Let's Launch Ntirhisano!

We've reached our initial goal and will be able to launch the community center!

Thanks so much to everyone. However, our costs will continue on an ongoing basis. Everything you contribute over the base amount will go to our future needs. So please keep spreading the word! Also, contact us at [email protected] to discuss ongoing financial support.


A community organizing space providing key resources for grassroots organizers and community members in Salt River (Soutrivier) and surrounding areas of Cape Town.

This will be a drop-in space for meetings, performances, and services. It will be staffed by a volunteer collective, two of whom will reside onsite. Through partnerships, our goal is to provide a wide range of services to the community, including legal, medical, child care, and community projects, as well as information about human rights, gender-based violence, and workers' rights.

This will extend the organizers' existing work which is based in: a refugee encampment in nearby Kensington, an occupied former hospital in neighboring Woodstock (Cissie Gool House), and a bottom-up newsletter to report and record community members' own lives.

Ntirhisano is a Xitsonga/Shangaan word that means working together. Naming the community center Ntirhisano seeks to bridge geographical, linguistic, and political divides. As well as to acknowledge the migration of languages, people, and cultures, the initiative aims to consolidate a sense of solidarity between disparate and oppressed groups, of which Cape Town has a rich history.

We are committed to promoting and advancing a long-standing tradition of solidarity against oppression with consideration, care, and sensitivity. We believe the name Ntirhisano will intrigue, trigger, reignite and reinforce multiple layers overlapping deep within the human consciousness. Rediscovering ways to help communities and participate where people have always taken care of one another in many years of hardship

There will be resonance from both these anticipated activities and those already underway. We'll achieve these objectives through using critical material, engaging in discussions and readings, holding debates and discussions, gathering and organizing information, visiting communities, and teaching.


The goal is to move into the space in February 2022. Preparatory remodeling has already begun in December.


We are a diverse group of activists and organizers frame a variety of race and class backgrounds; from secondary school students through experienced middle-aged organizers.

Some of us spent years organizing amongst the waste-pickers in Makhanda as part of the Mass Solidarity Movement which we draw on as experience. More recently, we have built rich relationships through our work in Woodstock, at Cissie Gool house, and Kensington, at the refugee camp, especially among those largely written off by mainstream NGOs.


We have negotiated a lease of R6 500/month for the space ($425 / €375). We anticipate other expenses (for basic food and transport, utilities, maintenance, and promotions) of as little as R3 500/month ($225 / €200).

These will be ongoing expenses, and we will be developing an ongoing pool of sponsors who can help maintain the effort (possibly including you!). We also plan to launch a cafe to subsidize costs.

But for this campaign, to launch the space, we need to raise a minimum of 3 months' expenses, or R30 000 ($1950 / €1725).

We need this money by January 15, 2022 to demonstrate feasibility and move in by February 2022. Please help!


We have witnessed how the grassroots communities are ready to standup and fight for what is theirs. But in most incidences, you find these that the solidarity with these communities is separated from existing societal structures. This includes everyday existence: from body language, deeds, aspirations, values and even where we live. Many leaders or facilitators are living lifestyles or aspiring to lifestyles contrary to grassroots realities. They do not realize that the masses are intelligent humans like everyone else! The problem is there are no structures immediately available for the rank and file to express themselves, and as a result, they fall back on societal structures which are fundamentally patriarchal, capitalist, neo-colonial, and statist.

Our movement is therefore rebuilding revolutionary movement that will activate structures and platforms already existing in grassroots communities. The Ntirhisano Community Centre thus acts as a resource for local communities to rebuild, reactivate and consolidate revolutionary structures from the base. We will make contact with community activists and arrange visits to their communities, where we can learn and invite them to use the resources of the Community Centre. The movement is centered primarily around informal and formal workers, homeless people, refugees, rural communities and urban poor communities. The Ntirhisano Community Centre aims to play the role of a locus for communities to organize, be creative and feel included.

