The first coat of paint goes on the walls of the children’s room. Pupils from Sunrise pre-school in nearby Hillbrow start off their day singing happy birthday to Nelson Mandela, before getting into their task of making message cards for him. Old furniture is sandpapered and vanished to make it look like new again. The children making art for Madiba.(Images: Valencia Talane)MEDIA CONTACTS• Petal Thring CEO: Constitution Hill+27 11 381 3139RELATED ARTICLES• Gallery: Constitutional Court • ConCourt art tells South Africa’s story• More to SA than Nelson Mandela• Getting needy kids hooked on books Valencia TalaneAll children born in South Africa after 1994 have in common the privilege of only knowing a democratic government system underpinned by a Constitution that has been hailed as the world’s most progressive.Many of them know of the Bill of Rights, a major part of the Constitution, and how it protects the country’s citizens. The responsibility that goes with instilling these rights remains a tricky aspect, and this is what Constitution Hill wants to change.The Constitution Hill precinct is one of South Africa’s national heritage sites and is managed by Blue IQ Investment Holdings and the Johannesburg Development Agency. It is home to the country’s highest court on constitutional matters, the Constitutional Court.One the site are the museums that were once prison operations, namely the Women’s Gaol museum, the Number Four museum and the Old Fort museum.Hoping to capitalise on its location in the inner city of Johannesburg, Constitution Hill staff are ready to make a difference to disadvantaged young people. They are availing themselves to children in the area for what CEO Petal Thring describes as a programme focused on imparting the values of the Constitution.“Children today generally know what their rights are in terms of the Constitution, but they don’t necessarily know how the country achieved those rights and what sacrifices were made in order to gain them,” says Thring.Pre-school children are the main target, because they are at an age where they are only learning to read and write.Mandela Day a great opportunity On Wednesday 18 July, Constitution Hill staff mobilised volunteers from several of their associates, suppliers and tenants to help refurbish the children’s room in the Old Fort Prison section of the facility.The room was first converted in 2004, and had previously served as one of the prison’s mess halls.A group of some 40 people spent the morning of Mandela Day clearing the room of old toys, books and furniture and repainting the walls. They also organised old and newly-donated toys for children who will be using the facility in the future.Instead of acquiring sponsorship to fund the renovations, Thring’s team kept in line with their culture of preserving as much of the precinct’s history and heritage as possible, electing rather to use the same furniture and other supplies.“I didn’t expect such a good turnout,” she said, excited. “It is such a lovely day and the weather is on our side.”By mid-morning the site was a hive of activity, the spirit was high and as people arrived with more books and toys to donate, extra storage space had to be organised on the spot. While one group painted the inside walls, others worked with sandpaper on the wooden desks that make up most of the furniture, before varnishing them.It was only after the arrival of about 35 pre-schoolers from the Sunrise pre-school in nearby Hillbrow, however, that the old courtyard of the prison got busier and noisier with singing and laughter. As soon as the youngsters had been briefed on their big task of the day – writing birthday messages for Mandela – excitement set in and they dived into the challenge, rolled-up sleeves and all.“Can you imagine what it would mean for this country if their generation respected the meaning of the Constitution?” Thring expresses, watching the children in action.Vision behind children’s roomThe primary mandate of Constitution Hill has always been inner city renewal, says Thring. When the children’s room was first established, its main purpose was to provide space for pupils across different ages and grades where they could study, read and do school projects.But its meaning goes further than that, she maintains.“Many of the families that live in this area are poor, and they do not have exposure to many vital sources of information. The children will benefit from all sorts of activities like workshops for which we hope to get sufficient facilitators.”For a lot of people in the inner city, who stay mainly in apartment buildings, space and privacy are a challenge. With the help of such a facility pupils could get together and help develop each other without worrying about either obstacle.Because of challenges such as budget cuts – which were introduced to several government projects in the past few years– the room had to be closed down in favour of continuing with the other operations such as tours and exhibitions. Constitutional Hill also hires out the venue for special events as part of its business.