Volunteer in South Africa

Volunteering is a great way to mingle with locals, work to learn and to make a positive impact on the world. Contrary to the idea that one has to pay to volunteer, there are many ways to contribute. We’ve put together some ideas to inspire you to take action.

Group of student volunteers planting tree in park

1. Organic farming

Oranjezicht City Farm is an urban gardening initiative located in the middle of the city. They manage a vegetable farm, but also give nutrition workshops and lessons about the importance of eating fresh food. Visit the farm to meet the health-conscious, eco-conscious community, grow vegetables, and get back to nature.

Alternatively, you can support this project by visiting the OZCF organic farmer’s market. It opens every Saturday and Sunday at Granger Bay, V&A Waterfront (Next to The Lookout Event Venue) They have vegetables, fruit, homemade bread and pastries, organic dairy, free-range eggs, honey and muesli to get you into a healthy lifestyle. Dogs are welcome and it’s a fun weekend vibe.

2. Work with young people

Volunteers should be dedicated, motivated and committed when deciding to work with young people. You may find yourself organising activities, teaching, reading to children, or hiking. Some youth programs require that you spend at least three months with an organisation. Others meet weekly, and you can decide how much you want to get involved. Volunteers should be dedicated, motivated and committed to influence the lives of these individuals positively.

3. Passion for animals

You can participate by giving your time to rescue sea birds and penguins who have been victims of pollution or lost their habitat. You can also donate money by ‘adopting a penguin’. The organisation also holds workshops about the conservation of marine life.

Another idea is to drive out of the city to visit the Cape Leopard Conservation Centre. They do research, conservation and education about leopards. These animals are highly endangered, and it’s a rare chance to see the magnificent wild cats.

4. Join Clubs at the University of Cape Town (UCT)

SHAWCO promotes active citizenship by providing health care and education to under-privaledged communities. It is run by UCT students on upper campus, and is a great way to meet local students. .

Habitat for Humanity is an international NGO that builds homes in poorer communities. Their philosophy is that every human being has the right to a decent home. Volunteers get to be active participants in building a house, which is pretty cool!

5. Support the arts

Buy artwork and souvenirs from street markets. Go out to experience the diversity of the city.
Kirstenbosch concerts are held on Sundays through summertime.

Attend the theatre for culture and inspiration:

By attending art, live music and theatre events, you support the artistic community.

The organisations give you many opportunities you have to engage with the locals and practise your English, while being a superhero and making our world a better place. Every year, the Mail and Guardian Newspaper compiles a list of 200 young South Africans who are making a difference.  You can learn a lot by volunteering, and it looks great on your CV!

Go on and get started!


By Annaëlle More.

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