Dear Poverty

I won’t introduce myself because you and I are well acquainted. We have spent far too many nights on the same sponge in my family’s small house; I greet you.

In 1948 you showed up at my family doorstep in Camps Bay. You stood smiling as my family was hurled out of a place they called home, and forced to Guguletu a black township I now call home 15km from the city of Cape Town.

I have spent many years of my life with you. I’ve known you in ways most intimate. And while our “friendship” left me with bruises that I can still feel when I touch my most intimate parts, I am grateful for these scars, because I use them as a reference when I find myself tempted to give up on the cause I’ve committed myself to. And that is to seek educational opportunities for children in my community through the township experiences I offer visitors.

I touch my scars and am reminded of what I left behind, what I will never return to. You also encourage me to fight harder, because I see myself in the eyes of children in Guguletu who struggle to get a meal; and have no chance of ever being freed from the chains of inhuman conditions that they’ve come to accept as their fate.

But I refused to accept you as my fate and I refuse to accept you as anyone else’s fate. I see you walking around in my township, your head held high, I see you making yourself comfortable in the homes of my friends and family and on those days when you feel daring, even gathering the audacity to knock on my door.

You take away so much. Your cruelty leaves one numb, helpless, defeated. But you failed dismally to reduce me to that.

Children in the townships deserve better; and I have vowed to make history of your frequency.

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9 Comments

  1. Walter and Margrit Frey on Reply

    Dear Laura
    Thank you very much again for your very informative tour! We learnt a lot not just from what you showed us but also from what you told us in your interesting explanations, stories and comments. Some pieces of information you gave us really shocked us. We were impressed by your commitment, strength and perseverance.
    The children at your school touched us the most. By giving them education and regular meals you give them hope for the future and enable them to work towards better living conditions in the townships.

    We wish you every success for all your useful projects!

    Walter and Margrit
    Switzerland

  2. Samuel Mahlangu on Reply

    Hi Laura,

    Thanks very much for a very informative and enjoyable guide for me and my wife. We are also very excited that we were the first of our kind to make use of your services. You really exceeded our expectations. From the moment we met at the airport until the last day you were like family to us. I must admit that had I not engaged your services, as recommended by my colleague, we would have missed out a lot. You shared Cape Town history on our first drive and reminded me of my primary schooling. After our first drive, we thought we knew everything about Cape Town, but alas, the following two days were to be very profound. We also learnt a lot from your personal stories, they will really go along way in shaping us as a couple. You are a very humble lady, and we like the way you look at life in general, especially giving back to the community. Million thanks for that. Our tour is unfinished and well will surely use your services when we come back to Cape Town. May God richly bless you as you continue to bless others. Till next time.

  3. Thomas & Daniela on Reply

    Dear Laura,
    Thank you for sharing half a Day and the Story of your life with us. Deep Impressions!!! We will never forget! In our opinion you are a strong warmhearted Lady with a great personality. For your projects we wish you all the best. We keep in contact. Thanks a lot for introducing us to parts of your family and to many friends. It was an unbelievable experience and everybody could learn from you, how to stay warmhearted in this really cruel and hard life. Great you are able to give others hope for life.
    Love and best wishes
    Thomas & Daniela

  4. Philipp on Reply

    Great tour, very authentic and close to the people.

    If you want to experience Cape Town/Africa, if you want to see behind the fancy, western facade, go with Laura to Gugulethu!

    MUST DO!

  5. Helen on Reply

    Thank you Laura for your most generous time, giving us the opportunity to experience your township. A humbling experience which will never be forgotten. Your tour is one of the first experiences we tell our friends about from being in South Africa. I wish you,your family and all those beautiful children that you so generously look after good health and happiness. God bless you all.

  6. Frank Enzmann on Reply

    erschütternd und bedrückend, so könnte man die Erfahrung aus der Township-Tour mit Laura bezeichnen. Mit der Überwindung der Apartheid hat sich das Leben der Schwarzen nur wenig verbessert. Aber viel ist es nicht. Wo sind die Projekte zur Gleichstellung geblieben? Unsere Entwicklungshilfe, insbesondere die aus Deutschland ist bei den Bewohnern der Townshíps leider nicht angekommen. Und dabei ist Hilfe dringen notwendig. Laura betreibt ein Vorschulprojekt, das bewundernswert ist. Die kleinen Geister werden liebevoll umsorgt und auf die spätere “harte” Zeit vorbereitet. In wenigen Stunden fliegen wir wieder nach Südafrika. Und wieder werden wir mit Laura unterwegs sein und haben uns entschlossen, ihr Projekt direkt finanziell zu unterstützen.

  7. Esther on Reply

    Dear Laura,
    let me say that your text (Dear poverty) touched me in a very special way.

    Congratulations on your website! I will spread it all over Germany and try to organise more help for your projects, to fight with you side by side against poverty.

  8. Michaela & Simon on Reply

    Dear Laura, We hope you and your family are well and safe. 
    Thank you for this great experience on our township tour back in november 2012! I remember when u told us you really want/need a website and here we go, we are very happy for you! You made this day very special to us, showing us your home and introducing us to all this wonderful people. Although, it was horrible to see how the fire destroyed your familys house. Something we will never forget!! Your words back at your house about faith and hope were amazing and opened our mind and hearts. You are an incredible strong woman and what you do is just unbelievable – you are doing a great job!!We hope to hear more about your work in the future I will visit your site to see how you doing!!We wish you and your family the best of luck and a merry christmas!!

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