Six days, 140 events, 336 groups, 70 partners and the spirit of Ubuntu made up this year’s Trading Live campaign by the people of Makana, from 24 to 28 July, 2017.
The annual initiative of the Rhodes University’s Community Engagement directorate under the leadership of Di Hornby garnered unwavering support and commitment from Rhodes staff, students, state and independent schools, business, civil society, non-profit and community based organisations in Grahamstown.
All the partners involved shared their skills and assets for the benefit of each member in a unique reciprocal approach as part of the Nelson Mandela’s 67 minutes international campaign.
“A Trade consists of both an offer to do something for someone else in the community while at the same time requesting a service for your own organisation,” said Hornby. “It is based on the principle of reciprocity: demonstrating that we all have something to offer our community and something to learn or receive.”
The 140 events were made up of socially diverse contributions such as talks with high school learners on bullying, career guidance, workshops on disabilities, and lessons on the history of African language literature, sport coaching, seed planting with children, e-filing assistance, arts, basic computer literacy and the sharing of resources among many other activities.
The campaign was kick-started by Rhodes University’s Vice-Chancellor, Sizwe Mabizela and Grahamstown-born Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile Nkwinti. They respectively engaged the youth of Grahamstown on taking ownership of their destiny and not neglecting their community responsibilities.
“We challenged the Grahamstown community to go beyond the notion of giving, a one way gesture, to something more significant and sustainable, that of sharing which requires giving and receiving – an exchange of equals. It is in the sharing that relationships can begin to be built and we can learn to coexist and collectively work towards a shared future,” said Mabizela.
“Even economically poor communities are rich in assets and we need to recognise these and create spaces where they too can be valued and put to use,” he said.
Initiated in 2014, Trading Live has seen Rhodes University collaborating with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, focusing on the following areas for service: food security, literacy, infrastructure and shelter, youth leadership/ business development, care, holistic wellness and health, arts and information technology, early childhood education and high school education.
Recognising the need to deepen Trading Live for Mandela Day interventions, these focus areas allow for all members of the Grahamstown community to lend support to organisations where they may need it most.
“There are no quick fixes to social transformation and reshaping our community,” said Hornby. “However, Trading Live is one small way in which all residents of Grahamstown play a vital role by participating in community support interventions. By volunteering time, skills, and creative energy, participants can make a contribution towards re-shaping diverse spaces in our community.” – Rhodes University Communications and Advancement Division