The community of Jamestown has always been one with a strong commitment towards working together for the common good. Located in the picturesque Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands, there is a hint of togetherness coupled with independence in the air as one walks its streets.
In 2016, Dale Simons from MiDO Technologies and also a Jamestown resident, approached Ranyaka CEO, Johan Olivier, with the dream of establishing a Community Trust. He knew the value this would add to the community and its journey to being self-organised.
Two years later in 2018, as part of the Nedbank Proud of my Town (PoMT) initiative, Ranyaka Community Transformation initiated its first interaction with the Jamestown community. A wide range of local stakeholders and community members participated in a DNA mapping session to identify key issues, pain points, as well as resources within Jamestown.
Supporting the unfolding Jamestown story
Since this initial workshop, Ranyaka, in its capacity as the PoMT implementation agent and an active participant in the Stellenbosch NGO space, has supported various projects and programmes within the community.
One of these is the annual Jamestown Strawberry Festival – a celebration of a rich heritage that the community of Jamestown wishes to preserve amidst growth and development in the area, and that showcases local talent and products whilst bringing residents together. In support of local community safety, PoMT donated equipment to the Jamestown Neighbourhood Watch. In addition, Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres in Jamestown form part of the PoMT ECD support programme in Stellenbosch.
Above: Supporting the annual Jamestown Strawberry Festival
Above: Donation of equipment to the Jamestown Neighbourhood Watch
Above: Jakkerland Early Childhood Development centre in Jamestown is one of 200 ECD centres nationally supported by the PoMT programme.
“It has been an enriching experience to journey with the community of Jamestown – and the journey continues. Here is a community where, despite the diverse backgrounds of its residents and its own challenges, residents stand together when it is needed most. When Covid-19 hit the world in 2020 and a national lockdown brought with it a host of challenges as never seen before, the Jamestown Food Drive, an initiative of Jamestown-based NGO, Usiko, set a wonderful example of how the community joined forces to address the issue of food security in their area. The community not only recognized the needs of its most vulnerable members, but took action to provide support where they could. The Nedbank PoMT programme contributed financially towards this inspiring citizen-led initiative.”- Amy Levendal, Stakeholder & Relationship Manager, Ranyaka Community Transformation and Jamestown resident
Channelling local development for the good of the community
Over the years, local developments have brought residents to the realisation that they need to establish a body of community members that advocates for their interests and that provides a platform for community members and local stakeholders to work together to ensure that any such developments are, in fact, rolled out with the community’s best interests at heart and do not cause unintended harm to its unique heritage, culture and way of life.
In 2022, Ranyaka was approached to assist this group of community members to draft a document to propose to developer, Blaauwklippen who had, shortly before that, commenced with the construction of a new estate in Jamestown. Ranyaka developed the Jamestown Interventions Framework which contains outputs from the initial DNA mapping workshop, as well as proposed possible interventions and budgets.
In November 2022, a group of community members, including Mr Simons, submitted this framework to Blaauwklippen Estate, who have since committed to, with the support of other funders and stakeholders, consider this framework first when initiating or supporting projects and programmes in the community.
Blaauwklippen Estate also saw the need for the establishment of a body of residents who drive the Jamestown story and that could act as a funding mechanism, as did Dale Simons back in 2016. They subsequently agreed to fund the establishment of a trust.
Above: Residents shared their thoughts about Jamestown at a ‘Tell Your Story’ long table set up by the Proud of my Town team at the 2018 Strawberry Festival.
A significant milestone
On 17 April 2023, the nominated trustees signed the documents for the establishment of the Jamestown Trust. These include representatives from NGOs; funders; sport, art and culture groups; the Stellenbosch Municipality and Ranyaka’s Stakeholder and Relationship Manager, Amy Levendal.
The establishment of the Jamestown Trust is a significant milestone for the community, as it represents the formalisation of their efforts to take ownership of their own development and advocate for their interests.
Ranyaka and the Nedbank Proud of My Town programme wish the community of Jamestown all the best and trust that they will continue to grow and flourish, whilst serving as an inspiring model to other communities who are looking to take their development and future well-being into their own hands.