Awakening of the ‘Forgotten People’- A dream comes to life

dreamcatcher-paintupkamammaA project named Wasteland – Graced land five years in the making and over 25 years as a dream to help an impoverished community, with significant ancient ancestry, has finally started coming true for the residents of Melkhoutfontein, Hessequa, Garden Route in South Africa.

The dreamer is Anthea Rossouw, who is the founder of Dreamcatcher South Africa and the people of Melkhoutfontein. Rossouw’s vision is an integrated socioeconomic development plan that will take what used to be considered a waste land to a grace land. At the heart of this plan is the PaintUp with Kamamma project, the La Bloemen Botanical Garden and the Waste its Mine its Yours project, which officially launched in March 2016. The goal – to improve quality of life in this struggling community and awaken the world to their significance.

Rossouw collaborated with United Kingdom renowned artist Bruce Rimell, whose artistic style brings to life pre-historic and historic images including the Swift People, Khoekhoen people and Strandlopers. Rimell’s knowledge of and passion for early cultures has brought Rossouw’s dream to life. While the seven murals designed by Rimell and painted by him and local volunteers are just the beginning of the project, tourists should not wait to visit Melkhoutfontein. The murals offer a unique South African experience that speaks to art lovers, historians and anthropologists alike. The murals are part of a walking tour that will continue to grow over the next two years as more murals are painted in the community, making Melkhoutfontein the biggest history book in the world.

The PaintUp with Kamama project was officially launched in March with the Honourable Marisa Gerards, ambassador for the Dutch Kingdom, and Karin Bloemen, the Dreamcatcher ambassador and Dutch cabaret, television and stage celebrity, taking part in painting one of the mural and kick-starting the Botanical Garden, developed on a restored waste dump site. These dignitaries were not the only ones to get involved. Community members have embraced the project and are extensively engaged in cleaning up their yards and joining people from around the world in painting their homes.

Exciting an heartwarming news is that a beautiful indigenous plant, has been re-named Karins-Dreamcatcher. Plantimex suppliers of indigenous plans, recently donated 12 specie to the garden. At home immediately, they reward visitors with stunning blooms.

Other tourist points of interest in Melkhoutfontein includes the historical St. Augustine’s Church -and grounds. Built in the area after the land was granted to the community by Queen Victoria, it shares fascinating insights into the life and times of the community. The tiniest, first mortuary in the district on site has been turned into a flower sellers’ cottage where indigenous blooms and plants can be purchased. A Dunlap, USA. April, 2016.