One of the VSA’s most important assignments is networking and the provision of information. We always keep you updated about all our projects and activities. We care about transparency. You can find us on many channels: this blog, our newsletter, awareNet, facebook, twitter, Google Maps, YouTube, etc. We are always happy to receive feed back via email or to meet people personally. We think it incredibly inspiring to talk to people who have the same mission and work in the same field. We do not see rivalry, but the possibility for partnership, because the work we do is for others. We are happy when other people want to join us in that mission.
That’s why the South African National Arts Festival (30/06-10/07/11) was such a wonderful event for us, because we had the chance to listen to people to find out what they do and think, and to connect with them to make plans to work together. Firstly, of course I have to mention Upstart’s book launch at Nun’s Chapel. Shireen Badat and Harry Owen managed to organise and motivate and inspire a large group of Grahamstown’s underprivileged learners to write poetry and to publish their poems in a book called “I write who I am”. And these poems are good! Immediately, I contacted them to find out if they would write some more poetry to help us with the lyrics for our awareNet theme song – and they agreed! What an opportunity!
We also went to take part in the ThinkFest! of the Arts Festival and listened to talks by Elinor Sisulu about ‘Bridging the literacy and digital devide’ and Sisonke Msimang about ‘Leadership, Citizenship and South Africa’s political trajectory’, strong and smart women who can attract real thinkers and arouse healthy discussions that are not only full of criticism of the system or the people, but also full of ideas for solutions. We met a lot of people who do fantastic work and want to collaborate with us o make a difference.
Thank you all! For listening, reading, talking, communicating, and collaborating.
Unfortunately, my positive feelings were brought down again this week by the appearance and behaviour of South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma who visited Grahamstown to receive the Key to the City and to rename Raglan Road into Jacob Zuma Avenue for as little as R250 000. That is pure insult, conceitedness and ignorance. When a president travels, it’s expensive, right, but that is not interesting. Interesting is what you do when you meet your people. Do you listen to their needs and ask them what they hope for or do you endless chatter about your ancestors and praise the past? Do you spend the money for renaming a road after yourself which is only heard of dictators or do you talk to the local government and see how much money and support they need to improve the area?
Communication is the key to success – but talk to your children and not to your ancestors!