The Afternoon Angels

In 2018, Ikamva Labantu joined forces with a group of 56 women to provide afterschool care to hundreds of children. These women have created a community initiative called Afternoon Angels, which we are proud to support.

Schools in Cape Town’s townships lack extracurricular activities and aftercare facilities. As a result, when school is done for the day, children are often left to roam and play in the streets unsupervised while they wait for their parents to return from work. The Afternoon Angels programme is a community response to this issue and aims to keep schoolchildren safe and off the streets once school has ended.

The women in the group have opened their homes to local children to provide a place of safety where they can receive a nutritious meal, emotional support, and a safe space to play in the afternoons. They often use money from their own pension or foster grants to buy food for the children. This initiative helps to keep children away from the dangers of crime, gangsterism and substance abuse that they may otherwise be exposed to on the streets.

South Africa’s children are dropping out of school at an alarming rate due to these social ills, resulting in a high school graduation rate as low as 40%. This problem is particularly prevalent in the volatile township communities where Ikamva Labantu works.

The Afternoon Angels programme is a preventative measure that gives children the opportunity to complete schooling, progress further in education and create a better future for themselves and their families. Children in the programme are supported and encouraged to do their best and to stay in school.

Phumeza’s story

42-year-old Phumeza is one of the 56 women who make up the Afternoon Angels. When her son developed autism at age 3, Phumeza struggled to find a preschool that would accept and support him. This led to her opening her own preschool that is inclusive of autistic children. Due to the high demand for preschools in the New Crossroads area, Phumeza’s preschool grew from 6 children to 74 children in just one year. More recently, Phumeza has started opening her doors to schoolchildren in the afternoons too, as part of the Afternoon Angels initiative.

Listen to Phumeza describe her work below:

Ikamva Labantu holds hands with the Afternoon Angels

The Afternoon Angels also hold regular meetings to discuss any issues that may arise and to learn from and support one another. Ikamva Labantu currently assists the Afternoon Angels with food, resources and support.

Ikamva Labantu Founder, Helen Lieberman, addresses the women of the Afternoon Angels programme at a meeting to discuss issues and offer support.

Ikamva Labantu always strives to be community-driven. We strive to listen to the needs of the community leaders that we work with and follow their direction. The Afternoon Angels initiative is a wonderful example of community leaders responding to a need on the ground and coming together to enact change. This is the first year that Ikamva Labantu has formally supported the Afternoon Angels and we look forward to working with these remarkable women to create a safer environment for schoolchildren throughout Cape Town’s township communities.