The Upstart Writers

Upstart is a Youth Development Project which was started in 2008 as a project of the Rhodes University School of Journalism and Media Studies. Upstart engages with anumber of students between the ages of 13 and 19 with the hopes of sharing skills and uplift learners. According to the programme, “Through the various multi-disciplinary projects the Upstart programme offers to develop skills which enable and empower Eastern Cape youth to positively implement change in their lives and those of their communities.”

There are a variety of programmes that upstart learners can become involved in. These include; the film project, the radio project, the newspaper project, as well as Upstart Clubs.

Embizweni has partnered up with the Upstart Newspaper Project. This partnership invoves Embizweni helping edit content for the students and publish stories produced by the students involved in this particular programme.

Find the first batch of work centred around EnviroNews, a package which was previously published in Grocott’s Mail on 3 July below.


Molweni. Goeie dag. Howzit.

We’re a group of local Grade 9 and 10 learners who write for the Upstart youth newspaper. This year we were invited to join the Grocott’s Enviro news team.

For our first edition, we decided to take each other on walking tours of our respective neighbourhoods to give you a sense of who we are, where we come from, and the sorts of urban environments we live in. We have strong connections to our ‘hoods, and there is plenty to celebrate there. But, there are challenges, too. We hope you enjoy this little journey with us.

My ‘hood: Extension 9

By Thanduxolo Royi

One of the first things you notice walking in my neighbourhood is the beautiful new tar road. Nearby, we also have new RDP houses in Extension 10 – they look very shiny and new inside and outside. Some of them are double-stories! This is a new thing in our township. What I especially like about my home ‘hood is the new lights that were built for us so during the night we can see where we are going.

We are happy about these things. At least now government is doing something in our community.

When I grow up, I want to change where I live. I want to build my own home because the Extension 9 houses are not built well. When it is raining the water goes inside the houses and through windows and they get flooded. I wish that the government could see the problem and fix those houses.

Thanduxolo 1

I am very committed to karate. I take it seriously because I wanted to stay away from drugs and other wrong stuff that we as teenagers face. I wanted to focus on my education and my future.

Another good thing about my 'hood is the community hall that was built for us in 2010. My karate club uses it for training. But, now they are vandalising it and I am worried about what the hall will look like in the coming years. It seems that the government is not doing anything about this vandalism.

Another good thing about my ‘hood is the community hall that was built for us in 2010. My karate club uses it for training. But, now they are vandalising it and I am worried about what the hall will look like in the coming years. It seems that the government is not doing anything about this vandalism.

In 2013, the government opened the Extension 9 public library. I am a member and it is very close to my house. But, it would be good if it had more isiXhosa books in it. At present, there are only a few. (This is the shelf with all the library’s isiXhosa books.)

In 2013, the government opened the Extension 9 public library. I am a member and it is very close to my house. But, it would be good if it had more isiXhosa books in it. At present, there are only a few. (This is the shelf with all the library’s isiXhosa books.)

My ‘hood: Extension 9

By Xolani Moagi

I moved to Extension 9 in 2008. What I like this ‘hood is that we have streets that are named after animals. For example, Hobe street is named after a bird.

What the kids of this area would like is if the government could build some sports fields in this area: rugby, soccer, cricket, netball, anything! Also, a skateboard park would be nice!

I live with my grandmother who plants vegetables and herbal plants. When I have flu I don’t need to go to clinics – I just take the right plant for flu. In any case, the clinics are too far from us. We have to walk a long way to get there. We had a clinic before but now it is not used any more because the criminals go in there and take the pills to smoke them.

One nice thing about this area is that there are little churches all around.

Welcome to my world! Parts of my Extension 9 neighbourhood have been turned into dumping grounds. If the municipality were kind enough to remove these dumps we could breathe fresh air. The municipality must do its job.

