In the heart of Jabulani, Soweto, Morena Mosimaka is living his dream. As the Youth Cafe Component Lead for the DLAB program, he’s applying his BA in Humanities to uplift his community. “I got a rare chance to implement what I studied,” he says, “and give back to the community I grew up in.”
DLAB, an initiative by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), is a beacon of hope in South Africa’s underserved communities. It aims to break the cycle of poverty, inequality, and unemployment by providing systemic interventions. “We are unlocking the potential of human creativity and innovation,” says Mark Swilling, the DBSA Chairman.
Florian Zech, the co-founder of Amandla, was inspired by his privileged upbringing in Germany to create Safe Hub, a sanctuary for young people in townships. “DBSA is the driver behind scaling Safe Hub across the country,” Florian acknowledges.
Bulelwa Pityana, a Development Disruption Specialist at DBSA, is excited about the Westridge DLAB precinct site, the first fully funded by DBSA. “It allows for interventions, opportunities, and access to real, meaningful change for the community,” she says.
Rene Parker, the founder of RLabs, emphasizes the importance of entrepreneurship programs. “The partnership with DBSA has been very strategic in scaling the current work we are doing,” he notes.
Ncamiso Zikalala, a DLAB Playmaker Program Officer, sums it up: “DBSA is doing a great job. This place has given me direction and something to look forward to every day.”
In essence, the DLAB program is more than just a physical space; it’s a lifeline for communities, offering a sense of ownership, pride, and belonging. It’s not just about building infrastructure but also about building people. And in that mission, it’s succeeding every day.
We are unlocking the potential of human creativity.
Watch the stories
Story 1: Carey Jooste, DBSA Head of Innovation
Carey Jooste, DBSA’s Head of Innovation, elaborates on the bank’s role in facilitating public-private partnerships. These collaborations are instrumental in bringing job opportunities to underserved communities, ensuring that the benefits of the DLAB program extend beyond just infrastructure.
The DBSA’s DLAB program is a testament to the bank’s unwavering commitment to fostering sustainable change in South Africa. By investing in human creativity, innovation, and forging impactful partnerships, the DBSA is setting the stage for a brighter, more prosperous future.
Story 2: Lucretia Splinters, Founder of Mitchell’s Plain Entrepreneurship Hub
In Mitchell’s Plain, Lucretia Splinters, the Founder of the Entrepreneurship Hub, echoes a similar sentiment of community upliftment. Recognizing the challenges faced by communities plagued by crime, poverty, and unemployment, Lucretia has championed entrepreneurship as a means to uplift and empower. With the backing of the DBSA, her Entrepreneurship Hub has become a beacon for innovation and business acumen.
“When we have organizations like DBSA supporting our communities, we are supporting them to thrive,” she says.
Story 3: Bulelwa Pityana, DBSA Development Disruption Specialist, Innovation Unit
Bulelwa Pityana, the DBSA Development Disruption Specialist from the Innovation Unit, sheds light on the program’s multifaceted approach. She underscores the significance of the program’s convening activities, interventions, and opportunities, all aimed at instigating genuine, impactful change within communities.
For her, it’s not just about infrastructure but also about nurturing human potential and fostering growth. As such, the DBSA has been pivotal in driving the vision of the DLAB program, ensuring it remains aligned with the bank’s overarching goals.
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