Minister Alan Winde - Province Uses Homegrown Advantage to Grow Local Co-Ops
Today, Western Cape Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde, visited Sophumelela and Singalakha, two women-owned co-operatives in Khayelitsha.
The co-operatives were employed by the Provincial Government of the Western Cape to produce 3 000 branded bags which will be distributed to visitors and guests of the Kirstenbosch-South Africa Chelsea Flower Show exhibit in London later this month.
Speaking from Khayelitsha, Minister Winde said, "when the Provincial Government came on board with funding for the Flower Show, we immediately began to look at ways in which our involvement would support local, previously disadvantaged communities. These two co-ops, which produce goods of a world-class standard, were an ideal avenue for us to plough our contribution back into the communities that need jobs most. The fact that these co-ops are women-owned and -run is an added bonus, as these ladies have families at home who depend on their income".
"The calico bags, which will carry our trade, tourism and marketing collateral, are being shipped to London this Friday. They are fronted by pictures of Table Mountain and the King Protea, both recognisable features of our province. They also contain the details of the township project. Instead of disposable plastic bags, we chose to make attractive, re-usable bags, which will continue to showcase our tourism assets as people use them for shopping in future. It is our hope that these bags will cause a stir in London, resulting in further orders for the women of the co-ops," said Winde.
Patricia Rwayimani, chairperson of the Sophumelela co-op, told Minister Winde that being part of the co-op changed her life: "I now support my family and have learnt many things". A colleague, Valerie Wessels, said, "it feels good to be a professional woman. It means a lot to me to be independent".
Minister Winde concluded: "Instead of doing the usual gift bags that people discard, we've invested in a product that benefits the local community and acts as a vivid reminder to those who attended the Chelsea Flower Show of what we in the Western Cape have to offer. Through these bags, we will use our homegrown advantage to touch people, both locally and internationally, in a lasting way".