A WARM greeting to you, as we celebrate the birth of one of the finest sons of Africa this month.Municipality to make every day Mandela DayAs part of celebrating Mandela Day, Matatiele Local Municipality staff spent time with the residents of Ntataise Old Age Recreational Facility in Maluti. Ntataise Old Age Recreational Facility was established in 2014 and was given a park home by the Premier of the Eastern Cape, Phumulo Masualle, the MECs of Social Development and Health and the mayor of Matatiele. The MLM staff planted spinach, cabbage and mustard at facility’s garden. We hope you also took some time off to celebrate the extraordinary life of this former world leader. Remember, it is in our hands to make a difference. #MatatYouth2TheFrontIt’s all systems go for the Matatiele Local Municipality as council puts the finishing touches to the Matatiele Youth Development Indaba. This first-of-a-kind two-day session is on July 28 and 29 at the Matatiele Town Hall. The municipality views young people as a valuable partner in building a sustainable society. The youth indaba will provide a platform for young people to organise, network, learn and share their ideas and concerns. More importantly, the indaba will give directive to the relevant stakeholders and government in particular, with regards to the development of young people. As a build-up to the indaba, the municipality has established youth forums in 20 of the 26 wards within the municipal area. Representatives from these forums will form part of delegation to the indaba and will help the municipality improve its communication with young people. The expectation is for such platforms to be used by young people to discuss their challenges and create awareness about available opportunities for them. From the youth indaba the municipality will have a youth empowerment strategy that will be a guiding tool for youth development in Matatiele. The indaba days will also see the launch of a youth office that will work in partnership with the National Youth Development Agency. Check out #MatatYouth2TheFront.‘Sweetness of sweet Matat’ people bear fruitIn 2002 the Mehloding Community Tourism Trust launched the Mehloding Adventure Trail that runs along the base of the Maluti-Drakensberg escarpment. Since 2003 the trust has been working with the Freedom Challenge in developing the mountain biking part of the trail. In conjunction with the Freedom Challenge the following activities are now being undertaken - developing mountain biking routes and marking the trail, setting up community mountain bike guides, setting up a trail centre and establishing a mountain bike club.Annually, for the past 13 years, a number of people with backpacks and riding mountain bikes have passed through our area. They have been part of an initiative known as the Freedom Challenge which sees participants riding from Pietermaritzburg to Cape Town along a route we have called the Freedom Trail. Part of this trail runs from Taylorville towards Matatiele and then through the villages of Mpharane, Thaba Chicha, Tinana and Vuvu before heading up the Maluti Drakensberg mountains to Rhodes.The Freedom Challenge uses local service providers and the community orientated accommodation facilities. “We believe this has been of significant benefit to the communities along the trail. It has also exposed the riders to the hospitality of the people living in these areas,” said Tshepo Lesholu of Mehloding Community Tourism Trust. Over the years many Freedom Challenge participants have been moved by the warmth and generosity of the people of Matatiele. They then requested the Freedom Challenge to suggest ways in which they can make a contribution as a way of showing gratitude to our communities. It is that request that has given birth to the establishment of the Freedom Challenge Scholarship Fund. Scholarships will be granted to pupils from schools located along the challenge route. The Freedom Challenge Scholarship Fund provides study at Mariazell High School. Each scholarship is for three years, covering Grades 10, 11 and 12. It further covers full tuition fees, all boarding fees, books and uniform. At the end of each academic year successful candidates will have to display academic achievement. Good standing with the school will also be monitored. Failure to comply with either one of these conditions will result in the scholarship being cancelled. For more information, interested candidates can visit Mehloding Tourism Trust offices at the Matatiele Museum or call 039 737 3289. We are a destination of choice and excellence.