Dlala Nje was opened for two reasons.
Firstly, we have a mission to provide a platform for development and empowerment to the kids of Hillbrow, Berea, Yeoville and specifically Ponte.
Our second reason for opening up Dlala Nje was to quash the very negative perceptions people of all walks of life have about this part of the inner city.
Of course, we don’t always get it right, but we think we are getting there.
This is the exact reason we thought we’d share an email with you that we received this week.
Beryl Knipe is an old resident of this part of town. And she perhaps doesn’t believe in what we’re doing.
Hence she wrote this:
|| Beryl Knipe <beekay@#####.za.net>
|| 1 July 2014 08:40
|| Which is it?
I’ve just been reading Travel Weekly (8 June 2014), wherein it states the tour price is R300 per person for a tour through Yeoville. Your Website reads : “…from as little as R180…” for a tour of Yeoville – which is it? R300 or R180?
You didn’t ever live in Yeoville/Berea/Hillbrow so I’m not quite certain what type of area-history you offer? I do know, as I travel those areas, it’s very, very embarrassing, explaining to people that I once lived there, when it was clean, well-run and well-kept.
Sadly, today, it’s nothing short of a filthy African, melting pot of a cesspool with some of the worst smells I’ve come across. Why you would offer “tours” of the area beats me!! People can drive there on their own or catch a bus.
Anyway, if you feel like it, just let me know whether it’s R180 or R300.
We thought we’d share Mrs Knipe’s email. Not for any reason, other than to illustrate how we plan to change THIS exact type of mindset.
Read on for our response:
Hi Mrs Knipe…
Thanks for getting in touch.
Our co-founders – Nickolaus Bauer and Michal Luptak, have been living in Ponte Tower (the big Vodacom Building) for over 2 years now. Being passionate members of the community and believing in bringing a positive change to the area, the duo have made it their business of being very knowledgeable about their new home.
We’ve engaged historical archives and residents from previous years to get a taste of what the place was like before we’ve moved here. And it goes without saying that we have immersed ourselves in the community here now to have a full understanding of the present.
We believe in doing this project from the inside out. We focus on communities and the youth.We give a platform for development to the youth of Hillbrow, Berea, Yeoville and specifically Ponte.
They have access to free internet for school projects, partake in several different cultural programs we run in the shop and essentially have a place to call their own. Where kids can be kids in a place where they often can’t be.
We also draw the necessary skills to facilitate this change and development of the youth by getting folks from the suburb to come and see for themselves that this part of the inner city isn’t what they think it. And all that is needed for some positive change is for them to share their skills and help us empower this community.
Maybe that’s the side to our business you seemed to have overlooked?
Your mindset is the exact reason why we decided to start doing what we are doing. How can we expect South Africa’s troubled areas to change if the mindset of those living around it stuck in the past?
We offer these tours because people have looked on this place as fit for only the desperate and the drug addled for far too long. They are scared to even come here because of the very negative perceptions that you help to perpetuate.
It’s really quite sad that you feel that way about your old neighbourhood.
We can assure you that if you packed away prejudice for just 3 hours, you’ll be able to get a better grasp on what the truth is about this side of town nowadays.
To answer your question about pricing, we have two separate tours.
This is Hillbrow costs R180 and the Taste of Yeoville costs R300.
Our Hillbrow immersion takes you through Ponte and Hillbrow and ends with a stop a local tavern. You’ll be able to get a full understanding of this notorious suburb’s past present and future by coming on this walk.
While our Yeoville immersion takes you through one of the hubs of cultures in Johannesburg – Rockey street. It is a culinary extravaganza. All of the food we sample along the way is freshly prepared and delicious. So you needn’t worry about it being prepared by “African” hands.
Prices are set to change in September. Our Hillbrow tour will cost R220 and Yeoville will cost R350.
This isn’t because we are looking to make our pockets fat. No, not at all. Our tours are our funding model. And every single cent we make gets ploughed back into our community center and used for development and empowerment.
But don’t worry about paying… We want YOU to come on the tour for free.
Why should we worry about losing out on a couple of hundred rand we’d just be using to develop our community?
Obviously you need this change of mindset more than anyone.
And that change of mindset… We think… Is priceless.
Team Dlala Nje