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Recycling and Healing through Art in a Township


There’s no fuss here just fun! Join a dynamic team of creative geniuses who think out of the box and create beautiful art pieces out of recycled materials. The team encourage and aim for environmental sustainability by reducing and reusing materials. Using plastic bottles, bottle caps, toilet roll inners simply any recycled material you can think of is used. The recycled items are collected from beach clean ups and recycling co-ops. The produced art works are then sold and the funds are used to sponsor art lessons to the local township children. The kids love to learn and enjoy being a part of anything creative that is happening. Art is used to lighten their load, it enables the kids to bring all their struggles and stress and express them in a way that they would not normally be able to do. Art is one way they can have fun and break away from any problems they may be facing.

If you are a muso you can add your flair to the music program that’s always looking for creative writers, to write lyrics, songs and poetry. A beautiful exchange is constantly happening, so come be a part of this creative exchange.

Trip Highlights:

Living in beautiful Cape Town and experiencing everything it has to offer from exquisite wines to watching beautiful sunsets and taking walks on the beach.

Seeing how creative you can get while being surrounded by creative people and letting your creativity unleash using recycled materials such as plastic bottles, cardboard and paper

Focus is on collecting and changing natural materials and reusing these, which fundamentally aims at environmental sustainability.

Experience the different ways in which art can heal and witness and see the beautiful testimonies of this; and see how the kids become freer and more open from doing art activities.

Practice your creative skills, while volunteering your time and having fun with a team who really need your help. The team gives you space and room to be creative and learn, so you will grow as much as you are wanting to.

Make a difference by sharing your gifts, talents and skills with the creative staff team, while attending workshops and working on different creative projects.

At a Glance

At a Glance

Project duration: Two to twelve weeks

Location of project:  Masiphumele Township, Cape Town

Arrival airport: Cape Town (airport code CPT) arrive by 4.15pm at the latest

Activities: In the mornings and during the day assist with making beautiful art pieces from waste. You can also get involved in festivals, admin, puppetry, new projects and help with year planners. Some afternoons you will assist with art therapy with children from the local township

Working hours: Monday to Fridays 9:30 am to 3:00pm.

Art therapy with kids in the afternoons on Wednesdays and Thursdays (3:30pm-5:30pm)

6:00pm – 8:00pm for Music Program (not compulsory)

Requirements: 18 years

Accommodation: Shared dormitory room in volunteer house, same sex rooms

Food: Food is not included; you’ll need to purchase your own food (budget approximately US$50 per week)

Airport pickup: Included on arrival date - ask us for details if you're arriving early

For you to organise: Flights, insurance, visas, return airport transfer (at the end of your trip)

Your Role

Your Role

As a volunteer you should have an interest in art. While this project is fun and relaxed alot of hard work goes into all the projects the team undertake using recycled materials. The project gets all their materials, plastic bottles and all recycled objects from drop off’s, beach clean-ups and recycling stations. You will be encouraged to go wild and be as creative as you can be by using recycled materials such as; newspaper, plastic bottles, bottle tops, empty yoghurt tubs etc to make arts and crafts.

There are a series of events that happen throughout the year, so as a volunteer you will be involved in the different creative creation of projects being made for the different events; such as creating art for carnivals using recycled materials and being actively involved in creating crafts for different events and organisations The big events are: AfrikaBurn Camp, Cape Town Carnivals and the Muizenburg Carnivals.

In the mornings and during the day assist with making crafts from waste, colour coordinating of materials, play with different shapes, cuttings and cleaning. You will be involved in making sculptures, puppets, and can assist with administration (which record keeps consumable materials, finance and fundraising.

Some afternoons you will be involved with children from the local township, in making crafts out of recycled materials, encouraging the kids to be creative, give them ideas, join them, work alongside them and the creative member leading the session. The children love their art sessions and benefit from them so much.

As there is no set funding here, the project gets funds from selling their creative art, running workshops with groups and working on commissioned art pieces. Donations are so welcome - paint brushes are always needed at the centre!

There’s absolutely no limitation to what you can learn and give back – from the vibrant, enthusiastic, artistic, creative team members. Bring it on!

In the evenings if you are a muso or poet - you can join the music program with writing poems, songs, music and join open Mic’s and gigs.



Day 1 (Monday) – hello and welcome!

Arrive at Cape Town International Airport (airport code CPT) where you’ll be met at the airport and taken to our volunteer house in Fish Hoek. You’ll need to arrive before 4.15pm so that you’re in time for orientation at 5pm. The journey from the airport to Fish Hoek takes about 45 minutes and you’ll see the magnificent Table Mountain on the way! Orientation will take you through what you can expect from your project, dos and don’ts and how to stay safe. It’s also a great opportunity to ask any burning questions you’ve got. Afterwards you can relax and prepare before your first day at the project.

Note: If you aren’t able to arrange a flight to get you into Cape Town before 4.15pm then we recommend you fly in a day early. We can arrange an early airport pickup for you including one night’s accommodation. Please give us a call for more information.

Day 2 (Tuesday) – Meet the art team!

Today is the first day at your art project. In the morning the team will take you from the volunteer house and teach you the transport system to and from your project. The team will introduce you to the art project staff. You’ll spend the day getting to know your way around, learning about Masi and chatting to the creative team. If you feel ready you can get involved straight away with creating art, they’ll love you more for it!

Day 3-5 (Wednesday to Friday) – Unleash the creativity inside of you.

Now that you’re familiar with the centre, staff and kids, it’s time to have fun and really work on giving them everything you can offer. You’ll be assisting and creating as much as you can. Using recycled materials such as bottles, bottle tops, cardboard – you’ll learn a lot from this talented team.

Day 6-7 (Saturday and Sunday) - it’s the weekend!

The weekends are your free time to spend as you please and, living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Within 20 minutes of the volunteer house, there’s golden beaches, surfing, hikes in the Cape Fynbos, Table Mountain, wine tasting and the Cape Point Nature Reserve. Go a bit further and there’s so much more to see and do!

Following weeks (dependent on length of stay)

You’ll be working Monday to Friday at your project. You’ll form special bonds with the creative art team and no doubt impact on each others lives. You’ll learn a lot about their culture, their way of life and why your help is so important. You’ll make memories and lifelong friends. The people and kids will make a permanent imprint on your heart and you’ll have an experience that you’ll never forget.

Your last day – goodbye, we’ll miss you!

After saying goodbye and Hamba kakuhle (go well in isiXhosa), you’ll head off back to the airport. The return transfer from Fish Hoek to Cape Town International is not covered within your project fee but our regular transfer company will be able to assist you to organise it, the costs will be about US$35 / R350.

About the Project

About the Project

The whole idea began in 2001 when less fortunate ladies who had never worked were tasked to clean the beach from Noordhoek to Cape Point. The goal was to empower the ladies so they could earn and learn English and business. They were paid very little money (about R35) and worked 4 days a week. Their main job was to collect things on the beach, such as: old shoes, cigarettes buts, flip flops, plastic bottles, bottle tops, cardboard and any material that could be reused.

In 2003 there was a major turning point in their lives. They were told that they would be out of a job and had to look elsewhere. Two of the ladies Yandi and Thandi were from the Eastern Cape and came from a very rural background. As young girls they were taught skills by their grandmothers how to sow, make pottery and their own dolls.

So the two ladies thought about using their skills from their childhood and use the waste products they had collected on the beach to make arts and crafts. The ladies discovered that they had a slight dilemma as some of the plastics were dirty and sometimes smelly. At the time the ladies had no knowledge of recycling or global warming, but the question remained, how could they possibly use these smelly and dirty plastics (which was “junk”) to create art. So they decided to attend recycling workshops to overcome the challenge of re-using dirty plastics.

One day they met an artist who was collecting drift wood to use in her sculptures and art pieces. She invited them to attend a workshop where she showed Yandi and Thandi how she used plastics bottles, cardboard, junk etc to make her art. The workshop was a success - reduce and reuse and aim for environmental sustainability.

The artist was blown away by their art creations and decided to take the two ladies to Cape Town City Centre where she displayed her art pieces – to show off their masterpieces. This was Yandi and Thandi’s first trip to the City of Cape Town! The ladies described their first experience as overwhelming as they hadn’t been in this kind of environment before. Arriving at African Image they stood by the door with their big black bags full of creative art pieces made out of plastics and recycled materials; the venue was busy and surrounded by many people. They received amazing feedback, made some sales and even took orders!

They were so encouraged that their art pieces were loved and were seen as unique even though it was made out of used plastic bottles, caps etc and all the junk that they could find.

A Dutch film crew made a documentary on the ladies showcasing their art pieces and the materials used to create them. The ladies continued to meet with different organisations, did workshops and were introduced to The Cape Town carnival, and many other different festivals.

To top it off they got invited to different countries Holland, Paris, and Australia to attend exhibitions and work with kids and do workshops. Their crafts opened up doors they never thought were possible.

They are part of carnival crew, creative corporations and they get commissioned to create art pieces out of recycled materials. They strive to achieve environmental sustainability by recycling and reusing  materials..

This art project is situated just outside Masiphumlele Township. There is a lot going on at The Creative Campus, there is a music office, a bicycle tour office, a sewing room where local people get taught how to sow, and so much more. There is also a crèche and a primary school just opposite the centre. Lunches can be enjoyed at a quaint deli which is just a walk away.

