Earlier in May, I spent a Saturday hiking with a group of kids from Khayelitsha. This would be their first time on Table Mountain. Accompanied by Olwethu and Nomvuyo, two enthusiastic junior leaders and our guides, we hiked from Constantia Nek. It was a gloomy, wet and cold Saturday, but regardless of the weather, everyone was very amped to go up the mountain.
Even though Table Mountain is an iconic landmark, many people from surrounding Cape Town townships, including these kids, have never had the opportunity to stand on top of the mountain. Beyond Expectation Environmental Project (BEEP) have taken it upon themselves to change this status quo among disadvantaged young people.
Founded by Lindela Mjenxane in 2005, BEEP’s main focus is on environmental education ans conservation, but more than that, it realises that it is very hard to teach township kids about respecting and protecting the environment of they have never experienced nature. This access to nature has created space where the kids have the opportunity for self-reflection; it has a positive influence on their outlook, and builds pride for Table Mountain.
This group of kids are also part of Rainbow Dreams Trust’s ‘To Be a Child Again’ club. RDT is a sister organisation to BEEP and does incredible work through guiding and mentoring children from various Cape Town townships. For more information on such incredible work go ahead and check out Beyond Expectation Environmental Project and Rainbow Dreams Trust.
It was heart-warming and beautiful to have had this experience. The feeling of joy and accomplishment when we got to the top was worth it!