GRAAFF-REINET NEWS - If you've got time to spare this year, consider a free tour of the Mother Flag, pilot site of South Africa's Giant Flag on the outskirts of Graaff-Reinet.
The Giant Flag is a multi-dimensional project that, when complete, will comprise a conference and tourism precinct, a 4-megawatt solar panel field and a 66-hectare South African flag made up of 2.5 million coloured desert plants.
The Mother Flag is the pilot project, a one-hectare site adjacent to the Giant Flag, which has been built to give visitors a better idea of the Giant Flag concept.
Just 1/66th the size of the proposed Giant Flag, it's still a pretty impressive installation and well-worth visiting.
That's according to NetFlorist MD Ryan Bacher, who visited the Mother Flag with his family during December.
NetFlorist is one of the companies partnering with the Giant Flag team to help raise the funding it needs to build the precinct and solar field, as well as 'raise' the Giant Flag so that it can live up to its promise of generating a socio-economic shift so effective that it will change the course of the communities that surround it, forever.
Bacher, who planted two indigenous species, an Aloe Ferox and Senecio Ficoide, in the Mother Flag and attached NetFlorist's logo to its sign as a symbol of the company's support for the project, said: "With the exception of a developing tourism industry, there is limited economic infrastructure in the Dr Beyers Naudé Municipality.
As a result, unemployment is close to 40% and is exacerbated by the associated social problems of poverty, food insecurity and youth and women unemployment."
Bacher believes that the Giant Flag precinct has the potential to act as a catalyst for change in the area by bringing together several streams of environmental, social and economic activity under one enterprise.
"It's an exceptionally ambitious initiative, one that NetFlorist hopes will succeed and is proud to support in 2018 and into the future," Bacher said.
Through its local team at the Camdeboo National Park, SANParks has been assisting the Giant Flag by recommending various indigenous plants and guiding the Giant Flag team as to how best to space and plant the biodiverse species in amongst the colourful cacti.
"The Camdeboo National Park is a direct neighbour of the Giant Flag. It makes sense that we participate in the species selection and use our flora specialists to assist the Giant Flag team in its great vision," said Mzwandile Mjadu, Park Manager of the Camdeboo National Park.
Giant Flag Community Liaison Officer, Thobeka Booysen, and the Giant Flag yellow Jeep are a familiar sight around Graaff-Reinet.
She's also responsible for running the visitor tours to the Mother Flag and the Royal Block Public Artwork in her street in the Umasizakhe township.
To book a free tour, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit https://www.giantflag.co.za/ to learn more about the initiative and possibly pledge your support.
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