Every first Friday of the month a dinner is held that sees the meeting of strangers from in and around Cape Town for purpose. Dine with Khayelitsha was started in 2015 by a group of young men from the township as a means to raise funds for Have Fun, an organisation that works in early child development. The event is held every first Friday of the month in Khayelitsha with the aim to have food and fun over meaningful conversations.
I went to my first dinner this past Friday with little idea of what to expect. The meeting place was Lookout Hill, with over fifty people from different walks of life gathered and awaiting instructions. Once everyone had arrived, the large group was divided randomly into three smaller groups. Each group would go to a different house for the evening to have a different experience of the night from the others.
The community is involved so the initiative is kept local. People volunteer to open their houses to guests. The initiative also looked to promote young local talent by asking them to provide their services, be it food, music or poetry. Friday’s dinner was provided by Ofentse, a young man who works at Kubu Cuisine. The house and the food are set, now for the main purpose of the night. Each house was given a different theme and point of discussion. The three topics on Friday were: Learning isiXhosa, Innovation and Random Acts of Kindness.
I was in the Random Acts of Kindness group. It was a discussion fuelled with a lot of introspection. What is a random act of kindness and when did you show such an action? What does it mean to you? What does it meant to the recipient? The topic stirred up quite the conversation among people, with some having to look at whether they have ever extended their kindness to when they should. In the end it was agreed that everyone would leave with at least one simple random act of kindness to impart to the world. Smile more. To those you know and to strangers. That can change people’s attitudes and outlook of their day.
At the end of the night and lovely dinner and discussion, all houses regroup. The night ended with beautiful spoken word and serenades offered by other young men from the area before we all went our separate ways.
The amalgam of people from different walks of life coming together to share a uniquely personal experience, which was made possible by the warmth of strangers and the vision of the youth of Khayelitsha is what makes this initiative worthwhile. Dine with Khayelitsha is a way that “township” tourism can be promoted in a way that is inclusive instead of exploitative. Additionally, the depth of the experience and the drive of the people behind Dine are what calls people to attend. Do yourself a favour and become part of the journey. Until the next one, remember to make a person’s day, and keep smiling.
You can find out more about Dine with Khayelitsha at the following links:
Facebook: Dine with Khayelitsha