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Usiko is an organisation based in Stellenbosch, South Africa, which deals with youth at risk and young people in conflict with the law. Our business is healing youths by taking them through our rites of passage programmes, giving them both the confidence and skills to become leaders in their communities.

 

There is an old Zulu saying: You are the stories you make about yourself. Young people in disadvantaged areas - damaged by decades of apartheid - join gangs because they need to build both real and magical contexts for themselves in the absence of strong family bonds. They need to make stories about themselves. The Western Cape, where Usiko is based, has some of the most traumatised communities and therefore the highest number of gang members in the country.

Usiko is an organisation like no other. It was born out of the need to heal young people at risk, it is held in the circle of ritual, and grows through the fire and love of mutual trust. Through ancient and modern rituals, powerful real-life experiences, mentor support and the balm of affirmation, we help young people create new stories about their lives. Stories with different outcomes. Our programmes are the most powerful protection we know against the lure of gang life. They work - spectacularly.