Photo Credit: Supplied

The community of Makhuzeni in Impendle took part in an exciting workshop that was set up as thanks when a family sheltered cyclists from a storm.


KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (26 January 2022) – Con Malherbe and his friends were enjoying a day out cycling through rural KwaZulu-Natal in early October when a massive storm caught them off guard. A family in Makhuzeni, Impendle, invited them onto their homestead, offering kindness, food, drink, and shelter from the storm. After sharing the story last year, we have a delightful update about the community to share.

Con and his friends were blown away by the gesture of kindness by the family that took them in and hoped to pay their kindness back. When they got back home, they started talking about what could possibly be done. They decided to give the family a Christmas they would never forget!

Along with gifts for the kind family, Con had hoped to help the community as a whole. This year a community workshop was held to bring the community together and inspire ideas on how to work together.

Janine Ward had offered to do a workshop with the family and community members on ABCD (Asset-based Community Development) to help them think about developing things for themselves.

ABCD (Asset-based Citizen-led Development) is an alternative way to engage with communities that is much more respectful and positive than the traditional way of going in and asking what people need. This traditional need-based approach creates dependency and has a poverty mindset which is demeaning for the community members and makes the person helping seem like a hero.

The ABCD approach recognises that communities have capacity, strengths, and talents already – they have the answer to what they need; they just may not realise it. The ABCD process focuses on strengths and acknowledging the gifts and talents in a community, which encourages the community members to feel proud and capable.

They can then mobilise what they have and ask for anything they don’t have from outside agencies/government departments/donors, etc. This leads to a more balanced relationship, and community members remain in charge of their own development.

The community workshop took place on the 11th of January 2022.

Several of the group are CWP workers (Community Works Programme), which is a government programme that supports community members to keep road verges clean and fix potholes, etc.

“Unpacking their personal skills, the group was excited to realise that amongst them, there were many good skills that could support community initiatives, such as building, craft skills, and organising skills (catering and event management).”

“A lot of discussion happened around the beauty of the area and the fact that cyclists ride through Impendle often, and could benefit from a local B & B or little stalls that offer refreshments and traditional crafts. One group of community members also discussed the possibility of starting a community stokvel for starting a vegetable gardening project for sales of produce to individual families but also for big community events (funerals and weddings). There was great excitement at the thought of being able to start with something immediately themselves, and not having to wait for external funding or materials. This is the magic of ABCD – people are quickly motivated to act!” – Janine Ward

Janine will work with Con and their community contact Thokozane to offer advice and assistance as the community needs.

“Before we left, we also handed over a TV set that Con had received. The group agreed that this TV should remain in the preschool building and be used by the preschool to teach the children. The possibility of movie viewing as a community fundraising event was also suggested.” – Janine Ward

Sources: Supplied
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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