The idea for  Linkup SA came about during a hike up table mountain with a few friends. On our way down Platteklip Gorge, we took a rest on a fallen tree and started a discussion about volunteering and interning in South African townships. The breathtaking views seemed to have added to the ardor we all felt.

The four of us could not have been more different and when I think about how Linkup started, it reminds me a bit of the beginning of a joke.  Something like a Frenchman, a Xhosa, a German and a Sotho were sitting on a tree…

We spoke about how many volunteers and interns often would not get enough opportunities to genuinely connect with the communities they work in as they choose to retreat behind electric fences surrounding their fancy apartments in the suburbs. All too often we would see children being bitterly disappointed when the friendly foreigner disappears with a phone full of selfies, without leaving them anything behind except memories. We all agreed that although sometimes necessary, humanitarian aid is not sustainable and sometimes even problematic, not least in South Africa’s post-colonial landscape. And as we sat there engaging and fervently debating, we suddenly had an idea. This was the moment we thought: How cool would it be to create a non-bullshit volunteering and internship agency?

So here we are today, 5 months later, trying to make a difference by promoting and facilitating volunteer and internship programmes, in Khayelitsha, South Africa’s fastest growing township, by focussing on sustainable community development and helping local social entrepreneurs and grass-root organisations to grow.

So how can you get involved?

We ask all those who like to come and volunteer or intern in Khayelitsha, to share their interests, qualifications, and skills with us, by filling out our online form.

In this way, we can identify in which way a prospective volunteer or intern can contribute most effectively to specific community developmental initiatives in Khayelitsha, see our partners.

We try to facilitate skill-based volunteer and internship programs, which are as genuine, sustainable and integrative as possible. Learn more about our values by reading our manifesto.

Dennis Molewa – Founder and Progamme Coordinator


“To truly help others you must first see the world as it is, not blinded by the ignorance of how you wish it to be.”Chad Howse

5 core principles for non-bullshit volunteering at Link Up –

1. Our volunteer program is a fun way to get to know South Africa and its people by getting involved in exciting social entrepreneurial projects led by inspiring community leaders and grass-root organizations we partner with.

2. Our volunteers contribute to create conditions of empowerment as well as economic and social progress for our community with their active participation and fullest possible reliance upon the community’s initiatives.

3. Sustainable volunteering in a post-colonial environment turns its attention to community development and social entrepreneurship. Here community members and social entrepreneurs focus on the redistribution of power to address the causes of inequality and disadvantage by coming together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems.

4. Depending on a volunteers skills and experiences, we custom make a volunteer program and schedule in collaboration with our partners.

5. Volunteers stay at an allocated guest family in Khayelitsha and their volunteer program is designed to integrate them into our community. Our Volunteers are expected to come with an open mind, to be keen to share knowledge and to be receptive for new experiences in a new and entirely different environment.