Social Cohesion is Alive and Well in the Cape Winelands
Strong voluntary social cohesion initiatives have been underway in the Cape Winelands District for a number of years. This was evident when representatives of diverse communities shared their success stories of development, reconciliation and hope at a discussion session held in Franschhoek on Wednesday, 16 January 2012.
The meeting was part of follow up work to the National Social Cohesion Summit held in Kliptown, Soweto in July last year. Similar feedback sessions were held in the Eden and Overberg districts this week. About 57 people attended the Franschhoek meeting, including community representatives, the Independent Development Trust (IDT), the national Department of Arts and Culture, and the provincial Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport.
The success stories shared by various church and community-based organisations focused on voluntary reconciliation and community development initiatives. A highlight of the event was a poem read by Reconciliation Award winner Olga Macingwane, who has a permanent limp after having been injured in a bombing by a far right-wing organisation in Worcester 16 years ago. She travelled to Pretoria Central Prison to meet one of the bombers at his request.
Similar engagements are taking place across South Africa and in every province to mobilise ordinary people and community structures to work together to create cohesive, inclusive communities and promote nation building. It was very clear that people from across the social divide in the Cape Winelands have a high level of interest and energy in contributing to reaching one common goal: working together to make things better for all.
Mr Thumakele Gosa of the Imbadu Ma-Afrika organisation in Stellenbosch felt the session was the perfect platform for people in the region to engage with and understand one another. “It was really inspiring to see the wonderful things that are possible when people, their organisations and government institutions work together. It motivates us to learn from each other and opens our minds to finding ways of restoring human dignity”, he added.
Across the country people are joining hands to build a caring and proud society based on shared values and a vision of a better South Africa in 2030. The feedback sessions for the Cape Metropolitan Area and West Coast District took place in Khayelitsha and Morreesburg on Saturday, 19 January 2012.
Independent Development Trust
Cell: 082 885 1914
Hannetjie du Preez
Directorate: Cultural Affairs
Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport
Tel: 021 483 9507/8