Cross Street in unusually hot and humid conditions in January this year. Now it's July and the streets are just as empty and the annual Grahamstown festival has been cancelled.
The pilot project
There is a month to go, lockdown restrictions permitting, until our learners finish their training. It’s not an auspicious time to be trying to sell new-found skills, especially in South Africa. We plan to support them as best we can and will keep you updated on our progress.
We referred to this training as ‘the pilot project’ because we knew we would have to be superhuman to get it right first time. And yes, we, too, have been learning constantly. Whether it’s curriculum, management, requirements of trainers, costs, support – you name it, and there’s been a learning point.
Meanwhile we held a trustees meeting earlier in July and one theme of our deliberations was ‘What next?’. Pre-Covid we had plans and possibilities, at the moment it’s difficult to know where and what to do next. Thanks to the lockdown and its resulting massive blow to the economy of South Africa, we don’t see a largish project being possible until at least the middle of next year. But the enforced pause, at least, will give us a chance to take stock, analyse and decide how to move forward when it is possible to do so.
Over April and May 2021 we hope that Ade will be able to visit schemes in Zambia and Lesotho who are doing similar things to us but are more established. He hopes to gain an insight to what's successful and what doesn't work so well.
Searching for new partners
We’ve asked our partners in South Africa to identify companies in the Eastern Cape that rely on skilled people who may be interested in some sort of apprentice scheme. Khanya would pay the apprentice’s stipend for say a year and in return the company would teach the skills required. The hope being that after a year some or all would have developed enough that the company would consider taking them on.
Carry on carrying on
All this is by way of saying that we are trying to look ahead and find a way forward in an uncertain and changing world.
A big thank you to all who are interested in our work and who support us in different ways. And a thank you to Graeme Holmes of the Grahamstown Project whose Facebook page we shamelessly plunder for pictures.
Christina Thomas is a trustee of Khanya and serial volunteer at Amasango Career School.