Recycle Swop Shop
Did you know?
One child in Hermanus managed to 'buy' an entire school uniform by collecting plastic bottles.
Every Wednesday is Recycle Swop Shop Day in the Hermanus township of Zwelihle.
It takes place at the Hou Moed (Chin Up) Centre, which comes alive with the laughter of children each afternoon.
You'll find some in a large hall, learning to ballroom dance. Others are gathered around pool tables. The pre-teens are picking through a box full of toys and the tots are rootling through a sand box outside.
In one part of the yard, you'll see a long line of excited children, from tiny to teenage, starting to form in front of a fenced area. Some carry one or two bags; others are pushing wheelbarrows and supermarket trolleys. Every container is brimming with bottles, crushed plastic bottles or cans.
At 3pm sharp, a small team of volunteers starts taking the first bags. Another does a few swift calculations and hands the child a small piece of paper with a number on it.
The child gallops off around the building, and starts another line in front of the shop.
The kids peer through the grille-door of the Recycle Swop Shop, scanning the room for what they might take home today. There are clothes, stationery, toiletries, books and toys.
The door is opened and the first wide-eyed children enter, holding out their pieces of paper reflecting the weight and value of the goods they brought into the collection yard.
Each item in the ‘shop' has a value in points, and they exchange the piece of paper for items they choose. Apart from the magic of exchanging junk for goodies, this is arithmetics in action.
The Recycle Swop Shop is a well-loved project in Hermanus, founded in 2002 by Marilyn and Jan van der Velde, the owners of Zoete Inval Travellers' Lodge.
In nearby Gansbaai, a Recycle Swop Shop was started in Masakhane township in 2006 and is run by White Shark Project volunteers. The concept has spread to other towns like Knysna, Bot River, Hout Bay and Jeffreys Bay.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Recycle Swop Shop
Marilyn van der Velden
Tel: +27 (0) 28 312 1242
White Shark Projects
Tel: +27 (0) 28 384 1774
Tel: +27 (0) 28 312 2629
Cell: +27 (0) 73 214 6949