We installed a playground in a part of Cape Town notorious for disturbing levels of gang activity. Not just any playground – this was made up entirely of Kompan systems imported from Denmark and our most exclusive, expensive, high-end range of product. And not just any area. This was The Cape Flats where bands of organized gangs can be found on just about every street corner.
It was the most unexpected tender. Even the most affluent residential estates and shopping centers in South Africa mostly opt for the good quality knockoffs from China at less than half the price. Kompan just comes out too expensive every time.
But not in this case. Not for this project.
When it came to flying to Cape Town for the installation, Colin was advised to hire a security company. He quickly changed course when he was told afterwards that to carefully adhere to the rules and code of conduct of these streets. And so with respect for the territorial authority of the resident gang, Colin hired its members. Every day for a week he worked with his new team and together they built one of the most upmarket playgrounds in Africa.
It’s been 4 years since this playground was installed. And in 4 years not one piece has been broken, vandalized or sold.
This story says something about ownership. When instead of being handed something as a form of charity from an authoritative body, and members of a society are invited to participate in its development we create a sense of ownership and inclusion. This is a story about the power of play. Not just for the children using the equipment, but for all members of a their community.