Johannesburg is a freak city in a country largely maritime!

Pretoria: 07 November 2015


A week ago, South Africa saw the launch of the country’s Marine Tourism & Leisure strategy aimed at providing for the first time a coherent road map forward for the sub-sector of South Africa’s maritime economic sector and the latter whose focused development, transformation and integration into the main economy is deemed highly important, as clearly articulated in the current Operation Phakisa: (Ocean Economy) national campaign.

IMG_0709Launch of the strategy by its developer, the SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) together with partners Worldsport and the V&A Waterfront, supported by financial sponsors, Calulo Group and several others; occurred during an inaugural national Ocean Festival held at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

The country’s media covered the event and picked up on key salient points.

There were salient points all right! For one thing, an interesting fact to surface was that Johannesburg is effectively a freak city, given that all around the world, cities its size are all maritime based as developed on the basis of sea trade.

For this and various other interesting illuminations, it is worth revisiting the historical event last weekend to listen carefully to the officials that presided over it and whose speeches told more than traditional media could master in its highly limited space and time.

IMG_0725As it transpired, on the evening of Friday, October 30, 2015; close on 100 guests gathered in a splendidly decorated marquee featuring a nautical theme, to be treated to fine sea food, a bit of friendly banter, but importantly, to share in the enthusiasm of the officials behind the event as they explained the genesis of the Marine Tourism & Leisure Strategy, its positioning within the development framework of the country’s maritime economic sector, as well its objectives for the marine sub-sector.

Focus on maritime economic sector the way to go for SA

David Green, CEO V&A Waterfront
David Green, CEO V&A Waterfront

The list of speakers on the evening, (and who incidentally were all given no more than five minutes each!) included (in order of appearance) V&A Waterfront CEO David Green.

Summarily, according to Mr Green; it was high time South Africans took to the oceans, and made use of the resource for wealth generation and sharing…….

(Please do note that audio is bad at first but improves dramatically thereafter with all the clips. Also, a video version of the speeches will be loaded soon on the “Reflections” page.)

South Africa is a maritime country. Johannesburg is a freak city!

Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, CEO SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)
Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, CEO SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

Meanwhile, according to SAMSA CEO, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, the launch of the Marine Tourism & Leisure Strategy marked what he described as; “the beginning of a change that one day, when our time shall have passed, from another media somewhere, we will look back and say, we thought it was a party for one day, but it happened to be a day marking the beginning of the change we have all wanted for our country…..

“The biggest frustration for all of us in the maritime sector,“ he said: “has been a failure to move the consciousness of our nation to the fact that we are a maritime country, a maritime people, who live off a maritime economy.” Importantly, he properly contextualized the entire weekend activity in terms of South Africa’s grand plan for the maritime economic sector.

Take a listen……

The private sector wants in…

Mkhuseli Faku, chairman Calulo Group
Mkhuseli Faku, chairman Calulo Group

Up next was Calulo Group Chairman, Mkhuseli Faku whose group of companies largely operational in maritime sector he said was excited about the openness the SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) reflected in its keen invitation to private sector companies to get involved and work closely with State entities. Because of it, he pledged future support of initiatives of the nature.

The Ocean Festival will be all over South Africa come 2016…

Bruce Parker-Forsyth, CEO Worldsport
Bruce Parker-Forsyth, CEO Worldsport

The final word on the evening fell on SAMSA partner in the Ocean Festival initiative, Worldsport, whose leader, Bruce Parker-Forsyth unpacked the Ocean Festival initiative going forward….

A fine evening of seafood, lighted boat parade, ocean sports and illuminating speeches for some 100 or so guests during the launch of the Ocean Festival and the country’s first coherent and comprehensive Marine Tourism and Leisure Strategy at the V&A Waterfront, in Cape Town