Police cause break-in nightmare

During the level 5 lockdown, the country was told that the addition of the army would help the police in enforcing law and order. In addition, we were also told that crime had reduced drastically in the country due to the lockdown. In reality, however, businesses throughout the country were vandalised and hundreds of thousands of Rands worth of goods taken. Outreach Foundation was, unfortunately, part of those statistics, though up to now, an unregistered one.

While some police officers in South Africa are overzealous in carrying out their duties, others certainly are not.

We had two break-ins on our premises during stage 5 of the lockdown. A few thousand Rands worth of equipment was taken not to mention the damage done to the areas involved.

Our dealings with the local police station on these break-ins have, sadly, not been good. When we had the first burglary, our call to 10111 was taken quickly, but we waited in vein for the police to come to the premises. After two days, we called 10111 again. The call centre operator asked us if this was the first time we were calling, clearly showing disbelief and that nothing was documented the call centre’s side.

One of our programme managers decided not to wait any longer and drove directly to the Hillbrow police station only to ‘hit his head against a wall’ again as the Hillbrow SAPS refused to open a case. He was told to go back to the crime scene and call 10111. He was further told that the call centre would then send a police vehicle to the premises. Third time lucky as this time, a police vehicle was finally sent. By now, however, days had already passed.

The police officers checked out the scene and although displaying empathy and sadness for our loss as they looked at the broken windows, drops of blood and other damage, said they couldn’t open a case.

A week later, we had another break-in. We called 10111 again, and this time, the police arrived twenty minutes later. However, in this instance we were now told to go to our local police station (Hillbrow SAPS) to open a case as they were too busy to attend to this break-in or open a case. We were perplexed at this and very frustrated.

Off our programme manager went again. This time, although at the same police station where we were told we could not open a case before, we now managed to open a case. After doing so, we were referred to a detective. We explained our experiences over the past two weeks with the police regarding the break-ins and what we were told, and he openly admitted that what we had experienced was a classic case of police incompetency.

He said that the police should’ve been there that same morning of the break-in while the evidence was fresh and at the last resort, the police that arrived at the scene of the first break-in should have opened a case right then and there. They also should have called forensics to dust for fingerprints and gather other evidence. This would be essential in not only finding the perpetrators but also when prosecuting the person once captured. The chances of the police capturing the offenders now are very slight because of this incompetency.

Although we have opened two cases, we have little confidence that anything will actually happen given the glaring incompetencies experienced.

We also wonder whether police are emphasising too much on minor infractions of lockdown rules, and ignoring the major issues occurring which has devastating impacts on businesses and people on the long run.

Our hope with this account of our experiences is that others who are told the same things we were are now armed with information that will help them fast-track opening cases in the event of a robbery.

  • If the police haven’t arrived within hours of calling the emergency call centre, follow-up with another call, or more;
  • Once the police have arrived, remember that they should call forensics in. If they haven’t, query that; and
  • The police at the scene should open a case right then and there. If they haven’t or won’t, query that.

Bill Oxford

Dealing with anticipated grief in a post lockdown society

Corona Virus (COVID-19) does not discriminate, it can affect anyone.

By Johan Robyn

Johannesburg, Saturday, 4 April 2020 – The impact of the COVID-19 Virus on humanity will be immensely felt in all spheres of society. The most significant impact, in my opinion, will be from a mental health level of how we, as a global society, effectively deal with our grief. Globally the focus now is on the physical lockdown, flattening the infection curve and saving economies, but in post lockdown societies, I estimate that with current high levels in death, the biggest challenge globally is going to be how we as a world and society deal with our anticipated grief mentally.

The way how we deal with our anticipated grief lies in how mentally strong we are as a global and local society.

As a symbol of mourning their death, the Chinese government paid public tribute to the over 3,000 deaths it has experienced. This act also acknowledged the grief experienced by its citizens and the country. Somehow, publicly, this was a step in the right direction in dealing with grief, but what about the individual going home to that empty space once inhabited by a loved one who died?

The death rate at present stands at over 70,000 people globally from this Virus. The percentage, one may think, is not that high compared to the numbers who have contracted the virus, but when one takes into account the mental impact of not mourning and dealing with one’s grief for the more than 70,000 families, one realises what impact this will directly have on an already crippled workforce in struggling economies globally.

