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Our Story

The Story of eKhaya eKasi

In 2005, an artist involved with Art Aids Art notified our team that she intended to sell her house in Khayelitsha and wondered if we would be interested in purchasing the property. After years of working in borrowed spaces, this was a perfect opportunity to create a permanent home for Art Aids Art and a resource for the community.

Coincidentally, co-founder Dorothy (after the Wizard of Oz character) was approaching a milestone birthday. She asked friends to forget about over-the-hill gifts and “instead, buy a piece of the Khayelitsha house, a ‘yellow brick’, because there’s no place like home.”

With these donations, Art Aids Art purchased the property in 2006.

The next step was to design the space. California architect R. Steven Lewis, who was commencing a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University, offered to assist. In 2007, Lewis assembled a group of students from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, intending to meet for a few hours to brainstorm. The weekend project turned into a passionate six-month endeavor. That summer, five of the students secured funding to travel to Khayelitsha, where they met with residents to solicit additional input (project KHAYELITSHA).

On December 1, 2008, Art Aids Art and the surrounding community celebrated the grand opening of eKhaya eKasi, or “Home in the ‘Hood”. The multi-purpose community center is strategically located in a residential area in Khayelitsha – Area 39 – with few community services or economic opportunities and serves as an oasis for families impacted by poverty and HIV/AIDS.

Not only does eKhaya eKasi now operate as a home base for our educational programs, it will generate income in order to support the local economy and become self-sustaining. To achieve this goal, eKhaya eKasi houses a unique combination of small businesses – an art boutique, tea shop, tourism operation, and bed & breakfast – intended to draw tourists into an area that did not previously have tourism attractions.

We invite you to experience the township, shop for handcrafts, enjoy an African meal and support eKhaya eKasi’s sustainability.

Schedule your tour today!