Divan Botha says that they are a small group, but together The Whippet and other local businesses and schools have taken hands to lead the “Linden Hope” initiative.
Johannesburg, South Africa (29 July 2020) – The Whippet in Linden put on a surprise show for patrons, totally unannounced but completely full of hope!
The restaurant was opened in 2012, with the vision of creating a neighbourhood-inspired coffee shop. Back then and still now, they pay homage to the peach farming history of this amazing suburb. From the beginning, The Whippet set out to be a neighbourhood destination, a connection point with your neighbourhood and your story.
Seven years later and they are still a little gem in this neighbourhood.
Linden is an incredible suburb. The Whippet has called it home for nearly a decade. Its people are proud South Africans, open in their thinking, passionate about their families and they are proud to call themselves Lindenites. Every street has a street captain, we look after each other, your family’s safety is my family’s safety. SA’s best schools welcome young minds every morning and our trees tell the story of a suburb with nearly ninety years of precious memories.
Linden has a proud farming history – our suburb used to be one of the biggest export regions of peaches to the United Kingdom. Some of these trees stand strong in back gardens as new young South Africans climb their branches. This is why we choose orange to represent our suburb – orange talks to life, it talks to our heritage and it celebrates a suburb with nearly a century of resilience and hope.
Divan Botha – Founder and CEO of The Whippet – says that they have consciously chosen a different narrative during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We believe words determine our thoughts and actions and that there is no value in following the current mood of despair. We are by no means denying that COVID is ravaging our economy and people’s livelihoods; we are just saying that hope can create momentum and open our minds to solutions and opportunities.”
Botha says that they are a small group, but together The Whippet and other local businesses and schools have taken hands to lead the “Linden Hope” initiative.
“We encourage businesses, schools and residents to wrap their trees in orange as a sign of resilience and hope.”
The trees really do bring some light to this tragic time. Some of you may have seen that the trees in front of the store and nearly 50 other trees in front of Hoërskool Linden, Laerskool Louw Geldenhuys and Pinnacle College Linden boasts their orange jerseys. The youth have no option but to look at the future with hope.
“Linden hope” is an invite to every Lindenite to dress their trees in orange, to plant new trees as a sign of HOPE and to join us in our call for a better future. We hope that this can spark other suburbs to do the same.
Botha then approached the JPO (Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra) and asked them to give us all hope by making music with a surprise performance in the restaurant. Botha believes that the JPO is a pocket of excellence in our country.
“I watched their last show before they closed for the COVID-19 lockdown – they are one of the main reason I decided not to emigrate! That final performance showed me how resilient South Africans can be to produce excellence even with so little resources and support.”
The eight members all agreed and were willing to play as they have not made music together for nearly 5 months.
“We did not announce anything formally – because we are not allowed to do live events – this was just eight artists coming together in our restaurant making music. It was such an incredible experience.”
Watch the performance below:
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I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death- Nelson Mandela
The restauranteur says that this is just the start of “Linden Hope”.
“What we want is other suburbs to join in to show their own signs of resilience in their own unique way – we hope this can spark something bigger.
Let’s not be naive; our country is facing its biggest challenge in a century. COVID-19 was no one’s choice, and that makes dealing so much more difficult. It robbed us of our freedoms. The ability to see someone smile, the chance to hold hands and our longing for a hug from the ones we love. Some of us have lost our livelihoods and the ability to know what is going to happen 6 months from now remains at best a guess. The narrative of hopelessness is rife and we cannot scroll on our phones without being confronted by it every day.”
Botha wants South Africans to support local, to dress their own trees, or plant a new tree and share this message of hope on every platform you can – this country is in serious need of heroes.
“COVID is NOT our future. We are our future. Hope is our future.”