In 2014 while visiting Germany, I visited the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen, close to Hermannsburg. The tour guide, through his predictable and prescribed script, mentioned thousands of people being buried in unmarked graves. Still, in his voice, I could hear the uncomfortable sympathy of mourn and grief that was not adequately dealt with. A grief that the Jewish nation regularly visits and still, today, struggles to deal with.

Similarly, behind the museums and the cold stone statues of remembrances in Rwanda, after the 1994 Rwandan genocide where millions of people were brutally killed, lies emotions of grief that has not been dealt with by those left behind. The same can be said of the Tsunami a few years back that killed millions of people, or even the Ebola outbreak. The list can, unfortunately, go on.

So how do we deal with anticipated grief?

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, in her profound work, Death and dying, gave us a guided journey of grief, with her theory of the five stages of grief, namely denial, anger, depression, bargaining/decision and acceptance. Although her stages of dying are not a strict process leading to acceptance, it can also be seen as an up and down process.

Globally and locally, the world and our communities will be stuck with depression and bargaining during the following period post the COVID-19 Virus.

This will occur firstly as a result of the two-meter social distancing we have had to ensure we create, which has meant that we have lost the emotional touch and presence which is so crucial in dealing with death and secondly, as a result of losing our traditional rituals of mourning. It is these rituals that take us through Kubler-Ross`s stages of death, and ultimately to public acceptance.

In this morning`s news (Saturday, 4 April 2020), it was mentioned that Ecuador has a current death rate of 30 people a day. The local mortuary does not have space for the deceased, and the government has, therefore, had to build death camps, to accommodate 2,500 to 3,000 bodies. This is extremely sad and the families will, I’m sure, battle to come to terms with their loved one’s deaths as a result.

With our inability to effectively deal with anticipated grief, our already torn moral fibre will continue to split into an irreversible stage in our mental weakness.

It is complicated and difficult to predict the number of people who will die as a result of this Virus, but with current infection rates experienced so far, I think it is safe to say the worst is yet to come.  And globally, post lockdown, our biggest challenges will not only be the economic turmoil caused, but how we mentally deal with grief. More than a million people have been infected by the COVID-19 Virus so far, and hundreds of thousands, I’m sure, affected by the deaths caused by it.

Outreach Foundation’s thoughts are with all of our beneficiaries, partners and sponsors. We wish you good health going forward.

Remember: Stay safe, keep your distance and wash your hands regularly.

We can’t wait to see you soon.

For more information on the Corona Virus in South Africa and what the government is doing, go to: https://sacoronavirus.co.za/

Temporary closure

Temporary closure of Outreach Foundation

Creating opportunities one nail at a time

The Outreach Foundation nail course started in the middle of February 2020. It is the first course of its kind the organisation has offered, and the response has been incredible. Both men and women registered for the Introduction to Nail Technician course.

Run over five weeks, the course not only deals with manicures, pedicures, acrylics and gel but also covers other compulsory subjects. These subjects include the introduction to entrepreneurship, introduction to financial literacy, basic computers, leadership development as well as self-awareness and job preparedness. The compulsory subjects are part of each of the new courses the organisation now offers.

According to Johan Robyn, Outreach Foundation’s skills development programme manager, the new courses the organisation now offers, such as this one, is aimed at improving the employability for job seekers and those interested in entrepreneurship. 

“We felt that we needed to do something to help the many unemployed in our country. During our assessments with the people who come into our premises, we identified several courses that they felt would be helpful in either starting their own company or assisting them in getting a job.

“The response to this course shows us that our decision to offer it was a good one. And at the end of the course, those who wish to start their own nail business will go through our one-month entrepreneurial incubation hub where they will get mentorship, supervision, social media training and more. We aim to help start-ups as much as we can.”

The nail course trainer, Nicole Kisimba Nkulu, is no stranger to the industry or training. She has extensive experience not only with nails but as a beauty therapist. She worked in a salon and worked on the Refugee Children’s Project in 2018, where she taught some of the people how to do nails.

“I’m very excited to teach at Outreach Foundation. It is a really good course. It helps people live and survive as they get skills which help them start their own business. The course will encourage them to look at ways to use their skills such as renting space in a salon which will give them access to clients and a safe environment.”

Robyn said that Outreach Foundation would hopefully also offer a make-up course soon, which goes well with the nail course.

“If students complete both courses, the beauty entrepreneurs will be able to offer a full beauty service at weddings, parties and more. And if they do the sewing and fashion design courses, they will have even more to offer!”

Those interested in the next intake of the nail course or any of the other courses offered should contact Outreach Foundation on 011 720 7011 or email info@outreachfoundation.co.za.

