Since the early 1990’s, the inner cities of South Africa have experienced rapid change and transition. Communities formerly dominated by whites seemed to become black neighborhoods overnight. This was followed by economic, social and institutional divestment, as well as the redlining of banks, which contributed to the instability of South African inner cities. Socially, inner cities became catch basins for vulnerable people, the homeless, at-risk women and children, sex workers and others. Deeply influenced by his own experiences of the challenges of life in these urban centers, Stephan de Beer founded an initiative that regenerates inner cities in a socially inclusive way by using local assets and building local ownership. He is building an urban movement of community organizations that is supported by local resources, while simultaneously leading a social incubation unit in the inner cities of Tshwane, reaching over 30,000 people.
Stephan de Beer believes that inner cities are uniquely positioned to model both racial and economic integration. It is very important to also celebrate and promote the successes that exist, which are too often overshadowed by negative realities. Therefor, he uses the structure of the Tshwane Leadership Foundation to incubate, operate, and eventually spin-off community-owned restoration and revival projects. This process succeeds by mobilizing local resources of all kinds and building locally owned institutions. Initiatives in operation include a care center for the homeless, legal aid, day care, and a social housing company which oversees hundreds of affordable units. It is necessary to create the local institutions, resources, partnerships, services, and critical mass needed to demonstrate the success of these alternative methods to inner city regeneration. Each of these projects is designed to become a model replicable in other cities, and he works with policymakers to institute them locally and nationally.
Web site: http://www.tlf.org.za/