Knysna Cannot Be Helped Unless It Helps Itself — 10 Comments

  1. Hello, I’m an ex South African
    London 20 years
    Now I live in Provence, France myself and my husband on a restaurant here for 6 years
    I’m considering investing in a small restaurant business in knysna initially just for the tourist season with a view to moving out there in the longterm, it’s very difficult to make a clean cut break when one owns a business!
    My questions to you are:
    What exactly would you like to be seen done in knysna and if anything how can I as a future ( temp) resident help out
    I would like to be able to contribute to the community in some way if I am to be living/ working there, we would not expect to be making a profit initially just covering our expenses if that was possible but perhaps there are many people who are in need and it may be possible to become a part of some larger idea.
    I do have a few more questions but will get back to you once I have your response
    Many thanks
    Monique Giannelloni
    Paris London cafe 04800 Esparron de Verdon provence France

    • Hi, Monique. Firstly, thanks for considering our town. I hope that you find joy and passion here. As to productivity, there’s always something one can do. It should depend on what interests you most but is one such example. I believe the only way to improve the future is to prevent children from following the narrow-minded path of their parents that has ensured great disparity in Knysna. We must make poor children feel that this is their town too. And we should encourage those with the most potential to accept responsibility as they become young adults. In the short term, we need citizen involvement in educating locals about politics so that realise that they can improve government. Right now, it’s more a situation of “us and them”, a feeling of hopelessness that we are not in charge of our lives. When next you’re here, i’m happy to have a coffee conversation with you. Even show you some places so that you get a feeling for the whole town rather than just town centre which sometimes isolates itself from the bigger picture of our shared lives.

  2. Hi everyone
    I have been reading posts (Great work by the way ) and –
    I live in Gauteng Johannesburg. And you can multiply the problems that Knysna faces by ten here. The City is lost. There is no sense of community here and every one hides behind there high walls and electric fences. Crime is exceedingly high, traffic is horrific and the cost of living is on the increase, especially if E-Tolls come into effect.
    I am looking to move to Knysna if the opportunity presents itself, and all I can say is that residents of Knysna cannot let a magical town like Knysna become like Johannesburg. We cannot rely on government alone or any other political party to fix or change our situation.
    It’s about establishing a community and helping our fellow man. Just like you are doing here.
    Regards Shawn

    • The benefit that JHN has is to fall back on several industries. We, for the most part, rely only on tourists which is why it’s so important to not only address concerns but promote our town. For the good side, the reason why i live here (and fight for it), check out If you get here, be sure to trade a coffee and conversation for some pointers on where to find the best attributes of our town – i’m happy to oblige!

  3. Hej Mike,
    i am not one who feels comfortable ‘out in the open’ via blogs, sites, chats etc. But i would like to encourage you to carry on (if you can). The good things we do we have to do for ourselves and for the knowledge that it is the right thing to do. One must not expect praise for doing things well and especially not if one is critical of institutions that appear to be no performing well. I have been in the ‘other shoe’ of public administration and was astounded who ‘little’ i got done in 6 years. My intentions just as strong as they are today. One must not become discouraged because as individuals we can often only affect our immediate environment, and it appears a such a ‘small’ contribution in the ‘large’ picture.
    Carry on if you can and try to find (and write) one good thing for every thing that needs improvement. Its not as hopeless as it seems at all. One thing is for sure. It is all EXACTLY as it should be. To incite positive change is done in minute steps each action, each minute, each hour and every day. No small feat but it fills me with enough energy and love to carry on and doing more of it and ‘dragging’ as many as i can along with me in this beautiful life.

    • Thanks for your full thought. I have admiration for your business ethic so it’s a policy that obviously works for you.

      My “but” is that i consider Knysna to be at a tipping point. This is not about a “pat on the back”. I don’t see lots of little good deeds as enough…not for a mostly indifferent populace or the enormous size of the problems we face. The consequence of Knysna’s standing aside is to give momentum to those that are doing wrong. We need action. We need Knysna to have belief and stand up for it.

  4. Hi There.
    Although i was only visiting you, and I only saw a small part of things, It didn’t take long to see how many empty shops there were in Knysna. That is a reality. I know the crises has affected the world, but in a town like knysna, where everybody knows everybody there is no sitting back to let someone else take responsibility. I agree you can’t help people who can’t help their community, but it would be a real loss to see you throw in the towel. Who knows, maybe people won’t be so afraid of making a change when they have nothing left to lose.

    • They hide or they revolt when the point of no return is reached.

      It’s scary how bad it’s become for many who used to be middle class but that’s a fraction of the overall problem when looking at what’s happening to the majority of poor on the hills looking down on us.

  5. If you ask a different question: ‘Would the self-serving, the grabbing corrupt, and the so called ‘pillars’ of Knysna’s society celebrate an end to The Keep and its associated sites?’ – then I guess in the answer you find a good argument for keeping the sites running. That said, your frustration is understandable given people’s unwillingness to protest (except about the unimportant – for example, the idiots who think Knysna’s greatest pests are those ‘thieving, aggressive car guards’). The nearest we got to seeing any expression of displeasure in this town, was the recent march (by a handful of individuals) on the Municipal offices, where justified demands were made for the suspension of the lunatic traffic officer whose antics included attempted murder of a pedestrian in an underground car park. But ask yourself, is apathy unique to Knysna? No. It is a general malaise which exists everywhere except probably the mega-cities and repositories of intellect and progressiveness like London, Paris and New York. The question you have posed is not all that dissimilar to one I ask myself about writing. Should I continue when there is so little reward, when people sneak past your book stall and hope you haven’t seen them, when even some friends do not rally in support? It’s depressing. It can make you boil. But you continue on because you can.

    • Thanks for that full response. Sure, they’d like to not find me as the most relevant result to internet searches on their own names but that’s minor consolation if they aren’t being fired or arrested. It’s especially irrelevant, as cause and effect, if, as said, if people don’t help themselves. I can’t fight the world’s apathy if i can’t surmount Knysna’s.

Make yourself heard

HTML tags allowed in your comment: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>