Unemployed man still makes a difference

A young unemployed Mdantsane man has started community development and animal welfare projects in the township.

However, Benjamin Rexana’s projects need sponsorships and assistance to reach as many areas around East London as possible. Cyfadance Community Development Project, which he established in 2008 with only two children, has grown to save 37 children and youth from the streets.

Rexana teaches the youngsters necessary life skills, as well as dancing lessons. “I always wanted to learn to dance. I had a friend who was a dancer in higher primary. I saw dancing from him and TV. I would try everything I saw on YoTV’s special breakdance
programme. So I teach hip hop, breakdance, amapiano, gqom and Pantsula.” he said

Rexana does not only teach the youngsters dance lessons but also educates them about animal and dog care. He says many people want dogs to protect their homes but do not take proper care of them. “I started helping dogs in the area in 2016,” Rexana said.

“Two dogs in my area had an owner but he didn’t care about them. I was feeding the dogs and they started sleeping outside my gate every night because they saw I’m taking good care of them and also showed them love.”

Rexana said he was moved to help more dogs that were neglected by their owners. “I also noticed how many animals are suffering due to lack of knowledge. Many people have never been taught how to take care of a dog or what to do when it is sick. Even the same people abusing animals today were never taught.”

“Even with myself I have seen it. I learnt the hard way as I grew up loving dogs, but they kept dying and dying, not because of age, most of them while they were still puppies. We didn’t know in my house that a dog must be given water, de-worming and a vaccine . Even my parents didn’t know.”

“It is because there was no one out there teaching how people must take care of their animals. When my dogs died I would blame people and say my dogs were poisoned, and all along it was worms that killed them .” added Rexana

He said many people were still uninformed on how to take care of their pets. “A lot of people think their dogs have been poisoned when they die. It’s one of the reasons I’m teaching kids so they can grow up knowing better and educate others. “The kids do so even with older people when they go around feeding dogs. For example, people think it’s right to chain dogs and you see people everywhere doing that .”

One of Rexana’s supporters, Shaun Petzer, said: “Ben really does need to be assisted with the projects as he was recently donated two bicycles to make deliveries of sponsored dog food.”

“The work he does receives little external support and yet he makes such a difference in the lives of the kids and the animals he interacts with.”

He said projects such as Rexana’s were sorely needed in the township.

“I think this would be a great initiative as a build-up to Mandela Day as the late president was also the patron of animals, along with championing human rights, especially those of the children and youth. He truly lives the ethos of Every Day is Mandela Day.” said Petzer

PET CARE: Benjamin Rexana feeds a stray dog in Mdantsane. He also teaches youth life skills and dancing Picture: SUPPLIED


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