Rotary challenges thinkers to help solve city problems

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“Be the inspiration” is the theme for Rotary Club Grahamstown Sunset as it goes into its 20th year.

The Club’s Induction Dinner at Kingswood College’s Wyvern Club on Monday 11 June saw Tim Dold hand over the presidency to Izak Smuts, who spoke of Rotary’s origins in fellowship and service among a small group of friends who decided they wanted to make a difference.

Earlier, past president Dold had cited statistics of the 113-year-old international organisation that includes 16 million volunteer hours each year. Activities of the Grahamstown Sunset branch had over the past year included delivering three vehicles full of clothing and food to Knysna fire victims, a donation of bicycles to the children of the Sikhululekile community in Manley Flats and community health projects.

A major project this year will be the GBS Mountain Drive Half Marathon on 25 August.

Smuts, in his speech as the new club president, said one of the Grahamstown club’s strengths was its Interact youth clubs. Mostly based at schools, these were important in embedding the service ethic in school children.

With clean water, sanitation and hygiene among Rotary’s main focus area, these were a good fit with Grahamstown.

“We need lots of volunteers to make this a better place to live,” Smuts said, highlighting the lack of public ablution facilities in the Grahamstown CBD as a particular need in Grahamstown. He said the lack of public amenities was a denial of dignity.

“Sanitation and hygiene is an important focus for Rotary,” Smuts said. “We need to protect that basic human dignity in our town.”

Education and growing the local economy were other important focus areas.

“There is no alternative but to grow this economy to make it possible for people to live in it,” Smuts said.

“There is scope for the town’s intelligentsia to help create growth in the economy and solve the city’s problems. The challenges and opportunities are here.”

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