The other courses Outreach Foundation offers are an introduction to sewing and fashion design; basic computer course; introduction to bricklaying; introduction to plastering; introduction to welding; introduction to carpentry; introduction to plumbing; point of sale; food preparation; introduction to urban farming and introduction to English. To view the training course pamphlet, go to www.outreachfoundation.co.za.

After School Dance Programme

Outreach Foundation is pleased to announce that we have offered alumni, Bigboy Ndlovu, a residency in our beautiful dance studio. As part of his residency he will conduct dance classes as part of the after-school programme and will conduct dance sessions at the Tswelopele Frail Care Centre in Hillbrow.

Bigboy first worked with the late Denny Dube and the 1st production he co-created and performed in was Under the Tree which performed at the EADS Festival and had performances at the Hillbrow Theatre. Since 2010 he has been a committed, focused and passionate participant. He remains loyal to the Outreach Foundation returning to volunteer on various productions. He also performed in We are Who We Are, which travelled to a children’s festival in Iran in 2013. Sadly, Bigboy was unable to go due to missing birth certificate papers. His continued participation in the project after this huge disappointment is testament to his commitment, resilience and dedication.

Bigboy proved his skills and commitment in many productions while participating in the Project. Highlights include working with Jean Paul Delore, French Theatre director who created a production, A Very Strong Present (2013), Sean Hart, French videographer and graffiti artist (2013), Lindiwe Matshkiza’s The Donkey Child (Bigboy was one of the puppeteers on the production who had the opportunity to travel to the National Arts Festival to meet the War Horse – 2014) and Dutch artists, Christiaan Bloem and Annemiek Funneman who created a children’s production, Maarten Mus, and performed at the National Arts Festival (Bigboy performed in the work as translator – 2014).

In 2014 he then performed in Nkosi uMzilikazi ka Mashobane, directed by Outreach Foundation facilitators, Gcebile Dlamini and Linda Mhkwanazi. In that same year he facilitated the Whitestone College (the school he studied drama group creating a dance focussed work,” Locked Down” for the Inner-City High Schools Drama Festival. The production was inspired by a dance work created and performed by Fana Tshabalala, which Bigboy saw at the NAF the previous year. He also performed in the work and was nominated for a Best Actor award.
In 2015, his matric year, he was not part of the programme and needed to focus on his studies. He was encouraged to apply to Moving into Dance training programme which he did and was accepted.

Gcebile Dlamini has invited Bigboy to work on three productions, My Silence is Talkative, Sounds Like You and Me and Twala. As stated above Bigboy generously volunteered to co-collaborate on these powerful productions. In 2017, Bigboy was invited to audition for a dance production, Hillbrowfication, choreographed by Constanza Macras and Lisi Esteras. This work, performed by participants, alumni and professional dancers (Dorky Park dancers), was first staged at the Hillbrow Theatre as part of the 30th anniversary of Dance Umbrella. It has since travelled to Germany, Italy and Spain. In 2018 he also took part in an Outreach Foundation collaboration at the My Body My Space Festival in Mpumalanga.

A most deserving candidate for a residency!

Youth “leadership development” Camp 2020

“Youth learn how to make good decisions by making decisions, not by following directions”
– Alfie Kahn
Outreach Foundation Youth “leadership development” Camp 2020


More marimba! The Outreach Foundation high school marimba programme is off to a good start! Centurion College preparing for their school open day!
Themba Moyo creating magic!

Our Gardens

New crop… Fresh beginnings…
A wonderful way to start the year! Our roof top food garden now in partnership with Urban Agricultural Initiative.
A huge thank you to Belinda Ratyana and her team for so generously helping out today. Belinda farms at the National School of the Arts…her partner, Robert Mutero tunes and fixes their pianos and now ours! Wonderful neighbours!
Thanks too to Virginia, Mike, Tim, Rudo and Owen.
And a very big thank you to Halaliswe Msimango for organising it all!

Outreach working hard

Outreach Foundation is working hard to complete an order for 11 handmade, beaded lampshades before it closes for the holiday season. 

Training Courses

Speech and Drama College visit

Thank you to the Speech and Drama College of South Africa for witnessing our work today! For reports, certificates and feedback!
A wonderful beginning to a new partnership for 2020.

Promoting our work for 2020!

