A hotel with heart

Filed in Places to Stay, Western Cape by on July 20, 2013
Art displayed at the One&Only in Cape Town

Art displayed at the One&Only in Cape Town (© Clifford Roberts)

Guests staying at a luxury Cape Town hotel make a contribution to upliftment in the city and across the continent thanks to the work of the Lalela Project. The One&Only Cape Town is among the Mother City’s most luxurious hotels, regularly hosting superstars and heads of state. World-class hospitality is however not the hotel’s only endeavour thanks to a special relationship it has with a Cape-based initiative that works with children, particularly in underprivileged communities.

Although supporters of the Lalela Project include organisations such as Singita Game Reserves and ESP Afrika, the One&Only Cape Town has a direct link through Andrea Kerzner, board director of brand owner Kerzner International and founder CEO of Lalela Project. In addition, Angie Kerzner is Lalela’s director of product development.

Lalela uses art as an educational tool to address challenges faced especially by youth in communities of severe poverty. A large portion of its work is focused on workshops presented in township schools around Cape Town, but it also tackles issues across Africa too. Through the Nightwatch campaign for example, Lalela collaborates with Malaria No More to educate young learners on preventing malaria infections in communities where the disease is endemic. Since its launch in 2009, Lalela has been involved in countries including Senegal, Congo, Chad, Uganda and Malawi. Thanks to the Kerzner’s influence in the US, the organisation has benefitted from awareness of its work reaching influential organisations and individuals in that country too.

Closer to home, Lalela continues to be very active. Just prior to the 2010 World Cup, it partnered with Iziko South African National Gallery (SANG), artists and musicians to conduct a four-week arts education program and reached  over 800 children. Since then, there have been numerous undertakings. Among them, Lalela teamed up with the Amy Biehl Foundation in working with teenage learners in Manenberg and Nyanga; and, has regularly showcased its work through an association with the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

Recently, on Freedom Day, artworks made by Lalela children were installed in an exhibit at the One&Only Cape Town. The works were the result of a series of lino-cut and print-making workshops presented by artists Ricky Dyaloyi and Sophie Peters of the Community Arts Project, in conjunction with the SANG.

The exhibition itself, entitled the Art of Jazz, took place in recognition of Lalela Project’s partnership with the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

The One&Only Cape Town further supports Lalela through promoting the organisation to its guests. A nominal, voluntary donation is included in the bill of every guest staying at the hotel. Plans are also afoot to include a stop at a Lalela workshop in the hotel’s popular Cape Peninsula sight-seeing tours.

“We’re working out the details,” says Lalela chief operations officer Cat Rieper. “It’s important for us to encourage meaningful interaction with the children and the project.

Lalela Project art displayed at the One&Only in Cape Town

Lalela Project art displayed at the One&Only in Cape Town (© Clifford Roberts)

“In fact, we encourage families from Cape Town and everywhere to visit us. The people who do come are moved by the experience, every time,” Rieper says.

Words & pics: Clifford Roberts

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