The garden route has some of the best nature areas in south Africa in a moderate climate; these concentrated in a small area and surrounded by coastal reserves with lakes offering great hiking trails and water based opportunities. A key opportunity is that Groenvlei, Swartvlei and Buffelsbay are underutilized from a aquatic sports point of view and by the poorer segment of the community and hereby represent an incredible public resource to explore nature based awareness raising.
Matt Mentz was former managing director of the development sailing school Izivunguvungu for a decade in its heyday when it was associated with the Team shosholoza Americas cup 2007 campaign. Izivunguvungu in Simons Town Cape Town is a tried and tested model for youth development in South Africa and has produced arguably the best sailing talent the country has seen. The school was the cradle for many of the countries best sailors; such as Asenathi Jim who qualified and competed in the Olympics. These students are not only great ambassadors for the sport but are true SA hero’s hailing from the roughest poorest ghettos. These sailors are a resource for further youth development in the future.
Founding principles of youth initiative:
- Sustainable development for youth, emphasis on re-connecting to nature.
- Environmental care, respect connecting/harnessing nature. Both on land and aquatic knowledge and skills.
- Transfer of skills, and equipment from first world to third world, towards better resource equality opportunities.
- Buy in financing share for wealthier members to foster shared resources, integration and cross sectoral learning.
- Financial sustainability and job creation, student led nature activities for paying tourists.
- Spontaneous connecting and integrating of different segments of the community around common values and passion for nature.