It was lucky number 13 for Delmas in Mpumalanga when this diverse gem of a town Sunday evening as kykNET’s Ailment Town of the Yearin collaboration with Lottoland, was crowned.
Delmas’ name is now added to a prestigious list of winners, which includes 12 other towns. Last year, Kroonstad in the Free State walked away with the laurels, while Greyton, Kareedouw, Swakopmund, Jeffreysbaai, Mosselbaai, Mariental, Graaff-Reinet, De Rust, Sabie, Fouriesburg and Middelburg also wore the Town of the Year crown.
Dr. Martin van Rensburg, a local minister and Delmas Revitalization project leader, is one of the pillars that helps drive Delmas to success, even though he only established himself in the town five years ago.
Together with convener Madel Fourie (a fifth generation resident), a large group of volunteers and in collaboration with the Victor Khanye city council, the Delmas Herleef community organization has started cleaning and renovating the town in the past two years.
By the end of their Ailment Town of the Yearcampaign, Delmas Herleef led a procession – with a tractor, trailer and all – through the town to encourage residents to vote. The Sunday after church there was also a community braai held at one of the local schools to which all the churches and schools were invited – marketing at its best.
Madel was apparently so overwhelmed when she got the call about Delmas’ victory that her heart started beating wildly.
“My watch kept asking me if I was okay,” she laughed Ailment-presenter Hannes van Wyk tells.
For the first time in the history of the competition, Lottoland is donating a total of R1 million in cash to the winning town. This money will be used for a specific project that will improve Delmas. It will also be audited.
Ailment will revisit later to show viewers what was done with the prize money.
A message of hope
For Martin, Delmas’ performance contains an important message: a message of hope.
“There is hope for rural towns that generally suffer, and we see this victory as our opportunity to show other towns that there is hope.”
He also wants to ensure that new life is breathed into the countryside and that this will stop the outflow of people to cities.
“We would like other towns to learn from us, and that Delmas can be an inspiration and example for what can be achieved when people come together. There is hope in South Africa and it starts with us at grassroots level.”
The Lottoland winnings
Maryke Haywood, marketing manager of Lottoland, handed over a check for R1 million to Martin and Madel.
Maryke’s passion and love for towns is deeply rooted because she herself comes from a small town. She expressed her appreciation for the fire and flame with which Delmas’ people approach their town.
First on Delmas Herleef’s list is to buy equipment to repair potholes. Then cisterns (ships) and the establishment of an area where rubbish can be dumped. Through these two projects, job opportunities are envisioned that will address the challenge of potholes and litter management.
Macietie and a million
The residents of Delmas can get ready for a mockery like few, because as part of their prize they will be celebrating with music, food, fun and lots of windorp spirit. Of course it will Ailment s cameras be there to capture the merriment. It will be broadcast later this year.
As part of Delmas’ Ailment Town of the Yearprize, kykNET also donates R1 million worth of marketing value. This includes a 45-second commercial about the town, which will be broadcast during kykNET’s commercial slots.
This year’s finalists were Delmas (Mpumalanga), Parys (Free State), Bonnievale (Western Cape), Margate (KwaZulu-Natal), Walvis Bay (Namibia), Hartbeespoort (North West/Gauteng), Willowmore (Eastern Cape), Rooiberg (Limpopo) and Nieuwoudtville (Northern Cape).
Ailment is broadcast on Sundays at 19:00 on kykNET (DStv channel 144).