It’s been 4 years of offering free services to Knysna. In the beginning, it was simply to make a contribution to this town i love so much but, as hardships became apparent, the goal broadened into wanting to create positive change. This has meant wearing two hats; one that boasts about our town’s beauties whilst the other tackles the problems that threaten her.
The latter has been tough. Challenging local government has been a depressingly dirty business but absolutely necessary if we’re to protect Knysna and become a prosperous community. There are those who want to pretend that bad things don’t exist and hang onto a segregated status quo as if it’s a life boat – it isn’t. Fact is that hard drugs are now a problem for every community, crime is up and riots are on the increase. Whilst there’s been a definite increase in tourists this year, the money from that hasn’t trickled down enough through the small business community. Hell, as useless as they were, it’s notable that the Knysna Chamber of Business closed down. The same would apply to events such as the Pick ‘n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival that refuse to change with the times. Small businesses are being replaced by chain stores and foreign-owned shops that are possibly practicing unfairly through subsidisation from their governments.
On a personal level, there’s little reward. As the only public protestor on many issues, i take a lot of flak: experience disinformation campaigns, hear ridiculous rumours fueled by gossip, face court cases and more. It’s been painfully obvious that the ANC and the DA don’t give a damn about citizen rights in Knysna – it seems to be big salaries and big business first, you and me last. There has been a significant mind-shift amongst the white population as more and more people are starting to ask questions and complain more sincerely. To some degree, we all need to be activists and community workers. My hope for 2014 is that those questioners start working together to demand answers and change before we’re left with a town not worth living in. Here’s that suggestion of ’30 Ways You Can Help Knysna’.
The bright side has been Love Knysna Projects, the volunteer association i started. I believe in education, breaking down racial barriers, giving kids hope and winning hearts and minds so that more of us can work towards a shared future wherein we’re all safe. 2013 was a test run for this project. I focused on the Rastafari community of Judah Square and was met with marvellous response. Indeed, most of the smiles i wore this year was from seeing the smiles on the faces of the kids from there. To see all that was accomplished this year, please check out ‘Love Knysna Projects Made a Difference in 2013’. Next year requires a strategy that ensures more education on excursions and ‘pay it forward’ action so that the kids learn responsibility and the greater community of Knysna benefits too.
The BIG challenge is how to keep all of this running. It’s been a year of very little paid work coming in (none the past 4 months) which has found me borrowing far too much. It will occupy many of my thoughts these ‘holidays’ (in between catching up on so much i’ve fallen behind on as well as preparing blogs and plans for 2014). If you have suggestions, or are willing to assist in anyway, your input will be appreciated.
For feedback on all my websites, visit This is What Was Popular in 2013. For a listing of blogs from the past month as well as the Knysna Summer Events Calendar, checkout the latest newsletter online.
Thank you for sharing 2013 with me! & 🙂