Forum to serve as information hub

2019-07-02 06:01
Athol Williams reciting some of his poems PHOTO: SIPHESIHLE NOTWABAZA

Athol Williams reciting some of his poems PHOTO: SIPHESIHLE NOTWABAZA

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The Mitchell’s Plain Communication Forum hosted its second meeting, since its first sitting in May.

The meeting, which was attended by various community development organisations, was held at the Lentegeur Sub-council office on Saturday 22 June and was chaired by ward 43 councillor Elton Jansen.

He was joined by a motivational speaker Athol Williams and representatives for various organisations.

A Powerpoint presentation by Pam Naidoo, from the Urban Management Directorate, outlined what the forum was about.

Before Naidoo’s presentation, the gathering listened to Williams’ motivational talk which left them inspired to do more for their community.

Williams, a qualified mechanical engineer who was born and grew up in Mitchell’s Plain, told the gathering that it was important to plough back into the community.

He said he has enjoyed some of the best opportunities in the world that included travelling and working overseas.

At some stage he owned a pool of six German sports cars and had the luxury of choosing which job offer to accept, he revealed.

He said he was young then and was not thinking as an adult, he was overwhelmed by the money.Giving back

“The turning point for me was when I decided I needed to change my lifestyle and use the money for the good of the community,” he shared.

Williams said he funds, among other things, a project called Oaky Books.

The books are distributed in primary schools in Mitchell’s Plain and Soweto and it has inspirational stories for children.

“The aim is to inspire children to be the best they can be. I work to make money not to buy myself cars but to help these children,” he said.

His wish is for children to know that even if they come from disadvantaged backgrounds, they can make it in life because he also did.

“It is all about deciding. You just decide to be number one and not second best,” he said, explaining how he achieved what he wanted to.Forum is there for everyone

The meeting proceeded and it was Naidoo’s turn. She explained in her presentation that the forum was not there to replace any existing community organisations. She said it was formulated to be the communication source for the community of Mitchell’s Plain and the forum was a voluntary movement for the enhancement of the community.

“We welcome suggestions. The aim is to help each other understand what the forum is about and it will help to bring solutions to problems,” she explained during her presentation.

Naidoo also explained the forum will not exclude any wards in the Mitchell’s Plain area and that it is there to serve everybody.

“We are here to engage, ” she explained.

Representatives were given an opportunity to raise issues.

Suggestions included that two representatives from each organisation must attend and the organisation must be registered.

Attendees were also advised to forward their suggestions in writing for the next meeting.

Jansen first commended Williams for his moving motivational talk.

He said it is time the community promoted their idols and not the international stars that they see every day.

He went on to hail the meeting as a good tool for the community to communicate and also come together.

He said the forum was a step in the right direction and is a need for the community.

“It is a good thing that we are coming together and not doing it for our own but for the community.

“We represent a community, we need to have the needs of our communities at heart,” he said.

Echoing the words of Jansen was Rashmiya Lucas, chairperson for Colville Residents Association.

She described her organisation as one that seeks to be the voice for the community.

She said she likes the idea of a forum and is glad to have been part of the first meeting, and vowed to attend all the future ones.

“I feel very positive about this, I am looking forward to engaging further because there is a lot of information to filter to the community,” Lucas explained.

She said there is a need for residents to know all about what is happening in their community because it affects them.

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