South Africa Start Up Profile: 7 Steps- The Company That Brings Art To Cape Flats
The 7 Steps Hub Initiative is an innovative idea started by founder Clint White in his efforts to bring art and creativity to the disadvantaged of youth living on the Cape Flats.
I met up with Clint White to discuss the initiative, its goals and vision and what local and international organizations and individuals can do to get involved and make a difference.
RISE NEWS: 1. Can you give us an idea of your background and what lead to the idea of starting the 7 Steps Hub initiative?
Clint White: I’m a creative enthusiast, entrepreneur, brand strategist, creative director and business speaker. I’ve had the opportunity to be active in many creative roles, from brand manager, stylist, writer, creative director, art director, stage director, workshop host, panellist and even a voice over artist. I’m quite a lively and determined person, always wanting to source information and to do things differently. It’s how I’m inspired to be innovative in everything I do.
Living on the Cape Flats in Cape Town, I have a first-hand experience on what life is like here, the reality and prevalence of drug abuse, despair and violence suffered by our youth. This has forged a wedge between people, and the effects are disastrous. We’ve been left with a nation of uninspired youth, within disconnected communities, with little hope, so I thought that there must be an opportunity to change it.
RISE NEWS: 2. Why do you think that art specifically is a tool to change mind sets and instil a sense of self-confidence in the youth living on the Cape Flats?
Clint White: Coming from a creative background myself, I believe that art has the ability to heal people from an intrinsic perspective, which can quite literally change an individual’s thinking.
I think we should re-introduce art in our public education system, as it’s seen as an exclusive privilege at best.
There is little understanding of art in our communities and this creates a hindrance in pursuing a creative career or appreciation of the discipline.
We need to realise that the ability to think creatively and to come up with ideas, contributes to every industry the world over, from fashion, engineering, science, technology, music, media, architecture, design and even education; they all require creativity.
You can pour your emotions, desires, fears, aspirations and viewpoints into whatever artwork you create, and learn new skills in the process. Art allows people to think differently in a way that we apply creative interpretations of how we experience the world around us and how we contribute to it.
RISE NEWS: 3. Has art been a force in your life and how has it changed or created a shift in mindset for you?
Clint White: Art is merely the mechanism or framework for innovation. I’m someone who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life, which I use to my advantage.
It [art] is about learning from past experiences and challenging myself to create new things, experiences and ideas; that’s where the innovation lies. I’m always researching new ideas, seeing what’s been done before and how we can make things better, to disrupt and to innovate. It’s what drives me.
RISE NEWS: 4. What do you intend to do with the art pieces that the kids create through the 7 Steps Hub initiative?
Clint White: Through our workshops, we intend on placing the art in the schools to encourage an appreciation and curiosity in art.
We expect that this will mitigate bullying as well, in the hopes that other youth will be interested in joining our programmes. The contributions the youth will make and the skills that they will learn will cultivate a sense of ownership which can be applied to other spheres of their lives too.
Through active support of funders and the public we hope to provide employment, entrepreneurship ideals and career development opportunities as well once the youth complete their schooling and perfect their skills through the art they create.
RISE NEWS: 5. Can you elaborate more on the community projects that 7 Steps Hub is starting up with students from Wynberg and Athlone?
Clint White: We wish to integrate the thinking at a community level into community development projects, not specifically only Wynberg and Athlone, but all communities.
We first want the learners to adopt a sense of ownership of their school, and then tackle their communities where they live.
We want the youth to visualise their communities as places of interest and inspiration. Through community clean ups, revamps, and art installations in these areas, we want to beautify them and bring the spirit of community back into where we live.
RISE NEWS: 6. Tell us more about the WaydesWelcome Journey and how that has influenced you moving forward with the 7 Steps Hub initiative?
Clint White: When I decided to walk around Cape Town collecting messages of support and congratulations for Olympic World Champion, Wayde Van Niekerk, I had no clue how the idea would take off. The campaign trended nationally within three days, and featured on every major media platform in the country, from radio interviews, TV appearances and newspaper articles. I met every person who signed the book.
I captured the journey on social media and garnered hundreds of thousands of impressions and people following the story each day.
It took me two months and 400 kilometres on foot, meeting hundreds of every day citizens and celebrities, from David Kramer, Evita Bezuidenhout, Mpho Tutu Van Furth and many more, to being invited by different companies, organisations, schools and people, it was incredible.
When he [Wayde Van Niekerk] arrived back in the country, I was fortunate enough to be invited by T-Systems to attend a gala dinner in Wayde’s honour as a special guest.
I had the opportunity to have dinner with Wayde, met his family and made a speech, before finally handing the book over.
It inspired me that we as a nation can come together for a greater good. I was incredibly inspired that through my idea, I could unite the entire nation.
All we need is a little inspiration, to do great things. As South Africans, we are kind hearted and genuine, it was refreshing to experience first-hand.
RISE NEWS: 7. What are your goals for the 2017 year and how can businesses and individuals get involved in such an initiative?
Clint White: Our goal for 2017 is to inspire the youth and build partnerships and relationships in realising its success.
We’re busy planning a 7 Steps Hub Creative Expo, showcasing the innovation and creativity from our programmes, as well as artistic contributions from individuals in Cape Town.
As we are a non-profit organisation, the challenges we face are funding, and the need for resources in our continued endeavours in changing lives.
We want youth, private business, parents, government and ordinary citizens to make a concerted effort in supporting our organisation in any way they can.
We have a list of resources and funding objectives available which anyone can contribute towards.
We need people to support our social media platforms and spread the word about our initiative.
We will be launching a crowdfunding campaign too, for people to assist 7 Steps Hub. It’s important that we realise the need to take the step and build our future, together.
Follow this creative initiative on these social media platforms for more information on how to get involved and support the 7 Steps Hub Initiative:
Email: [email protected]
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/7StepsHub
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