The Valley of Six Changemakers Network hosted the Changemakers Festival (supported by the Rotary Club of Greyton, the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership (EDP) and the SA Climate Change Champions) and launched the Voorstekraal Skills Development Centre in Voorstekraal on Saturday, 26 November 2022.

The occasion celebrated active citizenship and communities coming together for positive change, including a focus on the impact of climate change.

There were a host of activities including learning exchanges, performances and local stalls serving food and drinks. There was also a tree planting ceremony of six trees representing the six villages of the valley. Each tree was planted by a chosen elder from each village and pro-active festival goers took a pledge of commitment.

The SA Climate Change Champs team hosted a #reframe activation, where festival goers could bring their trash to stick on a selfie frame, to remember that every effort towards active citizenship can help to reframe challenges (including climate change) into opportunities.

As part of the celebration, the local drum majorettes led the procession for the launch of the Voorstekraal Skills Development Centre. Helena Dreyer, Drum Majorette Trainer, said: “We instil discipline and patience with these children because they do not have to be gallivanting the street and being distracted by engaging in wrong activities. We are also not discriminative with whom we train. We have special needs children too, accommodating people living with autism.”

Sade Sauls, drum majorette leader, said: “We learn the importance of what a community is. We practise kindness and respect. Being a drum majorette teaches one patience because you need to learn the skills and get the steps correctly.”

The #SAClimateChangeChamps stand had an awareness activation on renewable energy. The local children were educated on different types of energy generation and to increase their understanding there was a practical activity in which they could make windmills.

The Festival aimed to celebrate partnerships and connect communities in the Valley around local issues, thus building community resilience, promoting development and enhancing local tourism opportunities. The event built on current community activities including regular Helpmekaars and renovations to the Voorstekraal Centre, which will be used to host community meetings and a children’s library.

“A few months and several activations later, the Festival was a celebration of a diverse group of non-profit organisations and government coming together around a common purpose of small town regeneration. The Towns Action Network, which is convened by the EDP and seven other Support Partners, was happy to support this collaboration, and we are excited to follow the local changemakers as they collaborate further with Theewaterskloof Municipality,” said Simon Sizwe Mayson, EDP Programme Lead.

He further said: “The “V6” Changemaker Festival held in the Genadendal Valley was a tangible example of partnering for action. When the Western Cape EDP first met with changemakers in the Valley in May, the festival was just a set of contrasting ideas.”

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