Should We Rely on Government?

Sadly, we have reached the stage in South Africa where we are heavily reliant on the government to support and fund us with so many aspects of our lives.  Gone are the days when people had to earn what they needed and had to work hard to get what they wanted.

Our history in the Waterberg has taught us that “communities cannot and must not be lulled into reliance on politicians, political parties or formal governmental departments for the provision of many of the services we need.  We must be prepared to roll up our sleeves, find the money, make the time and get down to work ourselves.  In the past communities that worked together to fund, build or manage facilities also built a community spirit, a spirit that occasionally transcended divisions of gender, race or creed. If the Waterberg community is ever to prosper more opportunities for broad community cooperation must be sought and pursued.

We must be prepared to break new ground in forging new alliances with former adversaries, now current neighbours, to build new community projects together for our mutual benefit.  We must relegate our differing ethnicities, religious and political affiliations, genders and languages to a subordinate status whilst celebrating the variety and depth they can add to our national culture.”

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Stand Together – Staan Saam – by Ken Maud

Standing Together

Times are uncertain and tough for everyone.  The Waterberg is heavily dependent on tourism, the sector that is probably amongst the worst affected by the current pandemic.

It is at times like these that we need to take stock of what we have to offer.  We have a resilient population that knows what it is to face adversity.  We have always fought against the odds and yet come out winners.  In the past the population of the Waterberg has had to cope with the Rinderpest, with Malaria, with Bilharzia, with severe droughts, with extreme heat, with recessions and with wars.  Despite all these obstacles we are still here.

If we are to be successful now it requires “the cooperative participation and buy-in of all the communities of the Waterberg.  For too long we have attempted to deal with matters within our own micro communities, defined by colour or religious sect, language group, or even occupation. But the challenges we face now are much bigger than any one community.  They affect, are dependent on and can only be addressed by the whole community.”

(Quoted extract from “Waterberg Echoes”, by Richard Wadley, published by Protea Books, 2019.)

It is time to put personal issues, prejudices and differences aside and to realise that we need each other.

It starts now, today!

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A Response to Tourism’s Relief Funding – by Ken Maud

As members of the wider tourism family we are saddened and disappointed by the Department of Tourism’s approach to supporting only certain groups with relief funding.
It is 26 years since we entered the new democracy yet unfortunately, politicians and many government bureaucrats are still behaving much as they always have done.  They look at the situation from the top down and have little knowledge or regard of what needs to happen on the ground.
In the Waterberg tourism sector about 90% of the jobs are in the hands of previously disadvantaged people.  Some are owners of game farms or lodges; others are managers of hospitality venues whilst a large number are responsible as guides and rangers.  There are a growing number in the front line to welcome our visitors, as there are an many behind the scenes responsible for catering and housekeeping.  And who do we rely upon for security?

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Weathering the Storm – by Judi Groenewald

Dearest Fellow-Waterbergers and Friends,
As I’m sitting outside under the trees, listening to the wind and looking at the various birds and butterflies going about life in my little bush backyard, I can’t help thinking: “I didn’t think my first blog entry would be during an international pandemic shutting down the very industry we are all so dependent on…”
The COVID-19 outbreak in China was like a far off thunderstorm – you could see it was coming and you were going to get caught in it, but you had no idea how intense the storm would be once it hit.  And like being caught in any storm, you hope that the worst is done by the time it gets to you.

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