Mdantsane is a unique, vibrating, eclectic, African place. Follow us on a pilgrimage to Mdantsane to discover the street culture, fashion, food, people, music, homes, taverns, humor, businesses, history and what's hot in the second biggest township in South-Africa, located close to the city of East London in the Province of the Eastern Cape. Join us on this journey while we capture the spirit of this amazing place for you in the here and in the now. We are going to introduce you to many individuals, artists, musicians, groups and associations.
They are the HEROES OF DAILY LIFE. They are the people who create, innovate and improve their life and their stories deserve to be told. This is a place for only good and positive stories of humanity, that will send out a message of courage, endurance and strength to the world through their pictures and words.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Jonas Krombach Living In Nu 9 In Mdantsane - They Gave Me The Best Time Of My Life

The House of Jonas Krombach's Guest Family in Mdantsane NU 9

Jonas Krombach is the other half of the twin volunteer team, that was sent to Mdantsane for a year to assist and coach an environmental youth club at a High School in Nu 6.
Well, they are not real biological twins but they became twins in spirit during the course of one year. We have spoken a lot about Theresa Ekpa's experiences, she made during her stay in Mdanstane. Ladies first and that is the only reason. But now it is Jonas's turn. 
Jonas, Jonas, Jonas.... what we can we say!
This guy is the archetypal German man. He is straightforward, controlled, as punctual as it gets and hard working. Often he can also be full of sh......!
But he belongs to a new breed of Germans. 
He is a wonderful representative of a new generation of open minded, exploring, very well educated, adventurous but all the way still careful young men, who are not afraid to show their emotions and who have made it their mission to transcend the boundaries, they were raised in and to see and understand as much as possible of this beautiful world we live in.

Over The Roof Tops In Mdnatsane

One year ago Jonas said to himself, after he had finished his abitur which is the German version of the matric: "I want to see and experience something completely and totally different from what I know."

And Jonas came to Mdanstane and he got a full dose of what he had asked for. 

The Sisters Star And Nolubabalo - Jonas Krombach's Two Mothers in Mdantsane

Yebo! For our foreign readers one more time: yebo is something like a South African exclamation for OK!
Jonas came to live with two sisters, Star and Nolubabalo, who became his mothers in Mdanstane.
The first thing he was confronted with, was the fact, that family structures in Mdantsane differ very much from what is considered a classic family in Germany. 
Of course, you can find the classical core family like everywhere else with a simple father-mother-and-children structure, but very often households are headed by women only. The are headed by grandmothers, sisters and even young children. The reasons for this are the high aids mortality rate in South Africa and the loss of the old South African moral family values in the black and white culture.

Star and Nolubabalo live together and raise the two children they have in their house in NU 9. No husband, no man. Just the women.

A typical dirt road in Mdantsane NU 9

And Now Jonas. 
Jonas faced many challenges, like having to deal with electricity cuts or no lights at all, having to shower with a bucket and cold water. Yeah, and the occasional mice and other rodents making their way through his new home. 
"But there was so much love", he said, "the love of Star and Nolubabalo and the two boys was simply unbelievable. I will miss them so much. It is hard to believe that someone can give so much love to a stranger who has just come to live in his house".

Jonas with his younger brother Lilitha

Jonas is a single child, he does not have any brothers or sisters in Germany and out of a sudden he was living in the second largest township in South Africa, had two mothers and two younger brothers and was sharing a small house with them. 
He is passionate about handball and plays in Germany in a club. Handball is not a sport that is known and played a lot in South Africa. So everything familiar and known had been taken away from him!
You can call that a culture shock!

"But was that not exactly what you wanted, Jonas", we ask?
Yes it was!
"And I have grown so much through this intense life experience", he says. 

This is the exact and best term to describe it - an intense life experience, that has the power to change you from the inside out in a relatively short time.

Between Houses in NU 9 In Mdantsane

But belonging to that new breed of young German men we mentioned before, there was no doubt, that he would cope and that he would enjoy his stay thoroughly including the fact, that he now had to share a small space and was not the only child in the house anymore.

We can only say, well done German man! Well done Jonas Krombach! 

Jonas with his two younger brothers Lilitha and Lutho in the families home in NU 6

Jonas experienced strong contrast. Contrast of all sorts. Contrast between rich and poor in the Mdantsane township itself. Contrast between the German life and the South African township life. Contrast is not easy to understand, when confronted with it in a harsh way. There is a big difference between watching a "documentary" on television or being thrown into the documentary and being part of it in real life.

"It takes you one year before you really know and understand how life functions here in the township. In the beginning you are just an observer and you have to find your way. This can take a long time because you have to overcome your own insecurities to socialize with the people", he said.

Corrugated Iron Shacks In NU 6 In Mdantsane

Why is an intense life experience so good! Why are we advocating this and are talking so much about these young Germans?

Because it is the first step, the beginning of a long journey, helping you to transcend the boundaries in which you have been raised and which hold you back. 
It is the first step, that makes it possible for you to keep the love for the place you were born and to treasure it, but to move on and free yourself from its limitations.   

And it is so good because you drag others into it, like your parents, friends and lovers who get send on the same path by you, just by knowing you and following you. 
And gradually it is the only way of freeing yourself and others of prejudice, racism and  the fear of foreign cultures.

Jonas And His German Parents Who Came To Visit Mdantsane With His Mdanstane Guest Family

The moral of the story: Do something extreme to yourself and not to others!

Jonas Celebrating Birthday With His Mothers And Brothers In Mdantsane

All Images Jonas Krombach, Article by Chocolat

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