Community Action Network

Starting from a few existing CSO’s a call went out for communities to come together across Cape Town to support those vulnerable during lockdown. In no time at all over 200 CAN’s had sprung up over Cape Town, self organising in a flat hierarchy, organising to support the rapidly rising number of people without income due to the strict lockdown measures, the number of people going hungry rising rapidly daily. Using whats app and zoom calls these CAN’s were learning from each other and networking, with CAN’s from better resourced areas pairing up with CAN’s from under resourced areas.

Image by Cape Town Together

At present, the CAN’s are doing more than the SA government to feed those who are going hungry due to strict lockdown measures through a network of community kitchens, as COVID numbers are now rising CAN’s are now organising to put together ‘Community Care Centres’. Gardening initiatives are springing up in every part of town.

The lockdown connected a divided Cape Town. Those requesting food support volunteering to cook in the community kitchen alongside their much wealthier neighbours, bridging divides. People connected with their neighbours and an elaborate scheme of street reps sprung up where neighbours support each others, sending data , airtime and supermarket vouchers to those in need.

Story shared by Elin Dubym, South Africa.

More info here or at elinlovisa@gmail.com

COVID-Comedy-Video-Series

My sister and my brother-in-law made a series of comedy videos during the lockdown. These videos were sent to family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues to spread cheerfulness and laughter in this serious, disturbing time.

The recipients of the videos were pleased that they could at least see my sister and my brother-in-law in the video, since personal meetings were not possible. Thus one felt closer again, despite the distance. In addition, the funny content of the videos was a welcome change in the midst of the disturbing news. Many recipients felt that a newly released video was often the highlight of the day, as it made everyday life, which was marked by social withdrawal, a little happier.

With regard to social interaction: The videos were a good occasion to get in touch with each other and to exchange ideas. The effort that went into creating the videos was worth it, as it brought cheerfulness to the recipients and gave them a sense of closeness. With regard to technology: An Internet connection that is too slow has often meant that the videos could only appear after a considerable delay.

Picture by John Barnard Whittaker “Comedy and Tragedy”, Brooklyn Museum.

Story shared by Franziska Schulz, Germany

More info at franziska.schulz@hochschule-bc.de

Street art keeps spirits up and connects during lockdown

One resident bought some chalk for his children to use and started writing messages when it was a birthday or an anniversary; these messages of congratulations and solidarity can be seen from our second story windows.

Children from the area started adding portraits so that it looks like they are all holding hands, something that they cannot not do during lockdown. The idea was first started by children but soon it became a focus of the street, with every resident (including pets) being included in this collective portrait.

Picture by News and Star

The street art was a welcome distraction during these unsettling times, which resulted in increased well-being and community identity on our street.

Creative means of connecting people can emerge when we are separated. Initiatives for children can have spill over effects to grown ups!

Shared by Suzanne Wilson, from the United Kingdom.

More info here or at swilson21@uclan.uk