Korean self-help lands in Zululand

2012-10-16 00:00

THE movement which formed the basis of revolutionising the South Korean economy from an agrarian state to one of the most modern places in the world has been brought to South Africa — and Zululand in particular.

The Korean Saemaul Undong Movement — which simply translates into “Improve our Village Campaign” — was instrumental in lifting poor rural communities out of poverty.

Between the 19th century and the 1960s Korea had been annexed by Japan and has been through a bitter civil war, leaving much of the country in poverty.

Today, Korea boasts thriving automobile and technological industries that include companies such as Hyundai, KIA and Samsung, and currently its home grown music genre “Kpop” is gaining a worldwide audience — playing to sell-out crowds in Europe and the United States.

At the Umfolozi FET College, in eSikhawini, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the KwaZulu-Natal Office of the Speaker and the college of the Saemul Undong Centre on Thursday.

Dr Kim Charles, representing the centre, warned South Africans against being grant dependent and urged people to work.

“You do not eat if you do not work.

“A person gets addicted to being dependent on grants.

“If your children are complaining about starvation, you must know that you created your own destiny and that of your child.

“Don’t blame the government,” Charles said.

The Saemaul Undong Movement seeks to develop and modernise communities and is guided by the mantra of diligence, self-help and cooperation.

In brief, the concept saw the Korean government assisting their co-operatives to get off the ground, provide training and let them become self-sustainable farming communities.

KwaZulu-Natal Legislature Speaker Peggy Nkonyeni said government was determined to transform rural areas into active economic hubs that contribute to the nation’s economic development.

“With this memorandum of understanding we hope that this will be the beginning of a long relationship that we will have with the Saemul Undong Centre,” Nkonyeni said.

“We hope the relationship will result in the transformation of rural areas into better places.”

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