The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. We are past masters at complaining and yet will be resistant to making the changes that could result in the solutions we seek. We moan about being lonely or bored and one of the biggest complaints I hear about small town living is that there is “nothing to do”. That’s true if you never venture outside your home, never take notice of the various advertising banners on street corners or posters around town, never visit community Facebook pages to check and see what’s happening, never connect. Then after the event has been and gone you hear the moan “oh I wish I had known that was on, I would have loved to have attended” which is incredibly frustrating for organizers who are trying their hardest to advertise their events for maximum reach.
Actually there is a lot going on here, if you take the time and effort to find out. Free Park Runs every Saturday morning, at least 2 monthly markets and regular live shows. Gin festivals, Innibos, concerts in the botanical gardens, cooking demonstrations, business breakfasts with interesting speakers. We have hiking clubs, garden clubs, sports clubs, art classes, wildlife society, yoga studios, dance studios and much more. We are blessed to be surrounded by some beautiful spots in nature you can visit for free.
This past weekend we had the THIRD, yes, you read that right, the third Lowveld Book Festival at Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre. A feast of literary talks, interviews and panel discussions with a variety of authors from across South Africa, this Festival goes from strength to strength. But yet last year, after months of extensive advertising across various platforms, a tenant of the Centre arrived on the Saturday morning and asked “what’s going on?” when she noticed the packed parking area and all the activity. She had no idea there was a Book Festival taking place! Coming up very soon is the open air cinema night at Casterbridge and the Cinema also hosts regular Ladies Night Out and films for charity fundraisers. At the end of this month is a fantastic Women 360 Expo at the Riverside Mall. Actually we are spoilt for choice!
If your belief is ‘nothing ever happens in small towns’ then of course that’s exactly what you will create. If you sit at home, never venturing out, how will you ever have new experiences? Meet new people?
My window on White River and the Lowveld is very different- it’s actually the opposite.
The Lowveld is packed with interesting things to do; the trick is to find the time to get to experience them!
What does seem to be lacking however is an effective advertising medium that gets the word out about upcoming events. You would think that in a small town it would be easy to advertise but apparently not. Initiatives like We Are White River, Show Me Nelspruit and the new Lowveld Live go some way to filling that gap, but again, it’s up to the individual to seek out the information. Download the apps, check their pages, get proactive. Stop doing the same thing and expecting different results!
So maybe, try something different. Explore, connect, communicate with your community. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results. You may even have some fun and discover your own whole new window on White River and beyond.