New website to promote Khayelitsha

Thembinkosi Qondela, founder of the Whizz ICT Centre.

After nearly 10 years of struggling to get the initiative going, plans to establish a website to promote Khayelitsha and its people are under way.

This comes after NGO Whizz ICT Centre launched a fundraising campaign to kickstart the new website which is named the KhayaWeb on Thursday June 1, in Site C.

But for this website to be fully operational, it needs your support.

This initiative seeks to unearth positive things happening Khayelitsha, restore its tainted image and outline key attractions for tourists and potential investors.

Part of the core mission of the website is to create a strong and lasting relationship between organisations that are working to improve the dire conditions of the area and connect them to the residents.

Founder of the organisation, Thembinkosi Qondela, said the dream of establishing a website dates back to 2008 when he launched his organisation.

However, due to financial constraints and a lack of resources, he was unable to launch the site.

But, he said, he always knew that one day he would make his dream come true and promised himself he would never give up, regardless of how long it took.

Mr Qondela said R280 000 was needed to cover the operational costs of setting up the site.

He said what further inspired and motivated him to start the website was that when one did a Google search on Khayelitsha, most of the results related to negative things happening in the area.

He said that bothered him and he realised that the true reflections of Khayelitsha were not being portrayed.

And while he conceded that negative things did happen in the area, he wanted to change the focus and re-build the reputation of this community that has a rich history.

He said they wanted to use this tool to motivate and acknowledge the community’s unsung heroes who were doing a sterling job of improving conditions in Khayelitsha.

He said the idea was also to promote local businesses and in that way, create employment opportunities.

He said he had knocked on many doors pleading for support for the project, but all of his efforts had been fruitless.

However, in 2015 things changed for better when he met with people from the Penguin Protocol, a US company which believed in his idea and ran a one and a half year free course training young people about web development.

The company provided skills and ways to run a website and some of the students who participated in the training are now working on the website.

Mr Qondela said the idea behind this initiative was to make Khayelitsha as popular as Soweto, emphasising that people of Khayelitsha have the capabilities and skills to put the area on the map, but they need support.

He said the area had produced great boxers, footballers and academics who had all represented the country in some way or another but their stories had not been documented.

“We should not blame what others are doing but we should ask ourselves what are we doing to contribute in building Khayelitsha. The aim is to develop Khayelitsha and its people.

“We are bringing tangible benefits to the community. It is up to us to change our community and make it a vibrant place to be,” he said.

A thrilled Yoleka Galada who is among the students who participated in the web development course, said she was excited about the project and that through the website they wanted to bring about much needed change in the community.

Ms Galada said in the long run the website would create employment opportunities and teach people web development.

Anyone who wishes to support this initiative can contact Thembinkosi Qondela at 073 268 5309.