March 20, 2009

Heartlines

feb20NewsImage1Waterval Boven was treated to a red carpet launch of Hopeville, HEARTLINES’ latest television series at the town’s community hall on Friday 20 February. The launch was hosted by HEARTLINES to thank the community for their support while filming was underway in their town and to encourage each and every Boven resident to do good for change over the six weeks that Hopeville screens on SABC 2 at 7h30pm, starting 3 March.

The evening started out with a sumptuous dinner for invited guests before moving to the Nicholas Ndlovu Community Hall for the screening. Over 1 000 Boven residents attended the launch, most of whom watched the first episode of HOPEVILLE under the stars on giant screens that were erected in the Community Hall’s grounds, as the hall just could not accommodate the sheer number of guests.

As children munched on popcorn, which was given out to complete the cinema feel to the evening, HEARTLINES Chairperson, Dr Zolile Mlisana explained that “In order to build the society we all wish for, we need to rebuild healthy relationships at every level of society. The building blocks for healthy relationships are good values lived out every day.”

As part of this ‘6 weeks of values in action’ period, and in support of the belief that there is nothing we value more than the things we have worked hard to earn HEARTLINES is partnering with the Waterval Boven and Machadodorp Community Development Forums and Dreamfields (an NGO that supports soccer development) to try and revive the Emgwenya soccer stadium.

Explains Charles King, who spoke on behalf of the Waterval Boven Community Development Forum at the Hopeville launch, “The stadium in Emgwenya is always full of children playing football. But the place is in need of some love and care.”

In support of the HEARTLINES values, which speak of hope and courage and perseverance, as well as Responsibility and Service, the Waterval Boven and Machadodorp Community Development Forums will be mobilising all the soccer playing clubs and schools in the area to take part in a massive cleanup of the stadium, where team players and school children will scrub and paint the walls, scrape the roof of rust, cut the grass and clear the rubbish. “We will provide the tools and the paint and what we believe is a strong incentive”, says Mr King.

“If we can raise enough funding and get the stadium into playable shape, all of the clubs and schools in Waterval Boven and Onder and Machadodorp will celebrate our love of soccer and community with an all-day DreamEvent tournament”, he said.

Linkie Mohlala, the Executive Mayor of Emakhazeni (within which Waterval Boven is located) used the Emakhazeni Local Council’s vision of a secure environment with sustainable development to promote service excellence, unity and community participation resulting in a caring society as the theme of her address at the launch.

In particular she encouraged government and communities to work together to support recreational facilities for youth development, “recreational activities for children are protective, not only in a physical sense but also in a psychological sense. Being involved in recreational activities gives children a sense of self-esteem, hope and a sense of control. By facilitating children’s involvement in recreational activities we build resilience in vulnerable children and promote a sense of identity in adolescents. Ultimately it is a powerful strategy for creating healthy adults and safe communities.”

Additional information:

Speech by Charles King of the Waterval Boven Community Development Forum

The Waterval Boven Community Development Forum was established last year to support and promote the socio-economic development of our town, which is why we are so excited about the work being done with DreamFields to restore the Emgwenya soccer stadium, which I’m sure you’ve all heard about!

Imagine…our community working together to restore the stadium, and afterwards to use and care for the stadium!

In support of the HEARTLINES values, which speak of hope and courage and perseverance, as well as Responsibility and Service, the Waterval Boven AND Machadodorp Community Development Forums will be mobilising all the soccer playing clubs and schools in the area to take part in a massive cleanup of the stadium, where team players and school children will scrub and paint the walls, scrape the roof of rust, cut the grass and clear the rubbish.

We will provide the tools and the paint and what we believe is a strong incentive.

If we can raise enough funding and get the stadium into playable shape, all of the clubs and schools in Waterval Boven and Onder and Machadodorp will celebrate our love of soccer and community with an all-day DreamEvent tournament.

But looking back, who could EVER have imagined exactly one year ago that this community hall would be filled with the people of both Emgwenya AND Waterval-Boven, here together to watch a TV series aptly called Hopeville, a series that has ALREADY been made, and with some of you having even starred in it! Can you see that anything is actually possible.

Yes, our picturesque, peaceful town was chosen as a movie set for a TV series to be shown on national television. That Waterval Boven was chosen, shows just how much our town has to offer – for both residents and tourists. But, for the possibilities in our town to be fully realised, we need to all work together.

It means that going forward we will say NO to small thinking, no to negativity, no to procrastination and laziness. Instead, in our corner of the world, we will think big, we will always be positive no matter how dark the storm, we will also be proactive and work hard. And second best is not going to good enough.

Do you have any idea how many people have stood in front of me and told me we do not have opportunities here? When they do I tell them they are both blind and deaf.

For one, we live in the middle of two international airports. To my left, not even 240km away on the very road that passes our town is the largest, busiest airport on the African continent: OR Tambo International. To my right, just over 100km away, is the Kruger Mpumalanga International.

Both of these are tourist-rich arteries pouring out potential visitors to our region.

Tourism is the New Gold – unlike the old underground gold, tourism is sustainable, it’s renewable, and already provides more jobs and opportunities than mining. This is where our town’s future lies… in tourism.

The very road, in excellent condition, that passes our town JUST over there, is most probably one of the busiest national roads in sub-Saharan Africa… it is also the corridor between Africa’s powerhouse, Gauteng, and the capital of Mozambique, also the closest port to Gauteng. Tourists travel in their droves up and down this road daily.

Should a tourist turn off the N4 into our town, what do you think they would find valuable here?

Just off the top of my head, without much effort, I can tell you that this is the heart of an unusual historical area…

That we have world-renowned climbing opportunities here…

And never ever take our fresh air and great night skies for granted – remember that only a small % of people on our planet have access to those. They are valuable and people pay money to experience them.

We are also very close to countless natural locations, including mountains, forests, waterfalls, and some world-renowned views.

We’re only 240km from Johannesburg (even less from Pretoria) and only 100km from Nelspruit and the Kruger National Park.

We also have great flora and fauna.

We’re also on the edge of the escarpment, and if you don’t believe me, go take a walk along the outskirts of Emgwenya to see unbelievable views and spectacular scenery there!

Do you see now why I tell people who stand in front of me and say there are no opportunities here that they are blind, that can’t they see that we are living in a gold mine just waiting to happen?

It’s time now for everyone in Emgwenya, Machadodorp and Waterval-Boven to experience some of the sunshine. But it’s not going to be easy and it’s going to take hard work. But the other option of course is that things will just remain exactly as they are.

The overused words of recently elected President Obama are probably fast on their way to becoming a cliche, but somehow I think I’m safe to use them just one more time. Although they are some of the English language’s simplest of words, they are symbolic of change, of the power of self belief, of believing in the truth and that anything is possible. Those words are YES, WE CAN! YES WE CAN!

In the spirit of Heartlines and of the series Hopeville, the WVBCDF is calling on everyone in our town to take action and do good for change, not just to talk about doing good.

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