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 cafe will have multiple services: tattoo parlor, cafe, roastery, business training center, art gallery, and restaurant. Each of these characteristics will have an added social component, ensuring positive community impact of, by, and for the community. 

Tattoo: training gang and non-gang members in safe and clean tattoo practices, offering free tattoo rehabilitation for those leaving gang life, and a tattoo business for the community seeking body art. 

Cafe: inverting the traditional cafe-cum-gentrification tropes, this cafe will be uniquely and specially designed to offer development and quality coffee and space to the community that currently exists

Roastery: RISE will roast coffee and sell it locally as a business effort to uplift the community directly. youth working for the cafe will know how to roast coffee as well as be trained in barista work for the ever expanding Cape Town coffee community.

Business Training: This space will be used as an open space to cultivate and develop new entrepreneurs through trainings, seminars, collective spaces, and guided mentoring. 

Gallery: Art will be generated as a function of the space, but so will the space be used to display local artists and generate additional income and destination based economic development for the community.

Restaurant: This will be the final part of the development, but prepared food with the distinctive tastes of the community, driving up the value as a destination, while also providing quality prepared food for a community largely served by fast food restaurants and take-aways. 



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


The RISE hub will be an open space to people of all backgrounds, education, and experience. Leveraging the attractive and safe space to generate new trainings in tattoo art, business development, food services, coffee roasting and serving, as well as entrepreneurial workshops and expertise aimed generating 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 all of Cape Town, and create a new space for the residents of Manenberg to recognise the value of their community through art installations, attractive and approachable spaces, and positive environments for community, academic, and business ventures.




Photo By Kirill Ovchinnikov


IN DEVELOPMENT - The Safety Lab intends to initiate this project in the first quarter of 2018. However, 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 showing and demonstrating a new narrative for many in the community. The idea is not only to provide opportunities for the residents within, but to also give people a reason to socialize and invest their own time in their community. Too often, we expect people to travel long distances, or long amounts of time, to participate in positive social spaces. This space is intended to anchor greater options for all in the community. 

A Safe Place:

Important to the development of the community will be the 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. The tattoo facility will generate a common space, negotiated as a no-fire zone, to create greater collaboration, communication, and conflict resolution skills within the community, while performing a very important process of tattoo rehabilitation for those seeking to remove the symbols and memorialisation of violent pasts. 


Photo by Shaun Swingler