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CAMISSA HERITAGE TRUST

(aka) Step-Up 4 Life Trust - Reg No: IT385/2009        

                            PBO 930024072

Patric Tariq Mellet is the Director/Chairperson of the CAMISSA HERITAGE TRUST (aka STEP-UP 4 LIFE TRUST) which is a voluntarist endeavour involving research, writing, media production, establishing a site of memory around the PEOPLING OF THE CAPE, networking and motivational speaking targeted at youth to effect healing, build confidence and promote a culture of social contribution, social cohesion and social advancement. Its focus is on Cape Slavery; the Indian Ocean Slave Trade and our links with India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, China and other African countries to which we are ancestrally and cultural bound through the slave trade; as well as our local Cape Indigene heritage.

The aim ot the Trust is to:

  • Promote Healing and Social Cohesion in response to generationally transmitted trauma born out of Cape Slavery and the ethnic cleansing wars of the Cape that raged for 176 years against the Khoena and San peoples. Along with this are our connections to the many countries, towns and villages from Africa all the way to Southeast Asia.
  • Use the 400 year old connection between Africa, Arabia, India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, China, the African-Asian Diaspora and Cape Town, South Africa to cement relationships between our peoples and to build a consciousness about our slavery past, modern day human trafficking, Xenophobia and racism; and also explore innovatiove social advancement issues in an internationalist spirit.
  • Build healing, consciousness, reflection and promote networking among youth where the core element is – “We are best able to navigate our present and future and to build a culture of social contribution, by understanding our past and utilising the spirit of rising above adversity in solution-finding to contemporary challenges."
  • Build partnership with others working in the field of “Social Memory, Healing and Championing a Culture of Social Contribution”,  where we highlight reflecting on and promoting use of heritage and culture as inspiration and motivation to rekindle traditional cultures of giving, social contribution, building social cohesion and rising above adversity.
  • Connect, share experiences, network, and work together with the African and Asian Diaspora as a result of slavery, colonialism, Apartheid and its global manifestations.
  • Utilize multi-media as a means for spreading knowledge and understanding of our hidden social histories and the powerful lessons it holds for navigating contemporay adversity and challenges.
     

HISTORY OF STEP-UP 4 LIFE & THE CHANGE TO THE CAMISSA HERITAGE TRUST

 

Step-Up 4 Life was founded nine years ago to work with youth in South Africa and also to connect them to the broader world with a focus on activating youth especially from communities struggling with challenges rooted in colonialism, Apartheid and racism. The aim was to promote confidence and a spirit of self-help as a community effort through promotion of LIFE-LONG financial giving and social contribution through voluntarism.  To do this we assisted youth from ravished communities to understand that we are born of a people who contantly had to rise above adversity and that with a better understanding of our heritage of the past we are better able to navigate our present and futures. STEP-Up to the Plate for Life. Step-Up tp Social Contribution for Life.

 

We worked with schools and school teachers and pupils using innovative programmes to raise money and voluntarism and to see where in their communities would the fruits of their efforts be best used for the greater good. We also worked with young professionals, often the first generation of such, who came from struggling communities and had opportunity to be the first in their families to get a higeher education. We assisted peers while at university or vocational college to band together and form trusts and take an interest in projects within their communities. They would be able to grow those trusts over their lifetimes and in so doing pay-forward with their achievement making a difference in the lives of others. Running through these efforts was promotion of a "YES WE CAN" attitude. It was a hugely successfulTrust whic ran on a minimum of external finance. It was also an effort for young people by young people. The trustees gave guidance and support but the programmes were built and carried through by the youth participants themselves. It was a vibrant and successful 9 years in which we operated completely without funds by voluntarism and each of the trustees providing their own funds where necessary.

 

Alas as time went by, on the one hand as the movers, shakers and shapers grew older and travelled and got consumed by work and building their lives, and on the other hand the  combination of a lack of funding and the demands on the time of the trustees who were in demanding jobs and often moving around the country, we had to reassess the ability to sustain the basket of projects that we were running. We also had promoted among the youth participating that they had to go off with their learnings and grow their own trusts and programmes.

 

We were thus faced with closing up shop and most of the Trustees felt that collectively we had done a good job and that this was the time to dissolve the trust, 9 years later. Now while everyone else was busy with re-prioritising in their lives, Patric Tariq Mellet was now retired and working on ways to deepen an understanding of our history,  heritage and how this could contribute to contemporary struggles and challenges. There was much to be done in research, writing and translating of this into a place of memory in keeping with the late Reg September's dream of a place of memory celebrating Camissa or Coloured Heritage through exhibitions, film, and other multi-media means. By refocussing the THE CAMISSA HERITAGE TRUST the past 9 years legacy could indeed be given a new lease of life, and it was sorely needed particularly now when young people were exploring the past and issues of identity. Thus the past trustees encouraged Patric to engage with thoughtleaders and community activists, filmakers, museologists and artists to take up the shell of the Trust to deepen an understanding of the past  highlighting Cape Slavery and Cape Indigene struggles, and link this with promoting a fuller understanding of our AFRICAN heritage and its connections to other African countries, India, Arabia, Southeast Asia, China and the  the world diaspora of Africans and Asians as a result of slavery and colonialism.

 

The Trustees were happy to resign and hand over Step-Up 4 Life to be taken forward by placing the trust into custodianship of Patric Mellet with the focus here explained - THE CAMISSA HERITAGE TRUST - but still with its core philosophy in place. The Masters Office where Trusts are registered was informed of this new emphasis in the work of the Step-Up 4 Life Trust. Patric Tariq Mellet has committed to ensuring that the Trust migrates within two years to acquire a new board of trustees and chairperson with the required legacy focus.

 

During the transition there are four publication projects under way and we have participated in the production of 12 mini videos on amazing lesser known historical personalities of Cape Town, for a new museum intiative. It is also envisaged that a permanent place of memory, museum or gallery be established to celebrate and inform the public on the PEOPLING OF THE CITY by highlightinght the ancestral and cultural heritage with over 150 tributaries from around the globe and in so doing assist people to explore our unique tapestry African Creole or Camissa identity and thereby combat xenophobia and racism. This should link in the Cape Slavery Heritage, Cape Indigene Heritage and the Heritage of successive waves of migrants of colour. The Trust has also been part of a collective of filmakers )FULL CIRCLE PRODUCTIONS) who have produced two three part TV series called  MAPUNGUBWE VOICES OF THE VALLEY & THE TIES THAT BIND US. Patric also does a twice monthly radio program on RADIO Cape Talk 702.

 

The Trust Deed of STEP-UP 4 LIFE spells out the parameters of the Step-Up 4 Life Trust [ Now THE CAMISSA HERITAGE TRUST ].

 

(4.1)     The Trust is a non-profit organisation of a public character, established for the sole object of promoting social responsibility, giving and voluntary service, and providing community development support rooted in lessons from heritage, focussing on community development, youth in communities, schools and institutions of higher education. The sole object shall be promoted by means of education and training, publications, media products, establishing sites of memory that institutionalise legacy, workshops, events, programmes and activities which are directed to achieving the Object of the Trust.

In the first 9 years of the life of the Trust our focus was largely on active promotion of social responsibility, giving and voluntary service through promoting youth in communities, schools, colleges and universities to give voluntary time and to raise financial and resource support for community development projects.

Step-Up 4 Life, now THE CAMISSA HERITAGE TRUST is now focussed on building an understanding of the lessons in our history and heritage that can be characterised as ‘Rising Above Adversity’. Our communities have strong roots in Cape Slavery and Cape Indigene struggles, and they continue to face adverse conditions that once were faced by our ancestors. Our youth are wrestling with coming to a full understanding of this heritage and how it resonates with today’s challenges. The Trust meets the challenge of showing how heritage offers the means toward healing and solution-finding whereby social cohesion may be built and social advancement be achieved. A people who know where they come from are easier able to navigate the present and know where they want to go.

The means towards this end is a core part of the Trusts objectives which says “by means of education and training, publications, media products, eastablish sites of memory that institutionalise legacy, workshops, events, programmes and activities”. An envisaged MUSEUM or INTERPRETATION CENTRE is envisaged to operate as a base for promtion of imagining, heritage exhibitions, reflection, research, filmaking, art and writing that informs publications production, and the production of exhibitions and presentations, film productions and other multi-media products which forwards the overall objective of healing, understandin, building bridges all of which roll back the tide of xenophobia and racism..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                         New Logo                                                                                 Old Logo

 

The old logo was largely based on the schools-based programmes that we use to run and was easily used in a versaile way for taking our teenager work forward.

 

The new Logo encapsulates our African rootedness, as well as our global constituency and tributaries to our heritage highlighting our core inspiration and present day challenge to RISE ABOVE ADVERSITY. The symbols talk to us as descendents of slaves and indigenous peoples who have a global footprint. The ostritch egg pierced at the top, for conveying water and leaving water safely buried for others to be sustained on long dry journeys, places heritage and legacy as a central resource symbolised by the water. Our forebears left us their footprints and we too will leave our footprints for future generations. It speaks to LIFE within and LIFE beyond in the world and the universe. Its also symbolic of freedom - the footprint breaks out of the circle meeting ever new parameters neither held captive by place, or time nor boxed culture. The colours represent our continent and the heavens above - the ruddy earth, the sunrises and sunsets and the constellations of stars. Our broad slave roots and our indigenous roots incorporate Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, China as well as our scattering in Diaspora across the globe.

 

 

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