Outside in front of the building where Ntirhisano Community Centre (NCC) will be based. 515 Albert Road, Salt River, Cape Town. December 12, 2021. Salt River is a small town that served as the industrial heart of Cape Town until the 1980s. A government of apartheid introduced neoliberal policies that led to job losses in Salt River. Factory after the factory closed, leaving thousands unemployed and desperate. In Salt River, most businesses are now informal. According to one of the residents, this building was once a textile factory and later a chemist. The building has three parts, the one on the far left is a takeaway/sit-in café serving local cuisines. The food served is associated with workers and is common in townships (working-class neighborhoods). The Ntirhisano Community Centre (NCC) will be on the right. You can see the NCC entrance where the abandoned black fabric is hung (see photo) and in the middle is a vacant space.
During lunch, workers inside a takeaway. The shop is a next-door neighbor to Ntirhisano Community Centre (NCC). The iconic seven steps of District Six's working class and resistance culture are depicted on a framed artwork hanging behind a man wearing a black hooded sweater. The artwork is part of a small exhibit with a couple of historic photos of District Six in the mid-twentieth century. December 4, 2021. This takeaway is frequented by workers, passersby, and locals alike. Among the workers are municipal, factory, office, and construction workers. The location is an asset to NCC's projected activities because of its proximity to the public. Which is to organize, mobilize and reconsolidate the poor and working-class solidarities.
On the right side of the building: Mzamani standing outside where Ntirhisano Community Centre will be based. 515 Albert Road, Salt River, Cape Town. October 12, 2021. On the left is the entrance to NCC, where the abandoned black fabric is hanging, and on either side painted white are windows. The brand markings above on either side and the white paint on the windows will be taken off. The paint on the windows will be replaced with curtains so the public can see inside. The walls of the building are stubbornly firm. The space inside is rectangular in shape with long sides of about 18 meters. IncludPeople who need a quiet place can remain inside. The curtains will be open or closed depending on what is happening. There'll be a table or two with chairs outside for people to sit, read, discuss, etc.
The drawing plan shows how the NCC will be inside the building. The entrance is on top (see the drawing above). There will be a stage for events immediately to the right, followed by the counter along the wall. It will depend on the activity taking place in the space. For instance, people will most likely use the counter for working while drinking coffee. Then on the left side, they will be cushions, possibly with a couch and a table or two with chairs. The side will be used for discussions, meetings, learning, assisting students, and consultation, but likewise, it depends on what is going on. As for the use of place, there is no straight jacket rule. Then the space before the kitchen and bathroom on the right and left, respectively. Here we will construct a floor, and this section had a second story taken down, which we are replacing. There will be more space for the two comrades who will live in the center. The plan was created sometime in November 2021.
Jos Willem van Veen, Sam Ivy, and Mzamani. Inside the Ntirhisano Community Center (NCC) in Salt River, Cape Town. 04 December 2021. Jos, Sam, and Ahmad are members and co-founders of the Ntirhisano Community Center (NCC). They have just finished their matric or last year of school. Since March/April of this year (2021), they have volunteered at a neighboring community in Woodstock and participated in political activities. The community consists mainly of homeless people evicted because of the ongoing gentrification in Salt River, Woodstock, and the surrounding area even further on the outskirt of the city. The gentrification evictees have since regrouped to occupied empty buildings that used to be the hospital in Woodstock. The hospital was soon after the post-apartheid government came into power, reduced into operating as a daycare health facility catering only for a day or out patience. Before it was finally closed down in the 2000s and occupied after, it was empty for several years. The residents or occupiers renamed the old hospital Cissie Gool House (CGH). Cissie Gool was one of the renowned anti-apartheid activists here in the Western Cape, Cape Town.

The ntirhisano.mp4 below was created on December 4, inside the space where Ntirhisano Community Centre (NCC) will be based:

The following are some links to Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) podcast, newsletters, videos and etc.

Link to the newsletters: https://masssolidaritysa.wixsite.com/masssolidarity

The epi_1125452_medium.m4a below is a radio on Makhanda Waste Pickers' Movement interview made sometime in October 2021

Monde Xinwa sitting beside a fellow waste picker in front of the container they use as shelter. At the Makan Muninipal Landfill, Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) in the Eastern Cape. October 13, 2018. They are taking apart a piece of metal to sell as a recyclable at one of the nearest scrapyards or recycling firms. They pick and sort various materials from different plastics, papers, metals, and cardboard: to sell at the scrapyards or recycling firms. Materials are paid based on weight and type. Most of the recyclables get between R0.40c and R1, 20c per kilogram. Due to this, they cannot afford to live, so they must eat rotten food thrown away constantly. There's no union representing waste pickers. They also do not receive any support from the national, provincial, or local governments. Instead, the municipality does not want them near the landfill. Despite that, municipal governments save over R70 million each year because of waste pickers. Again waste pickers' activities are keeping the environment clean. Also, alleviate the effects of global warming. Monde and his colleagues also fix electronics like thrown away cell phones, computers, laptops, and household appliances to sell to the community or keep for themselves.

