Gansbaai has begun a journey in which people of all races and ages are committed to working together to eradicate crime and poverty and transform the community, says Chris Swart, a pioneer of Project South Africa in the Western Cape coastal town.
Chris believes that over the past few years God set him up for his life mission — by planting him in the town and divinely connecting him with people who share a passion for making a difference in the town and a conviction that the only way for SA to work is for all of its people to come together.
In 2018 he and his wife sold their business in Cape Town and moved to Gansbaai where they set up a B&B. Since then he connected with Project SA co-founder Dr Arno van Niekerk and together with some township leaders he had invited to join him, attended a launch of the kingdom nation building movement in Somerset West.
In early May they held a Project SA activation workshop in Gansbaai which attracted more attendees than they anticipated, including about 80 people from Masakane and Blompark townships. The workshop inspired hope and a hunger for change. At the suggestion of a pastor from Masakane they regrouped the next day for a prayer meeting.
A multicultural and multigenerational core group of 22 people was formed to meet together to plan how they are going to change their town. Chris also began implementing Work 4 a Living worshops to pave the way for sustainability by shifting mindsets from poverty and dependence on handouts to working and becoming entrepreneurs.
God also prompted him to invite Pastor John Mathuhle, who has been used by God in Senekal to turn hearts from civil war to reconciliation and rebuilding the community, to visit Gansbaai. Pastor John and his wife Cecelia spent a week with the Gansbaai kingdom nation builders at the end of May and according to Chris they benefitted much from their experience in uniting the people of Senekal and their heart for the ministry of reconciliation.
They have also started a development fund into which people sow amounts they can afford like R5 or R10 a month towards community projects. The core group has identified several projects, including painting the community hall in Masakane, cleaning up the harbour and neighbourhood cleanups. They will also progress on to some skills training and small business startup projects, for instance using sewing machines they own.
Chris said they are starting small because “we want to do things right” so that what they initiate is sustainable. It was about changing mindsets and ensuring there was a market for products before they made them.
He said he believed that the network that Project SA is building around the country will prove valuable when it comes to sourcing markets and expertise. He also believes that there is a pool of skilled, retired people in Gansbaai, who will be open to provding training and expertise through the transformation platform they are building.
In five years time their dream is to see most people employed, new community-based businesses up and running and expanding and crime greatly reduced.
“There is a real paradigm shift happening in our nation and we as the Church must take this opportunity that God is giving us. I believe it is part of a revival that is coming and if people can put their shoulders to the wheel and go the extra mile and help the people as far as they can, we’re going to change the nation,” he said.
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