Friday 6th September, the official launch of the Enterprise Zone, it was a bit of a do. This piece of land in Mayibuye is at the far corner of the Munsieville township a long uphill walk to the nearest schools and clinic. The land will be used by a number of small cooperatives to set up and run businesses such as brick making, a bakery and a gardening project aiming to provide a local supply of vegetables. The zone (third picture) is seen by many as a symbol of hope. Since my arrival the land has been securely fenced, levelled (without the aid of machinery) and the foundations laid for the area assigned for brick making.
The day goes well. About forty people are there for the celebration, but once the singing and dancing really gets going quite a crowd of spectators are drawn in (top picture). The day’s events include a discotheque, the blessing and baptising of the brick making machine (last picture) and a photo shoot (second picture). After five hours we finish off with a snack of scones and squash.
Now the work really begins. The members of the Enterprise hub* need to set up guidelines with respect to how businesses are to be run and financed. In particular, as well as seeking profit, all businesses must be aligned with the original vision for the zone. This was for the local community to develop businesses that generate employment and income and also directly or indirectly impact positively on the lives of the orphan and vulnerable children living in Munsieville. The early signs are promising. The brick making cooperative (some members shown in the last but one picture) are to make the bricks that will form the foundation for two new local crèches.
* These are community members who are working with Project Hope to finds ways in which the community can become more entrepreneurial and self sufficient. The hub includes many of those who will be setting up the first businesses to run from the zone.