“When we think about how we create a new culture within our society we need to think about our children,” says Thring.While preparing for a recent appearance as guest speaker at a Jewish congregation, where she was to speak about the Constitution, it occurred to Thring that society nourishes and protects religion in a broad sense – it becomes a way of life, a place to belong. She started to think of how she could use her position to help communities to start incorporating the Constitution into their every culture as they do the different belief systems.“Three things are critical: the Constitution itself; making sure that children grow up understanding the Constitution; and understanding their responsibilities towards it.”“For far too long we’ve worried about rights, but we now need to think of our responsibilities in terms of protecting those rights.”Even a lack of funding – only about a third of their funding comes from government – has not deterred Thring and her staff. They decided to use Mandela Day as a spring board to mobilise a publicity campaign as well.For the long term, she says, her team is developing partnerships with several stakeholders for a structured programme, but for now will start with simple activities like reading and helping children with their homework.“Even in reading, we have to identify the right books,” she says. “We’re looking for partners that will help us teach and develop different language skills in young children, because we need to get them to read in different languages.”Starting with basic values like honesty and friendliness, she says, will go a long way in developing this culture of oneness that South Africans seek.Mandela’s history with Old FortWhile awaiting the famous Rivonia treason trial after his arrest in 1962, Mandela spent time in the Old Fort prison. He was, during this time, the only black prisoner among all-white inmates, and more than one explanation has been offered for this over the years.While one theory claims that it was believed by authorities that Mandela could find the means to escape from any other facility, another says the strategy was to keep him as far from the rest of his fellow African National Congress leaders as possible as he was an influential man and could change the government’s course of action in terms of the judicial system.Today the Old Fort grounds are home to a permanent exhibition of the Mandela cell. The exhibition, called Nelson Mandela: Prisoner in a Garden, has been on the site since 2005 and includes his communication with the outside world.
The USS Foundation announced today that its Seventh Annual Charity Golf Tournament broke its own attendance record by securing the maximum number of participants for the event. Organizers of this year’s tournament, which takes place June 23 at the world-famous Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles, filled all 97 participant slots — a number never before attained by the foundation. The proceeds from the tournament will go to charity programs that benefit disadvantaged children.“It’s always been our goal to completely fill the golf course with retail and loss prevention leaders, and I’m thrilled to say that this year participation is even bigger than what we expected,” said Denise Canfield, executive vice president of USS and secretary of the USS Foundation. “While I want to say this is a big win for the foundation, the real winners are the children and those less-fortunate who will benefit from the foundation’s programs.”Canfield continued, “In addition to the record-high participation and the attention of local media, companies like LP Magazine; Contact, Inc.; LP Jobs; and Stanley Security have really come through for us as the top sponsors this year. Thanks to them, and our other valued sponsors, the USS Foundation is looking forward to expanding the reach of its programs even more.”- Sponsor – The USS Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children in need. It is known for its Adopt-a-Bike program; holiday meals for low-income families; and visits to children recovering from serious illnesses.More information for this year’s charity golf tournament can be obtained from the USS Foundation’s web site: http://www.ussfoundation.org/golf.php Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now
