Some 66 cities have been added to the UNESCO Creative Cities list, with the Overberg town of Hermanus making the list, the only African city to do so.
UNESCO Creative Cities are recognized for being laboratories of ideas and innovative practices, and for bringing a tangible contribution to achieving Sustainable Development Goals through innovative thinking and action.
These cities champion sustainable development actions that directly benefit communities at an urban level. Of the 66 UNESCO Creative Cities, only 10 were recognized for Gastronomy - with Overstrand Hermanus becoming not only South Africa’s, but Africa’s first UNESCO City of Gastronomy.
University of the Western Cape lecturer Darryl David and the Director of the successful bid says, "This recognition is not only for Hermanus, but the entire Overstrand Municipality which includes Hawston, Pringle Bay, Rooiels, Stanford, Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond"
David acknowledged there were many who gave much of their time and support for this bid, including the Mayor.
"I love Hermanus and believe it is one of the great little cities on the planet. I want people from around the world and in our own country to share in the beauty and the fine food and wine of this remarkable region”.
Carolyn Martin of Creation Wine, who had given David a crash course in Gastronomy in the run up to the bid, says the gastronomy recognition is all about "celebrating our pristine environment and all the exceptional local produce in our area, which includes and supports so many dedicated people in our community".
"This includes our local fishermen, our cheesemakers and producers, our wine estates and winemakers, our wheat farmers and their organic flour mills, our livestock farmers for dairy and meat, our farmers of organic flowers and vegetables, and our charcuterie.
"And then we have our gelato producers, our beekeepers and honey shops, our local chefs and restauranteurs, our brewers, our artisans who produce specialities for The Hermanus Country market, our community garden and food projects, and the Grootbos Nature Reserve.
"The block chain effect of using local produce has a massive impact on our local economy in a positive and sustainable way”.
Frieda Lloyd of Whale Coast Tourism who was also instrumental in the bid, says "joining the UNESCO Creative Cities network has given the region a "centre of culinary excellence, sustainability and creativity."While Chef Shane Savage of La Pentola in Hermanus says the UNESCO nod was "recognition of our combined efforts and aspirations to be a world class culinary destination”.
UNESCO Creative Cities by the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay highlighted that "all over the world, these cities, each in its way, make culture the pillar, not an accessory, of their strategy. This favours political and social innovation and is particularly important for the young generations".
The new 66 UNESCO Creative Cities are as follows:
- Afyonkarahisar (Turkey) – Gastronomy
- Ambon (Indonesia) – Music
- Angoulême (France) – Literature
- Areguá (Paraguay) – Crafts and Folk Art
- Arequipa (Peru) – Gastronomy
- Asahikawa (Japan) – Design
- Ayacucho (Peru) – Crafts and Folk Art
- Baku (Azerbaijan) – Design
- Ballarat (Australia) – Crafts and Folk Art
- Bandar Abbas (Iran [Islamic Republic of]) – Crafts and Folk Art
The UNESCO Creative Cities Network now counts a total of 246 cities - coming from all continents and regions with different income levels and populations, they work together to achieve the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of "placing creativity and the creative economy at the core of urban development plans to make cities safe, resilient, inclusive and sustainable".