Bulungula Incubator was founded in 2007 with the mission to provide the tools necessary to develop self-reliance and independence in our community.
Poverty is more than just the circumstance of not having enough money to buy food or other material items. The effects of poverty are compounded in South Africa, where generations lived under Apartheid and colonialism, leading to an internalised sense of being inferior.
Here, poverty is also not understanding why a clear glass of water can cause a child to die of diarrhoea. Poverty is not having the confidence to challenge a teacher about their absenteeism simply because the teacher holds a position of authority, not being able to do basic arithmetic, not being able to read or write, not being able to speak an international language, and not having access to any outside information.
It means no books or internet in your home, no family members who studied further than primary school, no contacts in the corporate, government, or NGO world who could help you find a job or solve a problem.
It means you see little evidence that education is a path to success, as the most successful people in your community are not the relatively well-educated people but rather those mostly illiterate family members brave enough to work three kilometres underground in the gold or platinum mines. It means never having seen anyone start their own business besides those selling basic groceries, and not knowing that the nutrition of your mother when she is pregnant will impact your ability to learn and earn throughout your life.
It is only in experiencing quality education that its power can be appreciated, only by seeing a business succeed in your own community that a wave of entrepreneurship is set off. It is only when you have more choices and a sense of agency that a virtuous cycle can spark and create a multiplier effect to change your life.
Over the past 15 years, we have steadily developed our projects to support our community members throughout their lifetime. We have created an interactive document that goes through the history, philosophy and project deep dives of the Bulungula Incubator, check it out.