Where children and teenagers come first

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2 ½ years ago saw the beginning, with 18 boys, of the Changes youth group. Only 5 of those had present fathers, 3 being alcoholics. After visiting the local Stellenbosch prison, the boys chose the youth club name – from the famous Tupak song – and to symbolise the changes they would like make in their own lives.

12th April saw the beginning of Changes 4.0 – i.e. 83 mainly farmworker children between the ages of 6 and 16 arriving after school for lunch.Great vegetarian Farm to Fork food, grown by Eric, our organic farmer, or here in the Lynedoch gardens. (Not one child has asked where the meat is, and some have gone for seconds and thirds!) Then on to homework, karate, drama, soccer, gardening, drumming, games and remedial work if necessary.

This is purely voluntary – and there were bitter complaints yesterday when the bus arrived too early to take some children home. They wanted to stay later. There are more children arriving each day to ask to join – the Institute is bursting. Everywhere we look there is a child, just the way it should be.

Meerlust, a local wine farm, has provided substantial funding so that children living on that farm can participate, as has the Lexi Cinema – our partners in London.

All strength to a remarkable team – Tracy, Anton, Naledi, Suelle, Veronica and Christine, along with Jess and Manda  – where children come first.

“Changes” – TUPAK

Come on come on
I see no changes wake up in the morning and I ask myself
is life worth living should I blast myself?
I’m tired of bein’ poor & even worse I’m black
my stomach hurts so I’m lookin’ for a purse to snatch
Cops give a damn about a negro
pull the trigger kill a nigga he’s a hero
Give the crack to the kids who the hell cares
one less hungry mouth on the welfare
First ship ’em dope & let ’em deal the brothers
give ’em guns step back watch ’em kill each other
It’s time to fight back that’s what Huey said
2 shots in the dark now Huey’s dead
I got love for my brother but we can never go nowhere
unless we share with each other
We gotta start makin’ changes
learn to see me as a brother instead of 2 distant strangers
and that’s how it’s supposed to be
How can the Devil take a brother if he’s close to me?
I’d love to go back to when we played as kids
but things changed, and that’s the way it is

I see no changes all I see is racist faces
misplaced hate makes disgrace to races
We under I wonder what it takes to make this                                                      Photos by Sara Atkins
one better place, let’s erase the wasted
Take the evil out the people they’ll be acting right
’cause both black and white is smokin’ crack tonight
and only time we chill is when we kill each other
it takes skill to be real, time to heal each other
And although it seems heaven sent
We ain’t ready, to see a black President, uhh
It ain’t a secret don’t conceal the fact
the penitentiary’s packed, and it’s filled with blacks
But some things will never change
try to show another way but you stayin’ in the dope game
Now tell me what’s a mother to do
bein’ real don’t appeal to the brother in you
You gotta operate the easy way
“I made a G today” But you made it in a sleazy way
sellin’ crack to the kid. ” I gotta get paid,”
Well hey, well that’s the way it is


We gotta make a change…
It’s time for us as a people to start makin’ some changes.
Let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live
and let’s change the way we treat each other.
You see the old way wasn’t working so it’s on us to do
what we gotta do, to survive.