Today I would like to take the time to appreciate my friends that have undertaken an amazing initiative and made it a roaring success in less than a year, through the upliftment of their own city.
Dlala Nje meaning ‘Just Play” in Zulu, is a games and cultural emporium that has opened up in the heart of Hillbrow, in Ponte City – one of the most notorious suburbs in South Africa.
This play center gives all the children of Hillbrow’s, Ponte Tower a safe place to play and a chance to develop themselves in a positive environment.
The store is owned by Mike Luptak, Nickolaus Bauer and Neil Underhay and was opened in the hopes of changing the negative perceptions surrounding inner city living in Hillbrow, Yeoville and Berea.
I was there on the day they opened, and let me tell you, I was blown away!
They have since hosted a Christmas Party for over 500 children and orphanages in the area. The day was a roaring success and Dlala Nje was on the map.
They have hosted and Easter event and often have movie nights for the children in the shop. On Mandela Day this year they walked from Hillbrow to the Maboneng precinct where they handed out blankets to the homeless and the children had a wonderful day.
What sets Dlala Nje apart is the fact that they aim to uplift the area, that is it. No ulterior motives.
They showcase African artists, teach the children skills and provide guided walks in the area to open the eyes of those that still have the perception that the area is ‘off limits’ and that people could not live in the area safely.
This little games emporium has affected so many lives in the short time that it has been running and has already come so far in changing the perceptions of the people both in Hillbrow, Tourists and those South Africans that have been avoiding this part of their own city, through the guided walks that they offer of the area and Ponte City . They have also managed to find themselves in the press a few times.
I am so very proud to know these guys and their initiative has changed my life and perspective on my own city and I am always proud to be involved in their events.
LET’s CHANGE THIS CITY!
Here are some pictures of the amazing work these guys do: