Khayelitsha Township project in South Africa

In 2015, Haydock Commercials director Simon Dykes visited Khayelitsha Township in South Africa with clothes and books collected throughout the Haydock Group.

When I set out on this trip to South Africa, it was with great emotion and sense of adventure. It’s one thing to see scenes of townships as backdrops to big budget action movies but another to actually physically visit one.

Let’s be clear what a township actually is; I am sure many have heard the term thinking it is just another type of village or town. In-fact, Township is a powerful adjective describing a suburb or city of predominantly black occupation, formerly officially designated for black occupation by apartheid legislation. This is a far removed concept from our lives in the UK.

So with a group of 40 associates and executives from Scania, I travelled to Khayelitsha Township, this is not in the middle of baron land but close to Cape Town a cosmopolitan and affluent city.

Everyone filled their own luggage with clothes and books; my items were generously donated throughout the Haydock Group.  The concept of the trip is to spend actual time in the township and distribute the donations directly to the recipients and see the direct impact it will place to the lives of the local people.

The trip to Khayelitsha was like a journey travelling back in time, watching the Scenery transform through the window from modern high-rise skyscrapers in a picturesque paradise mixed with natural beauty, slowly becoming more and more under-developed and the colorful surroundings become more barren and brown.

A young boy with a Scania cap in a township in South Africa
A man in a township in South Africa
A young girl at school in a township in South Africa
A young girl in a township in south africa

On reaching Khayelitsha, the greeting could not have been more welcoming or genuine. Regardless of any material wealth, it was overwhelming how we were greeted with open arms and an abundance of kindness.

We visited various locations within Khayelitsha. It started with a visit to a nursery school where the children were cheerful and joyous as strangers visited them. Our donations were distributed, clothes were welcomed and books cherished – it’s too easy to forget the importance of books when in reality at home, we take tablets and smart phones for granted.

After our visit to the nursery we were taken to a school where the children were delighted with our visit and welcomed us. We had a chance to talk to the children and teachers who were upbeat and cheerful. Again it was a truly gratifying experience to be able to give our donations directly to the children and school, seeing the difference the items would make to people's lives directly. 

It really was a truly humbling experience to see how these people live every day and I do feel as a company we have made a difference. Sometimes when you make a contribution to charity, you wonder where those pounds actually go. We saw, with our own eyes where all your items went and how truly happy it made people.

A man getting water from a well in South Africa
“It really was a truly humbling experience to see how these people live every day and I do feel as a company we have made a difference.”

On reaching Khayelitsha, the greeting could not have been more welcoming or genuine. Regardless of any material wealth, it was overwhelming how we were greeted with open arms and an abundance of kindness.

We visited various locations within Khayelitsha. It started with a visit to a nursery school where the children were cheerful and joyous as strangers visited them. Our donations were distributed, clothes were welcomed and books cherished – it’s too easy to forget the importance of books when in reality at home, we take tablets and smart phones for granted.

After our visit to the nursery we were taken to a school where the children were delighted with our visit and welcomed us. We had a chance to talk to the children and teachers who were upbeat and cheerful. Again it was a truly gratifying experience to be able to give our donations directly to the children and school, seeing the difference the items would make to people's lives directly. 

It really was a truly humbling experience to see how these people live every day and I do feel as a company we have made a difference. Sometimes when you make a contribution to charity, you wonder where those pounds actually go. We saw, with our own eyes where all your items went and how truly happy it made people.