ONE Community

ONE Community – Be inspired

In a nutshell

ONE Community uses under-utilized public facilities, demonstrating the value of the site, to create safe spaces for the youth. It provides programs for children, youth and young adults that are safe, pro-social, attractive and developmental during times of high violence. In doing so, ONE Community offers alternatives to high-risk activity.

What we do

Aim: Creating safer communities with attractive pro-social activities for youth where investment is seen, realized, and delivered.

Violence in townships is driven by lack of opportunity, options, or pro-social spaces. The Safety Lab’s ONE Community project in Gugulethu provides a safe and attractive space for youth on nights and during weekends.  In addition to generating an attractive and popular youth space, the ONE Community project seeks to provide a developmental platform for new artists, enable investment in community spaces, positive childhood development and a competitive brand to reidentify dangerous communities as more than simply ‘violent’. After a successful pilot stage, The Safety Lab is building on these principles to further develop the ONE Community project. 

How we do it

ONE Community is built on the principal of replicability. All of the components of the project are a product of processes that can be replicated to build a new program, down to the process used to name and brand the program. In an effort to determine the best manner of articulating the points and components of ONE Community, the Safety Lab has drawn it into five principal components:

  • Training

The recruitment and training of community members to both steer the development and deliver high quality youth programs.

  • Operation

The mechanics of supporting and developing youth within the framework of a youth centered, program agnostic approach.

  • Systems

Monitoring and evaluation within a highly fluid and dynamic situation and the technology that supports it.

  • Space and Place

The types of spaces that make good houses for programs and the geographic markers that support programs.

  • Culture

Providing all the necessary elements of safety, while branding and tailoring everything toward attractiveness and not toward safety or government.
These five components, when taken together and developed intentionally, generate the texture of an effective youth program in any community that can simultaneously attract youth away from areas of violence during the times of high violence and perform necessary tasks around social, educational, and physical development of at-risk youth in South Africa’s townships.

What we have learned

Our development of the ONE Community project has not been without detraction and obstruction. Any new or consistent programming is always resisted in several self-serving corners. In an effort to avoid specifics, a number of community, political, and governmental constructs are mired in negative, and not positive power. Thus, significant effort must be put into removing unnecessary obstruction within and without the projects’ location in order to merely run programs. It bears mentioning that not every individual or community NGO is able to get around some of these obstructions, which is likely a large part of the reason programs fail in the townships. At no point did anyone offer us structural or actual support, but rather sought to mobilize to prevent or claim propriety over spaces and wholesale activities.

For further information please contact the following project coordinators at The Safety Lab.

  • Nathanial Roloff


  • Asanda Dlangudlangu


  • Douglas Scott


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