As most South Africans know, Freedom Day, which falls on 27 April, commemorates the first democratic elections that took place in 1994. Not only is it a day on which to celebrate every adult’s right to vote regardless of race or gender, but it is also a day on which to celebrate the beauty and the gift of freedom in general. For many, travelling is the ultimate expression of this freedom. But the sad reality is that travel simply isn’t accessible to everyone. In fact, there are countless individuals living in local townships who have never even left their hometown.
This Freedom Day, Uthando, an award-winning, non-profit and certified Fair Trade Tourism organisation with a focus on creating a link between tourism and community development projects, sought to change this. With the help of the organisation’s generous donors, the Uthando team set out to provide a group of children from local township communities in Cape Town with an experience to remember, helping them to spread their wings, to explore without inhibition and to savour the sense of freedom that only travel can bring.
Uthando’s goal was to treat the children to a multi-faceted adventure that was rich in opportunities for learning. According to James Fernie, owner of Uthando,
“The team took the children out to visit the aquarium, waterfront and Greenpoint Park. These children virtually never leave the confines of their township. They were honestly in a state of constant awe at the aquarium. It was an experience to behold.”
On the morning of 27 April, the children packed their backpacks with their ‘travel essentials’ and then sat down to listen to the details of the itinerary, their eyes glistening with excitement and anticipation. Once at the aquarium, they were shown countless magnificent marine creatures, following which they jumped back on the bus to marvel at the mesmerising waterfront views. Finally, the group set off to Greenpoint Park where they ran wild on the playgrounds, wrapping up the magic of the day.
Concluding, James reflected, “We feel privileged to have been able to grant the children this gift but, honestly, it was a gift for us to witness as well. It felt wonderful to watch them let go and just be free. Travel always has such a way of liberating the body, mind and soul!”