Location: Orange Farm, South Africa
A local man spreads a social gospel in Orange Farm.
Bricks Mokolo is a bit of a local legend in the sprawling township of Orange Farm. An ANC activist and former soccer star, he has turned his attention to the social problems in his area and had concentrated all of his energy on preaching a social gospel of community responsibility.
Not only does he run the only waste collection depot in the area, he also travels around schools, churches and other community organisations to educate the people about the importance of recycling, sanitation, racial tolerance and HIV/AIDS awareness.
His waste collection depot provides a means for local people to recycle their plastic and paper waste. Locals come from all over the township with their rubbish and receive a modest stipend in return. Local grocery stores and businesses in Sebokeng also dispose of their recyclable waste at the depot. It is then sorted by Bricks’ staff and transported to the DJ Alfa Patier waste processing factory in Vander Bail Park. A variety of different products are produced from the waste, including plastic pellets.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa has seen the country spend an estimated R33 billion in preparation for one of the biggest sporting events in the world. With its shiny, new soccer stadiums, up-scale hotels and golden beaches, at first glance South Africa looks like a tourist haven. But behind this façade of prosperity lies another country: black townships without even the most basic infrastructure, bad roads, and insufficient sanitation, along with high crime and unemployment rates. Many of the people who live in these townships are frustrated by the failure of the post-apartheid government to help them overcome their overwhelming socio-economic challenges.
However, the resilience and dedication of people like Bricks to develop their communities and encourage the locals to be the change that their area needs, inspires hope that townships like these may face a brighter future.