Welcome to my world! Parts of my Extension 9 neighbourhood have been turned into dumping grounds. If the municipality were kind enough to remove these dumps we could breathe fresh air. The municipality must do its job.

My ‘hood: Extension 9

By Aphiwe Matiwane, Tembelihle Lib and Somali Soho

In my ‘hood we have a library, the Jabez Aids Centre, and the Extension 9 Hall. We used to have a clinic but it closed down for some reason.

We also have a group of dancers and different sports like karate and soccer – but we do not have proper training facilities. There is a soccer field and a rugby field, but they are not well maintained – and they don’t even have posts.

What I like about Extension 9 is that we have a little local library for children to go and do their school work. However, there are not enough books there for the higher grades.

What I hate the most about Extension 9 is crime. There are a lot of criminals here. But, the police don’t bother to chase them because some of them are scared.

In Extension 9 we also have problems with housing. Every time it rains the water gets inside the house. That’s why people get angry.

Our mayor has a nice big house – he doesn’t care about us. That’s why people are marching.

The Extension 9 hall was built in 2009 and opened in June 2010. It is beautiful inside. It is useful to have a hall so that the community can hold meetings and tell the ward councillor and the mayor about their problems.

The Extension 9 hall was built in 2009 and opened in June 2010. It is beautiful inside. It is useful to have a hall so that the community can hold meetings and tell the ward councillor and the mayor about their problems.

It is sad to see that the outside of the hall has been damaged by the people and children of Extension 9.

It is sad to see that the outside of the hall has been damaged by the people and children of Extension 9.

My ‘hood: Phumlani location, Extension 2

By Lonwabo Sandi

Phumlani is my birth place and I like the people of my community because they are kind.

We have many shops and we also have a park. But, over the few years people have being taking things from the park. Eventually, the government took the last swings because people were vandalising them and taking them away.

At my community we do not have many gangsters. We do not even get afraid when we are walking at night.

I wish that government could tar all the roads. We also do not have a library close by – we have to walk a great distance to the Duna library. I wish that government could build a hall or a library where the park used to be.

During the days when we were growing up we were playing soccer or cricket on the street. But, now people are on social networks.

My community is the nicest place to be – you do not get many people shouting and swearing. But, the problem is our streets are riddled with potholes and cars are not able to come here.

My ‘hood: Extension 8

By Oyisa Tame, TEM Mrwetyana

What I like about my area is there are many things for children: a soccer field, a netball field, a park, and a creche for small children. We also have community vegetable gardens. What I don’t like is there’s also a tavern, which is called a Las Vegas. Underage children are drinking at that tavern, especially children who stay in my area. They drink a lot but no one seems to care.

Another thing is the tar is not finished on most of the roads, which is hard on cars and people’s lungs. The tarred roads have huge potholes. Taxis, which are our main transport, are not prepared to come to Extension 8.

I think there should be a rugby field and also a library in our area.

Look at this beautiful dam in Extension 8! Children swim in it in the summer, dabchicks float on it all year around and there is a local legend that it is home to a mermaid! About four years ago the Makana Municipality built a recreation area here, including a netball court and braai facilities. That has all been stripped away or vandalised.

Look at this beautiful dam in Extension 8! Children swim in it in the summer, dabchicks float on it all year around and there is a local legend that it is home to a mermaid! About four years ago the Makana Municipality built a recreation area here, including a netball court and braai facilities. That has all been stripped away or vandalised.

Find it online: www.grocotts.co.za/environews

Contacts for Makana Enviro-News:

Nikki Köhly: n.kohly@ru.ac.za, 046 603 7205 | Jenny Gon: j-gon@intekom.co.za, 046 622 5822 | Nick James: nickjames@intekom.co.za, 082 575 9781 | Philip Machanick: p.machanick@ru.ac.za, 046 603 8635 | Tim Bull: timothybull05@aol.com, 046 622 6044, 076 289 5122; Rod Amner r.amner@ru.ac.za, 046 603 7123.

Advertisements