CAPE TOWN, South Africa: At the 2019 YPO EDGE Anthony Ginsberg – Managing Director of GinsGlobal Index Fund and Chairman of YPO Financial Services Network – said a common trait of leaders, which is evident in the latest Global Leadership survey conducted by YPO (YPO.org) among the CEOs, is a strong desire to give back and positively impact society.
Each year, business leaders from around the world gather for the YPO EDGE, the organisation’s premier visionary showcase of thought leadership and innovation. For two days, members, convene with world-renowned thought leaders to address key issues in business, politics, science, technology, philanthropy and the humanities. The event, hosted on a different continent each year, offers exceptional educational opportunities for attendees while helping the global leaders of today shape the world of tomorrow.
The latest host city to YPO EDGE, Cape Town, South Africa, was the recipient of much of this generosity, some of it in the form of a donation to iKhaya Le Langa – a movement to sustainably uplift Cape Town’s oldest township. In recent years, Langa had undergone a considerable revival – in particular, the Langa Quarter which hosted 13 streets, 500 homes and 7000 people. Now, it is a hub of cultural activity, jazz, street art, dance, and a top-rated place to stay for tourists and locals alike. The Langa Quarter is one of SA’s foremost success stories so far, forming part of the greater iKhaya Le Langa (the house of sun) not-for-profit (NPO), which aims to revitalise the region as a social enterprise precinct and cleaner, greener, safer area of the township.
The NPO has accomplished much to date, showing how powerful community-NPO partnerships can be. Founded by Tony Elvin, of Tony Elvin Associates SA (https://bit.ly/31CaPx7), iKhaya Le Langa uses people, planet, profit (PPP) principles and sustainable business tourism to regenerate region, with the ambition to create the a multi-racial social destination. The most recent development for the NPO is InSTED: The Institute for Sustainable Township Enterprise Development. This initiative will operate from converted containers donated by YPO, following the recent YPO EDGE.
Paul Berman (https://bit.ly/2RgUER8), Host City Chair of YPO EDGE says, “Collaborating with Tony on the INSTED project is a way to sustainably entrench the inspiration, hope and energy of YPO EDGE in a way that will bring lasting benefits to the community of Langa and South Africa as a whole. We believe that as a research and development facility, InSTED will promote the partnerships and insights that could create real solutions to the deep problems perpetuating from poverty. Langa Quarter is an excellent example of how much can be achieved when we all work together.”
InSTED will be an important way to communicate and implement all the NPO’s learnings from the last ten years, including:
Developing Langa Quarter into a prototype Social Enterprise Precinct through:
- Proactively zoning homes for hospitality
- Organizing the Langa Quarter neighbourhood watch for a cleaner, greener, safer area
- Running the Ambassador Program, which assists community members with job readiness and personal development, to help divert unemployed youth away from gangs, into full-time training and community-building activities
Continuing Community-based Tourism (CBT) Innovation by:
- Developing the Langa Quarter Homestay Hotel, which is a 40-bed ‘homestay’ hotel consisting of 18 homes, with Airbnb endorsement for accelerated growth
- Running the Inter Community Tourism Agency, which advocates for tourism in a township, not township tourism
Additionally, InSTED will house the Academic Partnership Centre, as a resource centre for interns, researchers and students, and it will become a tech innovation hub, supporting Project UBU, which looks at digital currency opportunities; YeboFresh, which assists with low-cost township home food delivery; Micro Investing, which seeks opportunities to use blockchain as a way to invest in Africa; and Quantum Economics, which applies quantum physics principles to economics.
The take out from this success story is that South African townships have all the potential to become social enterprise precinct hubs of industry and activity. This requires strong private-public partnerships, with continued community buy-in.
Elvin says, “The tipping-point principle applies here. If we can create cleaner, greener, safer neighbourhoods, with vibrant art and music that celebrates the history and culture of our communities, we can catalyse ongoing job creation through sustained tourism. Partnering with Airbnb has helped bring credibility to accelerate the growth of our Homestay Hotel. Working with community ambassadors has been critical to making Langa safer. Joining forces with the Inter Community Tourism Agency has been essential to making sure tourism is ‘done’ respectfully and sustainably.”
The big lesson? It will take all of us collectively joining hands to really make a sustainable difference to our country and its most vulnerable communities.