Dlala Nje is not just a social enterprise. It is a platform for expression aimed at the next generation of Joburgers growing up in Hillbrow and neighbouring inner city suburbs. The NGO was started by two residents, Mike Luptak and Nickolaus Bauer, and is situated at the base of Ponte City. Dlala Nje, a Zulu phrase meaning “just play” is a safe haven for inner city kids with no place to go. The two run an entertainment and education centre which boasts an array of games, workshops and arts-based activities. One of the NGO’s aims is to obliterate the terrible stigma the inner city is often associated with. To most people Hillbrow brings up thoughts of prostitution, drug peddling and violent crime. In reality this is very far from the truth.
To give you an example, Ponte City itself has a 100% occupancy rate of which all residents are upper middle class – there are more 2015 VW Polos parked in Ponte’s parking bays than there are on 4th Avenue in Parkhurst on a Saturday morning. These tenants would not have been living in the middle of crime central if life in the inner city was as bad as we all think it to be. In order to win over the hearts and minds of people, Dlala Nje hosts an array of walking tours through the inner city. The most popular tour on the list is the Hillbrow walking tour which ends with a pub lunch at a local shebeen. Dlala Nje often hosts limited specialty tours and it’s wise to keep en eye on their social media page to see what the team is cooking up next. The funds made from people attending the tours are invested into furthering the entertainment and education centre at Ponte – uplifting the neighbourhood little by little.
Words by Shawn Greyling
Photos by Bianca van Heerden