Related Posts 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… Mark this moment: Watching people play video games has become a big business, with Amazon, Google, Disney, and others vying for a piece of the action.Call it livestream gaming: Top players record themselves playing popular titles and delivering commentary—or compete against each other in big, live, arena-style events. By turning video games from a solitary living-room obsession into shared events, livestream gaming is letting advertisers tap into a hard-to-reach demographic of mostly young men.The Game Is AfootThat means a huge influx of money into the video-game world: It’s changing from a hardware-and-software business into a Hollywood-like media operation, complete with its own celebrities, agents, studios, and networks.The big event in livestream gaming was Amazon.com’s announcement that it will acquire Twitch, a site which specializes in livestream gaming videos, for a cool $970 million, after rumors that Google’s YouTube might be interested in buying it, too.Gaming as a spectator sport has already attracted audiences of millions of online users, most of whom watch it on gaming-dedicated YouTube channels or on Twitch. It’s no longer an online subculture: For many teens, it is their mass media. And the wars to capitalize on livestream gaming and its personalities is underway. Maker Studios, a Disney-owned Web network that operates like a talent agency for popular YouTube stars, has just partnered with one of YouTube’s top gaming channels, The Diamond Minecart.The Diamond Minecart joins two other Maker-represented gaming channels, PewDiePie and Stampylonghead. That means Maker Studios now has the top three most-subscribed gaming channels on YouTube. And it means Disney and Google have partnered up against Amazon and Twitch. It’s on like Donkey Kong!Gamers at Insomnia 52, the UK’s biggest gaming festival.Livestream gaming grew along with YouTube. Video-game streams were just one more genre of YouTube’s early bedroom-webcam confessionals. What else would teens talk into the camera about?But as passionate and engaged fan communities blossomed into subcriber bases that numbered in the millions, then big businesses began to take notice. Swede IdeaPewDiePie trying Oculus Rift, a virtual-reality gadget.While Twitch specializes in gaming, the topic is no stranger to YouTube. PewDiePie, YouTube’s most-subscribed channel, is the online-video home of Felix Kjellberg, a 24-year-old Swede. He has 19 million subscribers, but he’s just at the apex of a community of gamers on YouTube who garner massive fan followings by uploading videos of themselves playing games. Some advertisers are already tapping into their popularity. Kjellberg recently agreed to appear in a promotion for Hollywood horror movie As Above, So Below. The film’s marketers sent Kjellberg to Paris to record himself looking for missing keys within a haunted catacomb, complete with zombies and live cockroaches. It works particularly well because of the similarities to the horror-themed video games he often plays.Video-game publisher Ubisoft partnered with popular YouTube comedy duo Smosh to create a song in 2012 for the release of Assassin’s Creed 3. The accompanying music video now has a total of 54 million views.In 2012, first person shooter video game Halo released Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, a science fiction action show, on YouTube channel Machinima Prime. The show has since been added onto Netflix’s roster of content.Entering The ArenaLivestream gaming was born on the Internet—but it’s jumping into the physical world. Where livestream gaming involves posting videos, esports—short for “electronic sports”—involves quasi-athletic video-game competitions, often staged in big venues before live audiences and, increasingly, broadcast on television.League of Legends World ChampionshipsIn October 2013, video-game publisher Riot Games held its League of Legends World Championships at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The arena was sold out, and 32 million gaming fans watched the competition online.In July, ESPN, the Disney-owned cable network, broadcast The International, a tournament which featured an online battle-arena-style game called DOTA (Defense of the Ancients) 2, with an $11 million prize. League of Legends gamers.So what can we expect for the future of livestream gaming? We’re already seeing Disney, Google, and Amazon getting into the mix, putting down eye-popping amounts of money into acquisitions and poaching top YouTube gamers. Google and Disney’s interests are obvious, since they are big sellers of advertising with a keen interest in teenage audiences. Amazon’s interest in Twitch came as a surprise to many—but it, too, has an increasing interest in video games, thanks to its Kindle tablets and its in-house game studios, as well as in online advertising, where it hopes to challenge Google.Others are likely to pile into the market now. The big winners may be anyone who loves video games. Heck, you don’t even have to play them anymore. You can just lean back and watch.Lead image by Madeleine Weiss, images courtesy of Riot Games, Tubefilter, PewDiePie, The Diamond Minecart, Flickr user artubr Tags:#Amazon Game Studios#Amazon.com#computer games#diamond minecart#Disney#ESPN#games#gaming#Google#Halo#League of Legends#livestream gaming#livestreaming#online video#pewdiepie#stampylonghead#twitch#video games#YouTube 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… stephanie ellen chan