Neighborhood Regeneration

Despite being the second largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa is marked by significant rates of poverty, unemployment, and income inequality.

Twenty-five years after the Apartheid Era, many South Africans view social exclusion and violence as enduring obstacles to their country’s success. This is especially the case in Cape Town, estimated to be the 11th most violent city in the world and the most violent outside of Latin America. Worryingly, murder rates have risen by 60 percent in Cape Town over the last decade, despite South Africa having seen a 50 percent reduction in violent deaths since the 1990s. Crime in Cape Town is particularly high in Cape Flats, a gang-dominated place that has been locked in cycles of poverty and violence for nearly 70 years. Young people in particular face high levels of unemployment and often have no choice but to join a gang for economic gain as well as social status.

However, for WPDI and its partners on the ground, the current situation in Cape Flats is not its destiny. We believe that the youths of Cape Town have the power to shape a new future. They have the potential to become active agents of positive change; they can be a force for peace and sustainable development in their communities. We have made it our goal to train and empower young peacemakers from the Flats to help them transform their communities. They will be trusted with the mission of disseminating a culture of peace through Community Dialogues as well as courses in Conflict Resolution Education in schools throughout the Flats. By providing them with resources to develop educational projects and small businesses, we will work to help them put their communities on the path towards safety, resilience, and increased opportunities. The Community Learning Center that we established in Athlone provides a hub where youths and local residents at large can attend courses and use computers. To stimulate entrepreneurship, our Business Bootcamp incubator is to support the development of small businesses designed by local young people who have graduated from our trainings.

View our 2022 South Africa report

Key numbers to understand our impact in the Cape Flats: