The small town of Komani, a constituent of Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality, has been plagued by many socio-economic challenges, leading to the formation of Let’s Talk Komani, an organisation aimed at championing the fight to restore functionality within the Community.
LTK, chaired by Ken Clark, vice president of the Komani branch of the BKCOB, is a non-profit, apolitical and non-partisan umbrella body formed in 2018 to deal with the town’s challenges by fostering dialogue across diverse cultural groups within the community.
They have since become a force to be reckoned with, tackling multiple issues and ensuring that the whole community of Komani is represented and involved in shaping the town’s future.
“We have adopted a progressive and far-reaching Constitution that enshrines the need for dialogue and debate among the people of Komani, to shape their future towards a more transformed and prosperous society, a future in which there is equal access to opportunity and one where structural issues like inequality, unemployment and poverty are addressed,” said Chairman, Ken Clark.
Recently, the organisation has gone on a massive drive to solicit support for the underprivileged people of Komani during the COVID-19 crisis and government enforced national lockdown. Over 5200 food parcels of different sizes were packed and delivered, mostly door-to-door, by different members of LTK’s packing and distribution teams.
“Leaders from all four corners of the town participated in our Covid19 Food Security Programme throughout the lockdown period This is in line with LTK’s Constitution which speaks to the need for all in Komani to work together in an effort to improve the conditions of life for all by fostering a greater sense of community,” said Clark.
The campaign was made possible through the donation of goods and services, valued half a million Rands to date. LTK estimates that the various sizes of family packs fed an average of 21 120 different people in the informal settlements of Mlungisi, Ezibeleni, Lesseyton, the VANS area as well as suburbs around the centre of town itself.
Komani’s food industry of manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, distributors and farmers have been donating bulk supplies to the programme and, where necessary, the campaign’s cash donations are used to purchase additional packaging and other necessary items for the distribution teams who volunteered their own additional resources to ensure the packages reached the most needy in their diverse communities.
Everyone involved has received safety training in Food Handling During Covid19 and secured permits from the Mayor’s office. The KORA group (Komani Residents Association) has been intensely involved for the period, liaising with community-minded volunteers in Ezibeleni, some of Mlungisi’s informal settlements and within the villages of Lesseyton to identify needy families and vet their particulars.
At the core of LTK’s concerns are issues of water supply, sanitation, power, clean air, and a multitude of issues which they say the municipality has continued to neglect, to the town’s demise. In the midst of all these issues, LTK believes that standing together as the people of Komani, they can make a meaningful difference in revitalising Komani and creating a town where all of its citizens can thrive. Clark encouraged everyone, from business to households to partake in its initiatives in order to see a better Komani.
“We have created an environment in which all members of the community can partake in cross-cultural dialogue and legal action at the highest level. Together we have a truly representative and stable structure to lobby and bring about positive and meaningful change for the long-term socio-economic good of all in our town,” he said.
Organisations involved include:
Black Management Forum Eastern Cape | Queenstown Civic & Ratepayers Association | Komani Residents’ Association | Komani Church Leaders’ Forum |Phakamisa Business Forum | Queenstown Education Foundation | VANS Committee | Border-Kei Chamber of Business | Organised Farmers group of Komani | Queenstown Ministers Fellowship | Komani Foreign Nationals Forum and the Muslim Community of Komani | Basic Services Group Komani