On Wednesday, one of our star participants, Bongiwe Masuku, approached me to ask if the marimba band could play at her awards ceremony at IH Harris in Doornfontein. After visiting the school and negotiating with Mrs Masuku (No relative), we performed at the assembly this morning to much cheer!
Thank you to Quinton Mamabolo for your beautiful work this year and to all the participants for their dedication and passion.

In My Mother’s Womb Performance

A beautiful iteration of In My Mother’s Womb, directed and created by Gcebile Dlamini in collaboration with the cast, performed at the State Theatre last night. An engaged and passionate post-performance conversation reminded us to connect and understand to those who we may “other”.

Thank you to The State Theatre for inviting us to present our work. A big shout out to Thabiso Qwabe for witnessing our work at the National Arts Festival and then following up with an invitation.
A joint marketing strategy paid off! Thank you to the Optima students from National Council of the Blind, learners from the Bethesda Special School, Ga-Rankuwa, elders from Nomsa Day Care Centre, Ga-Rankuwa, International Judo Association and friends and family for your tremendous support.
A huge thank you to our alumni – Bigboy Hadebe, Thobeka Malinga and Bontle Ndlovu for your generosity and contribution to the success of this wonderful production.
Thank you to Rand Merchant Bank, Ford Foundation and Bread for the World for your generous support of our programmes.

Outreach Foundation Creative Ageing/Inter-generational Programme
The performing arts programme of the Outreach Foundation has, over the years, rooted its work thematically, addressing current and relevant social issues that impact our participants and their communities. The programme is committed to using the arts as a tool for positive social change engaging ethical and best practise methodologies.
We are based in in the heart of one of the most diverse and most densely populated areas in Africa – Johannesburg’s suburb of Hillbrow, South Africa. For the last four years, we have collaborated with Tswelopele Frail Care Centre (Hillbrow), and last year invited Johannesburg Society for the Blind to create devised theatre works with our school-going participants. Themes of belonging and home, identity and music, cultural belief systems and generational curses have inspired the sharing of stories.
• For me it was extraordinary because working with grandmothers and grandfathers they give you knowledge that you have never seen before. You have never ever imagined from what they saw in apartheid and now that has… listening to their personal stories has been quite comforting.
Cast member – young@home 2017
Many of our participants live in single-family households who have migrated to Johannesburg for mostly economic reasons. The elders have been separated from their family and from their homes to be taken care of in a communal space. There is a disconnection experienced by the youth and elders in relation to family and home. The inter-generational project creates an alternative family. It is also a space to learn from other’s experiences and perceptions of the world we inhabit. It is about inter-generational knowledge sharing.
• I think our country has forgotten our elderly. I think this work did an incredible work in showing on how youth feel how elderly are and how energetic they are. I felt such an energy from the elderly and also such a sense of stillness and peace. I was really wonderful, thank you very much.

• Something that really touched me and I took the time is to look at every single one of the youth. And how in their eyes there is so much potential and I was just thinking that they are writing stories now that when they will be performing as elderly that they are gonna tell. And also thinking to myself that these beautiful mamas and tatas having so many beautiful stories this isn’t even their last story. They still have so many stories to experience. And this is one of them. And I was so moved by the youth

Audience comments from young@home 2017
Gcebile Dlamini, one of the theatre facilitators, has led this project since its inception. She is currently studying towards her Masters in Applied Theatre with a focus on inter-generational and creative ageing processes.

Coding Workshop

End of Year Celebration

Join us on the 30th November as we celebrate 2019!

End of Year Celebration – on the 30th November the Outreach Foundation music and theatre programmes join forces to present all works created and presented this year. The day begins at 10am with all our piano and percussion students performing short extracts from their repertoire. Quinton and Themba are collaborating to create a musical theatre work with all the marimba and choir groups. The theatre programme will then present Uncommon Feelings (Barnato Park), an extract from Hillbrowfication (Dorky Park), In My Mother’s Womb (After-school production), Sounds Like You and Me (After-School Production) and New Age Sensation (St Enda’s). An assessor from the Speech and Drama College will examine our theatre works and each participant will receive a report and certificate from the College.
Next year we partner with the Speech and Drama College to introduce their curriculum and engaging with published text for the first time. This promises to be an exciting addition to our yearly programme.

Thank you to Rand Merchant Bank, Bread for the World, Ford Foundation, Department of Arts and Culture, City of Johannesburg, Assitej South Africa, Dorky Park, Drama for Life, GALA, Vuyani Dance, Tsweloele Frail Care Centre, Johannesburg Society for the Blind and all our friends for an inspiring year!

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