The world cup kicks off in six days time – but the benefits of this soccer spectacular will be felt for a long time afterwards, thanks to the innovative Solar public viewing area in Jericho, Brits. Next Friday June 11 2010, the world will hold its breath as the first ever soccer world cup to be held on the African continent kicks off at Soccer City , south of the city of gold, Johannesburg.
Less than two hours away, the villagers of Jericho outside Brits in the North West province, will be glued to their TV screens watching history be made in the land of their birth. They will be sitting in front of the giant high quality TV screens coupled to theatre sound systems, all powered by solar energy and run by young members of the community who have been specially trained just for this.
The Jericho project, a solar public viewing area, is an unprecedented event for Greenpeace Africa, marrying entertainment with education - and proving how solar power has to be the solution for South africa’s energy crisis, not more coal fired power stations.
As part of the project, the trainees organised an Open Day where they shared their experiences with community members who came to the event on June 03. They exhibited solar cookers, solar-powered music and other innovative products. According to Mr. Manonyare, one of the tribal leaders present, " this project is really important for us here in Jericho...I wish everybody to have it in their homes".
The solar project is a critical intervention for Greenpeace because it highlights the particular South African paradox of an event being held in a country where the majority of its citizens cannot afford to buy tickets to attend.
The month-long sports extravanganza will be held at seven stadiums in urban areas across the country, once again preventing poor people from rural areas from attending, due to the added cost of transport and accommodation.
The solar project answers this by bringing the world up into outlying rural communities and shows the possibilities that exist by growing green and advocating Greenpeace’s Energy (R)evolution campaign at grass roots. The whole project has cost about six hundred thousand rand including installation, training and airing of all the games.
Working with Madiba a Toloane, the local high school, Greenpeace has trained 15 teenagers to install the solar panels that will be powering the community hall during the games.
For matric pupil Tumelo, it was an incredible experience: "I never thought Electricity had such a negative impact on the Environment until Greenpeace came to Jericho, Our community is blessed".
Her friend Julia said, "I have learned that nature is important as it gives us life we should try not to destroy it, thanks Greenpeace" Greenpeace worked with Lethlabile Community Radio to get the village behind the project. Through this, the project was dubbed Kgathollo ya Solar (seTswana for Solar Kickoff). The radio station will be one of the many radio stations throughout the country that will be covering the world cup from next Friday’s kick off all the way through to final whistle on Sunday July 11.
Entrance is free to this innovative solar public viewing area which will broadcast all the 2010 games.
After the event the solar panels will be given to the local school to be used to provide all its electricity needs.