Monday, June 30, 2008

First day at TSiBA

Today was our first day of “classroom” sessions with the TSiBA students. In the morning we are going to spend a few hours learning then the rest of the afternoon out in the field working on our projects with the local entrepreneurs.

A little about TSiBA- all the students of TSiBA are on full scholarship. They passed a test called “matric” that all SA students have to take in 12th grade. Because of their financial problems (many live in the townships), they weren’t able to afford to go to a big university. TSiBA is a 4 yr newly accredited school where you graduated with a bachelors degree in BA.

Overall, the TSiBA students were shocked at the fact that we don’t live with our parents. They are all very close knit and could never fathom moving out at their age. Although they were the same age as us, they told us we seemed very mature. They were in awe at the price of eduation that we pay. To put it in perspective, at a local art market in the township, there was this one wire/statue that costs 250 rand. I then asked him how long it took to make it and he said one week. Again, if 1 usd = 7 rand, his weekly wage is about $35. Also, after asking the students if it was normal to see cockroaches in your room, they were horrified and I realized its not a normal thing to see in a 4 star hotel! (phew!)

They speak 3 major languages in Africa and at TSiBA. One is English, the other is Afrikan, and the last is called Kosa (sp?). Kosa has clicks in their words. I never knew how you would spell some of the sounds and it is very interesting to see. We tried a beer in the township that was called (click) uma. Some of the letters represent different types of clicks. One of the students is going to give us a lesson later.

Next, the projects that we are going to be working on- the entrepreneurs came in to present to us about their businesses or their ideas. Below are who presented:

Siseko: Wants to start a gym in the Langa township that has boxing, tredmills, etc.

Diane: (an optometrist) Want to bring Retinal Screening to treat blindess due to diabetes into townships

Karen: Started Izikoll which is a paper/art+crafts/stationary business and a literacy program (

Annalisa Creations: Started a sewing business that makes custom products. Works out of a garage in the back of the building

Gugu S’Thebe: A center in the Langa township where local arts work & sell (pottery, arts, beads, etc. Microsoft even donated 15 computers for the center.

Londolozani Orchids: Working to sell the orchids overseas or to the wealthy SA’s

ProTeam SA: Operates tours for the ‘township experience’- focused around being fun. Marketing to wealthy, white schools and tourists.

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