Oakland’s Culture Keepers Embark on their 4th Journey to South Africa; Make Push to Raise Enough Funds for the Trip
On March 20, Culture Keepers, a group comprised of Oakland youth and mentors, will head out of the Bay Area for their fourth trip to South Africa.
This trip, known as “The South Africa Project,” is a “life-changing” cultural exchange project geared towards supporting students expand their awareness through cultural sharing, build on their sense of pride and self-esteem, and grow their world view through traveling and exposure to other languages.
In a recent interview with Sheen Magazine, organizer Kharyshi Wiginton spoke on the issue of “being landlocked” as one of the initial reasons for founding Culture Keepers.
“Many of the youth, their friends, and families haven’t traveled much outside of Oakland. Some don’t travel across the city or to San Francisco which is right next door, have never been outside of the Bay Area, or have been on a plane before.
“The combinations of these realities, combined with a need to have Black youth see themselves differently so that they can see what’s possible for themselves is …what drove me to create Culture Keepers,” Wiginton said.
To date, more than 60 Oakland youth have had the blessing of being able to be a part of this program. This year’s group is comprised of more than 30 young people from the age of 8 to 23 years old.
Previously known as “MACK to Africa,” supporting students and recent alumni of McClymonds High School, the project now reaches Skyline, and Envision High Schools, Cal State East Bay, College of Alameda, San Francisco State, and a couple of schools in Antioch.
While awareness and popularity of the program and trip have grown immensely, funding for it is still a struggle, relying almost entirely on grassroots fundraising and individual donors.
To reach their fundraising goal, Wiginton, is running a campaign entitled “March Madness: (RE) imagining Blackness.” The campaign is a call to action, challenging community to rethink how they perceive what it means to be Black.