Revolutionary Indepth Skills Empowerment


Rise is a multifunctional social space in which gang members and at-risk youth can come to transition away from violence and danger. The RISE space will incorporate multiple services: a tattoo parlor, cafe, coffee roastery, business training centre, art gallery, and restaurant. Each of these functions will include a social component, ensuring that the space has a positive impact for the community, forged by the community itself.

Tattoo Parlor: training gang and non-gang members in safe tattoo practices, offering free tattoo rehabilitation for those leaving gang life, and providing safe commercial tattooing services for the community.

Cafe: inverting the traditional cafe-cum-gentrification tropes, this cafe will be specifically designed to offer career development opportunities as well as quality coffee and an inviting space for the existing community.

Coffee Roastery: a grassroots enterprise to uplift the community from within by selling coffee locally. Instead of outsourcing coffee for the Cafe, Rise resources will stay in the community and be invested back into the youth engaged in this initiative. Youth working in the cafe space will also be able to gain skills in coffee roasting in addition to barista training, increasing their employability in the larger Cape Town community where the coffee scene is ever expanding.

Business Training: an open space to cultivate and develop entrepreneurs through trainings, seminars, collaboration, and mentoring. 

Gallery: will serve as a creative space, as well as a commercial gallery for local artists to showcase their work, improving the accessibility of the arts for the local community in addition to diversifying its economic development by attracting outside visitors to support local artists and see the community as a destination.

Restaurant: the final stage of development, featuring the distinctive tastes of the community. The restaurant will add to the community’s value as a destination, while providing a quality culinary experience for the local community that is representative of their own local flavor, as an alternative to the fast food outlets and take-aways that currently make up the majority of nearby food offerings.



At the core of the RISE philosophy lies development of community assets, entrepreneurship, and business development. The RISE hub will generate local investment in youth and bring new opportunities and income to residents by catering to untapped demand for services.


The RISE hub will be an open space to people of all backgrounds, education, and experience levels. Leveraging the Rise hub’s attractive and safe space to impart skills that can generate further positive community development, it will offer training in business development, tattoo art, food services, coffee roasting and making, as well as entrepreneurial workshops aimed at increasing local social mobility.


The RISE hub will create safe spaces for additional opportunities for the generation of safety. Through the tattoo project and the Safety Lab's gang outreach programs, the RISE hub will engage with violence and work with community residents to transition out of violent behaviors, creating a safer community for all. 


The RISE hub will be competitive with cafe cultures throughout Cape Town, creating a beautiful, accessible and safe space for the residents of Manenberg to celebrate and enjoy their community. From the coffee to the art to the food, the Rise hub demonstrates the value of the community to residents and visitors, and provides a positive environment for burgeoning academic and business ventures.




Photo By Kirill Ovchinnikov


IN DEVELOPMENT - The Safety Lab intends to initiate this project in the first quarter of 2019. in the meantime, we are building networks, setting up staffing, determining our final site, and working on pop-up installations for Tattoo support.

(CONCEPT): Rise 

Through the introduction of a multifunctional, pro-social, investment focused development in Manenberg, we will be able to begin the process of demonstrating a new narrative for many in the community. The idea is not only to provide opportunities for the residents within, but also to give people a reason to socialize and invest their time in their own community. Too often, we expect people to leave their communities in order to participate in positive social spaces. Rise hub is intended to anchor greater options for all in the community. 

A Safe Place:

Central to the development of the community will be support for those seeking to exit gang and drug related behaviors. Toward that end, RISE will utilize the Safety Lab's tools and partners to generate a safe space for those involved in high risk activities to come and seek help. The cafe will be utilized as an outreach facility for those seeking to reduce violence, with the tattoo facility providing a common space, negotiated as a no-fire zone, to promote increased collaboration, communication, and conflict resolution skills within the community. Meanwhile performing the very important process of tattoo rehabilitation for those seeking to remove the symbols and memorialisation of violent pasts. 


Photo by Shaun Swingler