Today saw the launch of the second International Mohair Summit at the Granary in Port Elizabeth. South Africa is responsible for more than 50% of the world’s mohair production. The 2009 summit was an initiative of the Jansenville Mayor, Cllr Sizwe Alfred Mngwevu.
First to speak was the mayor of Graaff Reinet, Cllr Hanna Makoba. One can’t help but draw comparisons between Cllr Makoba and other Mayors closer to home as she certainly needs praise heaped upon her as she spoke to the point, in bite sized chunks, with humour and empathy, demonstrating her love of the land, farmers and the imperative for organised agriculture and local government to work together. A breath of fresh air and if ever she decides to move to Port Elizabeth then our current crop of fumblers had better watch out.
Jansenville (in the heart of Mohair Country) has been designated as the venue for the 2013 International Mohair Summit, taking place from Wednesday 30 October to Saturday 2 November and the town is gearing up for an influx of both local and global Visitors and Delegates; This area has been identified as a “poverty node” with high levels of unemployment and, to this end, the Department of Economic Affairs, Environment and Tourism is keen to nominate projects that will create sustainable and decent jobs in craft initiatives such as weaving, knitting, beading and similar.
Partnership and assistance of both local and international Governmental organisations, with funding secured partly from industry and partly from government sectors has enabled this event to take place thus enhancing the growth and development of local agricultural divisions as well as encouraging sustainable job creation and maintaining that legacy in the rural Karoo, whilst developing and nurturing existing skills by providing on-site training.
This Summit will assist in developing Ikwezi into an economic hub and, wherever possible, local suppliers will be utilized.
The Ikwezi Municipality initiated this International Mohair Summit and it is due to their passion and enthusiasm that the concept of “partnership” with Government and industry, with Corporate and Community is taking shape.
The Event has precipitated several legacy projects including:
- Beautification of the Town itself
- Upgrading of the Town Hall and Offices
- Upgrading of infrastructures, such as an efficient, reliable Electricity supply
- Provision of reliable, high quality water supply
- Upgrading of sports fields – these will be used by the local schools and community
As a component of the partnership concept – Ikwezi citizens are also being encouraged to offer summit delegates and visitors “home-stays”, to assist with alleviating the shortfall in accommodation in the area and encourage the townsfolk to be an integral part of this event, taking place in their very own area.
The Summit programme will also include an Investors’ Conference, to take place on Wednesday 30 October and providing a vital opportunity for Government to engage possible local and international investors to grow the region’s potential within the Mohair industry and related hubs that will permeate from there. An Investors’ package is being compiled – to offer incentive schemes for land, rates, water and electricity.
Shearing demonstrations, which are such an integral part of the Mohair industry and will showcase the skills of the shearers and will take place at designated times, within the Summit Programme and they are guaranteed to provide an exciting visual experience!
Over 200 Delegates are anticipated, as well as approximately 250 Farmworkers attending the various workshops, dealing with issues specific to their needs. Infrastructure is currently being upgraded, thus assisiting in alleviating employment. Connectivity will be enhanced, so that access is ensured for the visiting print and electronic Media – which will result in both the Summit and the region being showcased to South Africa and beyond.
Online registration has now opened, for both the Conference and Exhibitions facets of the Summit at: www.mohairsummit.co.za
Councillor Sizwe Mngwevu, Mayor of the Ikwezi Municipality, says; “The Mohair Industry is the Lifeblood and Heartbeat of our communities and, as a result, we are not only passionate but expert in matters relating to this beloved industry.”
Reinhold Du Randt, Chairperson of Mohair South Africa, says; “This is a unique opportunity to invite all the role-players within the international and South African textile, fashion, retail and agricultural sectors, to the world leaders of this noble fibre.”
Deon Saayman, General Manager of Mohair South Africa, says; “Your attendance and interaction will enrich all Role-Players in all facets of the mohair and textile industry and will most definitely create a sustainable platform for an exchange of information and expertise.”
The Honourable Premier of the Eastern Cape, Noxolo Kiviet, says; “The Government stands alongside industry, with the conviction that the Summit will be of substantial long-term economic benefit to the local industry and its global contemporaries. As the largest producer of Mohair worldwide, we have an obligation to play a leading role in ensuring that this industry continues to innovate, grow and bring sustained returns- Join us, as we roll out the red carpet for you!”
One of the high profile Speakers will be Colin Cowie – a former Eastern Cape man, now living and working in the United States, as an Event Planner, Author, TV Host and celebrated TV personality, Authority on living with style, Interior Designer, Board Member of several philanthropic organisations, focussing on programmes in South Africa and World Ambassador for Infinite Families! Cowie is thrilled to be part of this forum and to share his global experiences on a South African platform!