The following is the Soundcloud link. Monde Xinwa, one of the waste-pickers and a member of the waste pickers' movement in Makhanda is talking on the Radio Grahamstown about the waste pickers' experiences at the Makana municipal landfill:

The icon +FINAL FINAL FINAL Mixdown 2.mp3 below was created in 2017 for the Waster-pickers Radio Project Journalism course

The icon Sequence 01.mp4 below was created in 2017 for the Waste-pickers Photo slides Project journalism course:

Mzamani is seated in the middle. Left to right. Mama Joyce Ramazani, Mama Elizabeth Andeka, Mama Esther Lulelu, Mama Christiana Kambinga, Mama Mado Seya, and Mama Veronica Lulelu. Refugees' tent at Kensington Military Base, Cape Town. 18 December 2021. Mzamani visited the camp for the first time since August/September. At the meeting, the women talked about the difficulties they face, especially since Home Affairs does not assist them in acquiring their basic legal documents. Even after being in the country for a long time, they cannot get the papers they need so they can live a normal life. Sam and Mzamani told the women about Ntirhisano Community Centre (NCC). That they are part of the NCC and their hardships will be shared and necessary steps will be taken to ensure their human rights are upheld. The majority of households that were living in the tent have since 'integrated' into communities. They were given three months' stipend from the UNHCR of R2000.00 per month per household. They had to pay rent, buy food, take children to school, and so forth - from it. We are told many of them are desperate and resort to coming back to the tent. They are still not given meaningful refugee status. There are currently 150 occupants in the tent and 50 are children. Mzamani and Sam are going to start a community school inside the tent this coming January 2022. The next meeting will be on 15 January 2022 and everyone agreed the school would have started.
Mzamani sits for a picture on the truck while loading furniture from the Interim Centre (IC). Furniture is being moved from Kensington to the Ntirhisano Community Centre (NCC) in Salt River and is 5.9 kilometers away. December 27, 2021. The Interim Centre specializes in alternative education and learning. The Interim comrades are moving out of their Kensington space. The owner of the building wants to use it for his business. The Interim comrades are still deciding whether to partner with NCC or find a new place. By storing their furniture at the NCC. They allow NCC to utilize it. Both NCC and IC are excited about the NCC and are eagerly awaiting its beginning on February 1, 2022.
A truck loaded with Interim furniture is parked in front of the Interim Centre (IC) in Finpark, Kensington, Cape Town, for storage at the Ntirhisano Community Center in Salt River, 5.9 kilometers away. Since the Interim is still to decide whether to partner with the NCC or find a new location, the NCC will be using the furniture. December 28, 2021.
A truck loaded with furniture outside the building in which the Ntirhisano Community Centre (NCC) 515 Albert Road, in Salt River, Cape Town. R to L, comrade Asher Gamedze of the Interim and Prosper, the truck owner: are unloading and moving furniture into the building where the NCC will be. October 28, 2021.
Mzamani is surrounded by furniture from the Interim Centre (IC) in Finpark, Kensington, Cape Town. He is sitting inside the space where Ntirhisano Community Centre (NCC) will be located. The space still requires a lot of work in terms of renovations, plumbing, and electrical installations. This work will begin after some key members return from holidays in mid-January 2022. The Ntirhisano Community Centre will open on 1 February 2022 and begin operating.
In the back row, from right to left: Pathaly Aroni, Masika Mahamba (blacktop), Sakina, Zainabu Donatien (floral dress), and Kipendo Sambata (purple top). Children on the floor from right to left: Sam Ivy (facilitator), Willow Maneno (8), Mariam Juma (10), Maende Athike (11), Grace Kassado (11), Anto Maneno (11), Dona Juma (10), Paskali Yangya (11), Riziki Juma (13) Sulemani Juma (8), Suzana Manano (6) and Riziki Tabia Kiza (3). Ivy Sam (19) from Ntirhisano started a learning and teaching program inside the big tent at the refugee camp. The program was launched on Monday, January 10, 2022. Some of the mothers watched with keen interest. The only supplies he had, were blank paper, some permanent markers (some were blunt), and some pencils. Despite the lack of supplies, the children were enthusiastic, instinctively creative, and carefree. Three hours were spent learning and teaching. We will be having a community meeting this weekend on Saturday, 15 January 2022. Where we will be discussing a number of issues affecting this community and how to deal with them. Refugee Camp, Kensington, Cape Town. Monday, 10 January 2022.
Zabibu Dona (girl running). Asifiwe Emma (small boy), Julie Ombaro Vumilia (pink top), Zainabu Donatien (floral dress). Suzana Maneno (girl sitting, Maende Ahite (with hands on the waist), and Sam Ivy. Ntirhisano and the community plan to establish a vegetable garden on this land. The refugee community faces many hardships. Food is always in short supply. People often go to bed hungry. Fresh food is hard to come by. On the West, you'll find a communal water tap at the far end of the tent. This is government-owned land. In the apartheid era, it was used as a military base. The army has since left. The land is about 10 hectares (24.7 acres). Over the fence, there is a small settlement. The people from there draw water from the refugee camp water tap. Refugee camp, Kensington, Cape Town. Monday, 10 January 2022

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