Johannesburg was built on gold — and today there is an ambitious move to call out the gold in the city and to ‘reform and rebrand’ the city as JOYburg.
Joy activist and laughter coach, Sue Jameson, says everbody is invited to join in the joyful movement to “build a better city for all” by establishing a culture of honour in which “we will join others and recognise… discover… proclaim… declare and call out the gold in this city, and its beautiful people”.
She says that the JOYburg dream has been in her heart for some years and was confirmed as an idea from God in 2011 while she and her friend, Juno Matthew were attending the Breakthru School of Supernatural Ministry. The friends subsequently registered the JOYburg trademark — a process that took nearly three years — and the JOYburg movement was launched online in July 2014.
Laughter flash mob
Her vision for a city launch of JOYburg entailing a flash mob with 62 500 people laughing together at Ellis Park Stadium has been shortlisted in an international competition in which people were asked to share the thing that they want to do for the first time.
Jameson says God planted a seed in her heart when she first heard of laughter therapy 17 years ago. She was trained as a laughter coach eight years ago and has been pursuing a calling as a ‘joy activist’ ever since. She developed a programme which counteracts the devastating social and economic consequences of stress by equipping people with the transforming power of joy and laughter. She has presented the programme to thousands of people in companies, churches, hospitals and NGOs in Southern Africa.
She believes that a report on South Africa’s sick state of mental health published in the Sunday Times on July 6, 2014, confirms her calling. The reports says one third of the population suffers from mental illness, more than R38 billion was lost to the economy in 2012 due to mental health issues, and 80% of disease is stress related.
“And we, as believers, are sadly not immune. However, we have the answer!” she says.
“The population of JOYburg is around 4.5 million, and in 2011-12 almost 80% of our SA population said they are Christian! How can we not, together, create a better city… a better country and a better world!” she says.
Jameson says while JOYburg is not a Christian initative “our efforts and prayers must be the foundation on which we build a better city for all.I believe our agenda is to love and serve with honour and humility… and through this we expect to see the transformation, upliftment and empowerment of all the people in our city”.
“One of the foundations for JOYburg is the fact that there is life and death in the tongue! We know there is power in our words and the Manifesto has been developed and designed to speak life into our city, as well as to bring about transformation in our own lives.
“This is a huge initiative that will involve local government, corporates, the media, schools, hospitals, police stations, and every type of organisation and individual, as well, of course, churches. JOYburg is like a non-threatening ‘umbrella’ that every organisation can be a part of.
“We want to see JOYburg everywhere… on billboards and posters – and we want to see ‘I ♥ JOYburg’ bumper stickers on every City of Joburg vehicle, and every taxi! We want to hear JOYburg shouted from the rooftops. And as the city is re-branded, we believe it will be reformed.”
She says JOYburg aims to maximise the efforts of people who are doing great things in the city by connecting them. It also aims to train and raise up “a passionate army of love revolutionaries, joy activists and peace warriors who will help to transform our city within the next five years”.
More information is available on the website, or by emailing Jameson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Manifestos, bumper stickers and laughter CDs are available for sale directly or via the website. Partner forms are available on request.
Jameson says that while her laughter flash mob vision has made the top 20 in the international #Firsts competition sponsored by Vodafone (and by Vodacom in South Africa) there is a challenge because the winner may only be announced at the beginning of October which would not leave enough time to organise the event at Ellis Park on October 4.
“But God can handle it!!! I told them that we could change the venue and date… but Ellis Park, I believe, is calling!”
Jameson says the next step in the competition is to submit a video which will be used to select the Top 10. These will be posted online for public voting before the winner is announced. She is hoping to shoot her video from the centre of the Ellis Park pitch.
She has also connected with the organisers of a Joburg City Festival which is planning a city march and believes that event could also provide a platform for a laughter-filled city launch of JOYburg.