The Magalies Make-Over of 2014 provided a visible, tangible opportunity for Magalies stakeholders, businesses and residents from all walks of life to tackle a project together in a very practical way.
The timing was critical. The town had recently suffered the economic, social and emotional effects of a three-month strike during which Magaliesburg came to a virtual standstill. A group of women representing a diverse mix of community members rose to the occasion and under the name ‘Women for Peace’, they led a march that showed such solidarity that the gridlock was broken and the strike was ended.
With tension still in the air, the citizen-led Magalies Development Initiative (MDI) team realised the need for some form of ‘catalytic’, public and positive initiative that would be open to anyone willing to get their hands dirty for the good of the town.
A planning group was formed and included representatives from both the formal business sector, as well as the GaMohale township. Meetings were held with municipal officials. Emphasising collaboration, the team also invited students from the University of Johannesburg, the Sustainable Tourism Partnership Programme and a team from Nedbank to participate.
Over the course of the Nedbank-sponsored three-day make-over, the people of Magaliesburg – including the formidable team from Women for Peace – volunteered their time and energy to:
Plant 250 trees sponsored by a local business
Clean up the GaMohale township
Build a bridge at the town’s taxi rank
Plant seedlings in the very first two veggie tunnels donated to Mphe Thuto Primary school by Nedbank
Wrap up the make-over with a community celebration in the form of a market and braai at the local station complex.
Whilst much remains to be done, initiatives like these ignite action within communities, generate a sense of renewed hope and lift morale. Rapid repair interventions need not be complex and expensive exercises – and they make an incredible difference!