The Kula Malaika Foundation
My name is Monika Bertels-Nyembe, born 14th of May 1974 in Germany. I visited South Africa for the first time in 1995 and fell in love with the country and it’s people. I immigrated to South Africa in 2002 after finishing my studies in Social Sciences in Germany and working in a children’s home in England.
I felt very soon that it was my task to set up effective children’s and youth development centers and started in 2005 a creche and an school after care in a small village named Kleinkrantz located at the Indian Ocean, Garden Route.
Together with my partner and husband Watson Nyembe we brought this project to a great success and started the Kula Malaika Life Skills Training Farm. We live on this farm with our two children Joshua and Emma.
My name is Watson Buhle Nyembe. I am South African, mix of Zulu and Ndebele and married to Monika Bertels-Nyembe. I grew up in Soweto, a ghetto in Johannesburg, where there is crime and hopelessness.
I spent my young days learning and helping with various projects and organisations. This helped me to gain knowledge and skills and gave me a great platform to become a role model.
I like to help children and young people who are born and raised in similar challenging conditions as I was. I find our work a light and a gift and hope that through that we can address the urgent need in our economy and in the rest of the world.
Kleinkrantz is situated about 10 kms away from Wilderness. The community is right next to the Indian Ocean, amidst one of the most scenic tourist routes of South Africa. Kleinkrantz was built in1985 and was originally meant to serve as a housing settlement for the poorer part of the population.
In fact the buildings that were paid for by the government, were then actually rented to people who were by far more solvent, while the people who were promised the houses constructed a so-called “Squatter Camp” on a waste dump.
These Squatter Camps are “unofficial” settlements made out of wood and corrugated iron sheets and made into shacks.
Today, there are 10 up-market buildings with ocean views and 200 buildings owned by people from the lower / middle class in Kleinkrantz, while there are about 100 families living in the “unofficial” settlement (the so-called “Tip”). The population of this settlement mostly has no completed school education, and thus there is an equally high unemployment rate.
As all over South Africa, aids and alcohol abuse are central issues together with the lack of education. Violence and crime are a daily occurrence in Kleinkrantz and the social fabric is tattered. Families in the Squatter Camp consist mainly of a single mother with numerous children from different fathers. The people try to make a living with casual jobs, yet the salary often goes directly towards alcohol.
Even though South Africa is a country rich in natural resources, the government (post-apartheid) hasn’t succeed in creating a social safety net that would secure the lives of the poorer population of the country. The bereaved are the children - most of them are not able to finish school and get involved in crime and/or start to abuse alcohol and take drugs and thus the vicious circle of poverty and desperateness continues.
The Kleinkrantz Children and Youth Center first began in October 2005 with 10 to 15 children who, every afternoon after school came into our private apartment to get some food and get help with their homework. Currently, the after school care of the Kleinkrantz Children and Youth Center takes care of 25 children on a rented property.
Another 30 small children attend the nursery (creche) in the morning. The crèche is located in a municipal building. The offices and accommodation spaces for volunteers were built in 2007 and currently accommodates 7 employees and several volunteers (all from Europe).
Kula Malaika was founded after we started the Children’s Center in Kleinkrantz. The Kleinkrantz Center is its own Non- Profit-Organisation with its own parents committee. But our vision was bigger and therefore we registered Kula Malaika as another ‘Non-Profit Organization’ in 2010. Translated into English:”Kula Malaika“ stands for “The Growing Angel of Love”.
The foundation now serves as an umbrella organization for the Children and youth Center of Kleinkrantz. But in the meantime we also started a second Children’s center in Lancewood and the Kula Malaika Life Skills Training farm for young adults. We are supported by several German Non‐Profit Organizations and have been a partner with the Children Relief Organization’ “Das Kindermissionswerk” in Aachen, Germany since 2008.