While Komani’s already struggling economy is brought nearer to its knees by the Covid19 lockdown regulations, humanitarian efforts are lifting the level of social cohesion, uniting previously divided civic activists who have committed themselves to the town’s revitalisation. Under Let’s Talk Komani (LTK), a non-profit umbrella body for civic organisations, a group of multi-cultural community leaders from all four corners of the town have participated in its Covid19 Food Security Programme throughout the lockdown period. More than 5200 food parcels of different sizes were packed and delivered, mostly door-to-door, by different members of LTK’s packing and distribution teams. This is in line with LTK’s constitution which speaks to the need for all in Komani to work together in an effort to improve the conditions by fostering a greater sense of community. The campaign was made possible by the donation of goods and services valued at R709 000 to date. LTK estimates that the various sizes of family packs fed an average of 21 120 people in the informal settlements of Mlungisi, Ezibeleni, Lesseyton, the VAN area and suburbs around the centre of town. LTK aims to continue distributing 500 parcels every fortnight. Komani’s food industry of manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, distributors and farmers have been donating bulk supplies to the programme and, where necessary, the campaign’s cash donations are used to purchase additional packaging and other necessary items for the distribution teams who volunteer their own additional resources to ensure the packages reach the most needy. Everyone involved so far has received Twizza’s safety training in Food Handling During Covid19 and secured permits from the mayor’s office. Kora (Komani Residents’ Association) has been most intensely involved for the period, liaising with community-minded volunteers in Ezibeleni, some of Mlungisi’s informal settlements and the villages of Lesseyton to identify needy families and vet their particulars. They also assisted some businesses which had ready-made parcels to donate, but lacked the community-based information needed to ensure their donations would safely reach the most needy. The overall packaging and distribution network included LTK committee member and resident of Victoria Park, Aloisius Alexander, (chairman of the Queenstown Civic and Ratepayers’ Association), members of the VAN committee (taking care of Aloevale, Newvale, Parkvale and Sabata), as well as Deborah Stellenberg who runs an NPO, Deborah Arise, and serves many informal settlements of Mlungisi. Sheriff Jenny Coetzer has also greatly assisted the LTK distribution teams. Ministers Lihai Bercovic and Michael Watson of the Queenstown Ministers’ Fellowship align themselves with LTK and reach those in Top Town who need assistance.
Chairman of Let’s Talk Komani, Ken Clark says: “I believe at times like this we all need to stand together and build a new social contract as we continue to fight the maladministration and corruption in our municipality. It is imperative that we start to build a new social order. We need to create social cohesion by demonstrating that we all care for the destitute and those who have fallen on hard times. We need to show the way by leading by example, bringing all the people of this country together and speaking out against the divisive. Thank you to all donors for their generosity and willingness to contribute in whatever way they can and a massive thank you to all the volunteers.”
LTK thanks its donors in the campaign: (In alphabetical order) AR Boards, Basil’s Store Wholesaler, Border Agricultural Show, Bytex Investment, Crazy Steel, Crickley Dairy, Dawie Kernekamp, Eyethu Hardware, Geek Imprint, Kei Cold Storage, Komani Fuels, Furniture Mart, Jumbo Mass Mart, Mabovula Meats, Mountain Glen, Komani’s Muslim community farm, Pick n Pay at The Mall, Protea Superspar, Queenstown Girls’ High School, Queenstown Spar at Lukhanji Mall, Red Guard Security, Sasko, Spargs Superspar, Spectra Upfront, Superclean, Thompson’s Transport, Truda Foods, Twizza and Umfundisi Fruiterers.
LTK secretary and fundraising campaign manager Jacqueline Wijtenburg adds: “Much dialogue is needed for such a project involving so many cultures. This project shows what is possible to achieve in our town when we talk across racial, religious and language lines. We really can foster mutual support.”
Please contact Jacqueline on 074 870 9608 or send an email to email@example.com if you would like to become involved.
- LTK’s crowdfunding platform:
- LTK’s Facebook Page:
- LTK’s Google Drive folder with photos: