“Something good is happening in the city.”
This is the word from Lindo Khoza, who is part of the new “City Story” project that aims to propel Durban to the next level.
City Story is an initiative to rejuvenate the city, and people were encouraged to join the initiative after a recent Carte Blanche documentary that pointed out the growing drugs and pollution problem in Durban.
Now, Khoza, who heads Lindbong Development, a business development organisation, said he and many other residents were determined to change the city’s image.
People who were interested in being part of the project were encouraged to register on the site www.city-story.org.
“We had more than 2500 responses from people in Durban who want to be part of the change, who want to avail their time and resources to help give the city direction,” he said.
Those who have signed up will be part of a process to create a strategy on how to take the city forward.
“The city will be divided into nodes for the purposes of our work, and then pillars or themes will be created on various issues. Those who have signed up will work on certain topics according to their expertise or interest, and will be responsible for the work that needs to be done,” he said.
Pollution and littering are not the only issues being dealt with by the team.
“We need to tackle the mindset of people as well, where they will have to recognise the need to take responsibility for their city, and be part of its story,” he said.
The team has set a four-year target in order to start making the changes to the city.
“Things cannot happen overnight, but we need to start now. As an example, we know that the city centre has many refugee people and asylum seekers. In order to get the help they need, we will have to draw on the expertise of specialists in migration, or social work. We also have a huge problem of unemployment, so we need to look to those who deal with skills development,” he said.
What makes this project different, said Khoza, was that the initiative was not led by politicians, or government, but rather the people and business community of Durban.
“This is a project by the citizens of the city, from civil society to business. It’s not a political mandate. We as residents feel that it is our responsibility to make the change. We want people to know that something good is happening,” he said.
The committee aims to begin their projects early in the new year.