It’s interesting to go back in time to see my intention of working with Knysna Municipality and the DA. It also shows my original goal for Knysna Keep was very different and that I predicted that Knysna was in for a rough ride financially.
All that, of course, before my realisation that there were serious problems within Knysna’s leadership and the consequential 3-year struggle for justice began.
I could have played deaf and dumb as most have but I chose to take the tough route because it was, to me, the right thing to do. All those who have questioned this path, and the manner in which I’ve walked it, have failed to achieve anything with their diplomacy and ‘friendships’ with our politicians and municipal managers.
If I recall correctly, this email was sent to Georlene Wolmarans on the day she was elected as Mayor of Knysna back in early 2011:
Morning Georlene. I “hijacked” you outside FNB yesterday morning:)
Although I’m politically aware and worldly educated, I don’t want politics to be a primary in my goal to get projects underway. If an idea is considered to be good, then it should be given consideration by whoever is in power and, if parties change, good projects should be kept.
There is a great need to remove disparity in Knynsa, and so I’m hoping that if you do have good fortune today that the DA will be introducing a social plan that looks ahead for the communities with the goal to make an annual plan rather than the hodgepodge of workshops and councils that litter the landscape ineffectively. If so, I have ideas I would like to share. And that sharing is hopefully not only with powers that be but rather with anyone who wants to make Knysna a better place for all. I hold with Knysna being the most beautiful town in South Africa. But we need to make her beautiful inside too.
Hopefully, since it’s the closest, Oyster Fest’s sponsor woes can be turned into a positive i.e. make it more about Knysna and start smaller, less expensive projects to have all communities involved. I will hopefully meet Shaun [van Eck] this week but it would help to know the city’s positions too. Shaun did promote 2 GRUM (Garden Route Ubuntu Music) events workshops of mine which have given me an opportunity to work with many despite their skin or politics. We can make organizers stronger in their communities. We can teach and, most importantly, we can put that into practicals. Hopefully, that will come to fruition but to do most effectively it would help to gain the co-operation and input of the municipality.
I have many ideas but, as a small start, we also need to make citizens of our town citizens of it. By that, I mean that a child born in Concordia is currently Concordian and not Knysnian until we expand their world into one that includes the surrounding beauty. How can such a child be proud of Knysna if they’ve never been to the beautiful places that some take for granted? That’s a small project and I’ve attached that outline. I’m jumping the gun in that I’m in the process of making the Knysna KEEP website but I love the logo so much I thought I’d share it too.
These are tough times! It cannot be overstated. And we’re in for a rough ride over the coming years. Personally, the entertainment industry was the first to be hit and as an entertainment agent/event organizer I know what it’s like to literally go hungry. More of us need to start working together if we’re to make a difference not only in the lives of others but our lives too. It’s inseparable.
Rather than present a “million” ideas, I’d love to meet you properly – think that the formal definition of that is “with coffee” 🙂 – and simply have a chat to discover what common ground there is.
It’s obviously a big day for you. I wish you well.
This was attached:
The OUR KNYSNA project promotes multicultural integration through fun and education. The first step is to unite teenagers from all communities through field trips promoting unity and an awareness of tourism as a mainstay industry of the town.
Reflection: Apartheid has officially been long gone but Knysna remains highly segregated. Neighbourhood dissimilarity is severe i.e. there is little residential mixing of whites and non-whites in one area. The growing economic divide during this recession threatens to entrench this further. A person living in the suburb of Belvidere considers themselves a citizen of Knysna but many people living in the “townships” consider themselves more a citizen of that locality rather than Knysna itself. Indeed, the terminology that is in common usage further emphasizes this disparity i.e. people in town refer to Sparrebosch, Hunter’s Home, Brenton-On-Sea and others as individual suburbs but when mentioning White Location, Concordia, Khayalethu, Nekkies and Hornlee, they invariably define them under the blanket term of “township”. This must change.
Change: Firstly, Knysna Keep will henceforth refer to the different areas of Knysna as “communities”, a warmer and more sharing word. Secondly, we need to instil an awareness of a bigger Knysna into economically and educationally challenged children. Thirdly, place different cultural groups into a common experience so that they can identify how alike they are rather than how different.
Field Trips: There are parents who have never been to nearby places such as Brenton-On-Lake and Karatara. This dis-involvement from Knysnian society must not be perpetuated by their children. Beauty must be shared. Pride must be installed. Thus, the first project involves monthly excursions for small groups (<16) of teenagers. This would involve visiting scenic places that Knysna is internationally renowned for as well as lesser known sites that, if further emphasized, will assist in promoting the tourism of the town and surrounds. The trips will be educational via learning the history of the area and the role that tourism performs as economic lifeblood and future. Unity (“our Knysna”) is encouraged by the experience, especially via shared meals and physical activities such as hiking.
The long-term plan would be to identify the most apt learners for leadership and social programs e.g. protecting the environment, tour guides etc.
Sponsors: This project will require the support of local businesses, the municipality and Tourism with regards destinations requiring admission fees, chaperones, meals and transports. This is a low-cost project but the more that can be gained the more children can be a part of Knysna i.e. more sponsorship = more trips.
Although we’d hope that sponsors will find satisfaction in the spirit of improving lives and our community, there are touristic benefits in that every trip will be documented online via blog and photos that clearly state the places visited. This will be an individual advert for those businesses involved but all trips will be an advert for Knysna as the best central point for tourists wanting to explore.
Help us make trips such as these into reality. Help us improve lives.
Help us make One Knysna.
Read the second letter to Mayor Georlene Wolmarans here.