Kwanda is a reality TV ‘community make-over’ show aimed at inspiring communities across the country to get organised to meet their social challenges. The show was the first of its kind, with five teams competing against one another to make their community “look better, feel better and work better” – the catchphrase of the show. It was broadcast during 2009 as a 13 part TV series on SABC 1. The aim of using the media was to have a wider impact through reaching viewers of the series outside of the Kwanda communities. The final episode involved viewers voting for the community they believed had performed the best in tackling the development issues facing them.
Seriti partners with Soul City, the Department of Social Development and Ochre Media Productions in this initiative, which attracted 2 million viewers in its first season in 2009. Seriti is responsible for all community mobilisation, education and organization within Kwanda, using methodologies that include community mapping, the Organisation Workshop and community coaching.
- The communities involved in this first Kwanda initiative were:
- Kwakwatsi, near Sasolburg (Free State)
- Lephephane, near Tzaneen (Limpopo)
- Mthwalume, near Port Shepstone (KwaZulu Natal)
- Pefferville, near East London (Eastern Cape)
- Tjakastad, near Barberton (Mpumalanga)
Each participating community carefully selected 100 participants to form a team which underwent five weeks of experiential learning, called the Kwanda Organisation Workshop. This was held in one location where all the participants from the five selected communities lived, worked and learnt together, joined by participants from the host community. During this time they created one self-managed enterprise, which was provided with all the tools, resources and equipment needed to run a business.
Following the learning camp, the five communities competed against one another for six months, during which time they had coaching support. They were filmed both during the learning camp, and for four months after they returned to their communities as they implemented various activities and challenges. The philosophy underpinning the project was based on an experiential learning approach that encourages participants to take an active role in their own learning. Coaches provided continuous feedback during the whole process.
A number of activities were undertaken to address community development priorities. Some aimed at ensuring that participants could establish sustainable livelihoods such as food gardens, chicken-rearing and sewing. Others concentrated on beautifying the environment and clearing spaces, such as sports fields and recreation grounds for children and young people.
Activities such as home-based care were meant to help individual people; others were inclusive of the entire community. Door-to-door activities which aimed to identify vulnerable community members in need of government support were successful.
The different television episodes showing the communities engaged in developmental activity were complemented by a radio show involving a range of radio stations that gave other communities a chance to talk about how they are dealing with similar issues. The print media also ran supplements dealing with Kwanda.
The winning team, Kwakwatsi, received a prize of a development programme of their own design worth R1 million.