While you're here

What you get

Expert help-desk

We're always available to offer support and guidance before, during and after your trip.

Thorough project briefing materials

Once you’ve booked you'll receive a full pack of all the information you need for the project. It contains general information about volunteering, your specific project and South Africa as well as advice on safety, visas and inoculations.

Airport pickup

Don’t worry about arriving in a new country on your own. We’ll be there to welcome you and take you to your accommodation.

Arrival orientation

Soon after you arrive you’ll attend a thorough orientation with our team. It covers everything you need to know about your next few days, dos and don’ts and your safety. You can ask any questions and find out more about the fun stuff to do around Cape Town and South Africa.

Accommodation and meals

Accommodation is included with all projects and meals are included with some. We only use locally-owned and operated accommodation so that part of your placement fee is filtering back into the local economy. Most projects offer homestay, guesthouse or shared volunteer houses as standard accommodation, but some offer the chance to upgrade to a more comfortable living standard.

24/7 emergency support

We’re always on hand in case of an emergency.

After you've booked

  • You will receive a welcome email confirming your booking
  • You’ll receive a full project pack with all the info you need
  • You’ll be asked for any extra info if we need it – such as doctor’s notes for medical conditions, or maybe a CV on some projects
  • You’ll need to pay if you haven’t paid already (at least 90 days before travelling)

Then the fun starts!

Next you should:

  • Book your flights
  • Arrange suitable travel insurance
  • Get a visa for your trip if it's needed
  • Visit a nurse or travel clinic for advice on inoculations and malaria prevention
  • Start packing and come and join us!

*Remember to keep our contact details in a safe place in your hand luggage in case you need to contact us during your travels.

About South Africa

South Africans are patriotic and passionate about their country. And it’s not despite the country’s famously troubled history – it’s because of it! The people of this democratic country are so proud of how far they have come from the dark days of Apartheid and it makes us grateful for the diversity of cultures and languages that make up our amazing rainbow nation.

South Africa is a country of diversity in so many ways. It’s not a big country but travelling across the length and breadth of it, you’ll encounter an incredible range of climates and landscapes. There’s beautiful Cape Town, with its Mediterranean feel, pristine white beaches, sparkling oceans and magnificent Table Mountain providing the craggy backdrop for every setting. Travel east along the Garden Route with its picture-postcard coastal villages and you’ll eventually reach Durban and surrounds, a tropical area where the sun shines almost every day, the sea is warm and the surfing is fantastic! Then there’s the rugged Drakensberg mountain range, a place of rich Zulu heritage, spectacular views and jagged sweeps of peaks.  Further north you’ll hit South Africa’s famous ‘veld’ or bush where you’ll find Africa’s big five and many thousands of other species of animals, hiding out in landscapes that are lit at sunset by the most vivid orange, pinks and purples.

There are so many things to see and do here that you’ll need years. But if your time is limited, here’s our top five must-dos:

Game viewing

You can’t come to Africa and not experience the amazing animals, the wild and beautiful African bush and the chorus of an African dawn. Kruger National Park is the most popular choice but there are a host of other parks in the northern parts of South Africa and the Free State as well as KwaZulu-Natal, offering a range of options from the most luxurious accommodation with chefs at your service to DIY game viewing and camping.

Adrenalin adventures

Adventure is the name of the game in this crazy country and if it’s outdoors and adrenalin-inducing, you’ll find it here. From the highest bungee jump and highest commercial abseiling in the world to shark cage diving, downhill mountain biking, trail running, walking safaris, big wave surfing and multi-day hiking, there’s something for ever thrill seeker.


South Africa has thousands of miles of glorious coastline, with Blue Flag beaches and hidden gems dotted along its length. There’s beaches for the glamorous, where you can go to see and be seen, beaches perfect for families, beaches for walking, beaches for swimming and beaches for watersports. There’s probably beaches which have never been trodden by a tourist before. Go on, we dare you to find it!

Nightlife, restaurants and entertainment

No holiday would be complete without a few good nights out and South Africa knows how to entertain. With so many cultures making up our population, there’s loads of delicious food on offer full of every fresh ingredient you could think of. There are pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes to suit every taste. South Africa is famous for its wonderful wines and there’s a craft beer revolution happening right here. Pack your dancing shoes!

A taste of township and culture

South Africa has a rich, tumultuous history dotted with dismal lows and incredible highs – and full of astounding stories from amazing people. It’s what makes South Africa the colourful place it is. Museums of every shape and size document the various aspects of our human and natural history, arts and culture – you’ll find them all over the country. Or why not take a township tour and experience the true heart of South African culture?  If you’re visiting Cape Town, come to Kommetjie and visit Masiphumelele with the Township Sisters, our special Volunteer and Explore partners, and help support the sustainable development of this vibrant township.


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