeks to build skills while activating local parks.

"There's a lot of different grouping and cultural gatherings here, which you don't see in many parks around Johannesburg. Jeppe Park has a lot of history behind it, for example the Shembe Church meetings have been going on since I was a boy and even before, so it's a park that has a great deal of meaning for me."

Bjala's outreach event, held under JDA and JPCZ auspices, drew input from all the stakeholder groups as well as from residents in general.

Interactive questionnaires set out on tables made it easy for community members to become part of the redesign of the park - a partnership which is central to Bjala's, and the JDA's, modus operandi when it comes to redeveloping public spaces.


Chantal Mann, Urban Programme Manager at Bjala, said the organisation saw its role in public space redevelopment "as to join with the community in helping to advocate for improvement of public space and better utilisation of it.

"This is a very densely populated area, and people need a place to come and relax and enjoy the sun," Mann said, noting that the park had huge potential for providing still greater value to the community.

"It's an already very well utilised park, a beautiful piece of public space, and very valued by everyone, as you can see," she said.

Once these groups had all shared their thoughts about what they wanted to see, these ideas would be translated into technical designs for the JDA/JPCZ project managers to use to implement the park upgrade, starting with the process of tendering for contractors.

Besides public space, arts and community, Mann explained, Bjala sought to effect changes in the areas of affordable housing for low-income urban groups, quality education for inner city children, and community-focused job creation.

In all of these, she said, the JDA and other City agencies were important partners in sharing advice and information and - as in the case of this event - co-ordinating their efforts to improve the lives of Joburg's urban communities.

Thanks for your support

On 29 September the occupants of 10 Mordaunt St Jeppestown were forcibly removed by the red ants. As a result the building next door to 10 Morduant, which had nothing to do with the eviction, and no knowledge it was taking place, also caught alight. Groups from both buildings lost the little they had including ID documents, ARV medication and birth certificates of their children, all in the trauma of a blaze and forced removal from the property.

Because of the many generous people of Jozi and abroad such, and volunteers on the ground, the displaced and venerable victims received items and support they desperately needed in the days that followed 29 September. 

The emergency response depot set up by Bjala with the help of local community and volunteers, at 28 Madison St Jeppstown, handed out relief packs in 20L plastic buckets that included an inventory relevant to gender and age. Such items included toiletries, clothing, shoes, blankets, dry foods, feminine products, nappy’s, baby formula, baby wipes and other items of dignity to over 500 affected persons.

 Dispensing from our depot of feminine products, nappies and baby formula took place daily together with Food stations being set up. Portable toilets were also made available throughout the period immediately following the eviction and fires.

 The depot volunteers also captured beneficiary information such as name, age, gender, current location after being made homeless, medical needs and urgent needs. This data was captured to establish a baseline needs assessment of the affected community.

 Funds donated have been used to pay for various items handed out over and above the many donations in kind received as well as for the hiring of portable toilets and purchasing of food.

 Bjala made the decision that members of the affected community need to be involved in the decision making of distributing relief items and assessing the needs for themselves. Thus an inclusive community support committee has been established with members from the burnt and evicted buildings. Relief assets and resources were turned over to the affected group earlier in October and Bjala provided space at 33 Madison street for the community relief efforts to continue.

 Approximately R45’000.00 has been raised to date and approximately. R 15’000.00 of funding remains in trust for the ongoing efforts that are being steered by the Community support committee.

 Bjala along with several other stakeholders have been driving efforts to get accountability and responses from state and public bodies (with disappointingly little success) in parallel to the on-the-ground efforts by local community and general public.

 The point needs to be made that the respective departments of the City and politicians who are responsible for response and action in circumstances such as these have not only failed in a direct response to this particular calamity but have in instances simply lied, abused power and failed in serving the most venerable in society in this instance and for several years now. This is a great injustice to not only those the City is meant to serve but to the many great individuals working within the City structures.

 Bjala’s position is that this type of human rights contravention is avoidable and evictions in Jeppestown should be resisted and not take place until all alternatives are exhausted as no alternative accommodation exists! Commercial gain through property rights cannot be held above human rights and the two need not be mutually exclusive.

We thank all those on behalf of the Jeppestown community who assisted in any way. Bjala would also like to thank Streetlight Schools, Platinum Sketch Studios, Sticky Situations, Meals and Wheels, PLEASE, Dis-Chem and 94.7, Street Sleeper, Trust for Urban Housing Finance (TUHF), Rapid Studio, and the many amazing individuals that volunteered in this community support effort so far.

 If you would like to remain involved in any way please email