Scene 7: Village Day


During Apartheid, many coloured South Africans were forced to relocate. The Maitland Garden Village residents were different however; despite the government’s efforts, the villagers united and convinced them to let them to stay. To celebrate this event and the sustained special close-knit nature of MGV, every year the village comes together for Village Day. This year we had the pleasure of attending MGV’s 90th annual Village Day.

Cast of characters: MGV community members, Liz 

Key “take home” observations:

  • The people of MGV are very talented. Both children and adults put on spectacular musical performances while others sold great handmade jewelry and other crafts.
  • The majority of MGV community members are unaware of the Green Light Project. We will have to brainstorm ways in which to get the word out and to promote the organization so that more community members will get involved.
  • The volunteer work of one person can make a difference. Dixie’s sole dedication and hard work getting the children involved in music and dance proved to be very rewarding with a fantastic performance. If each of the nine committees had a committed leader like Dixie, the Green Light Project could be greatly improved.


Action and Observations:

Village Day could not have taken place on a more beautiful sunny day. When we got to MGV, we joined in the parade going up and down the streets of the village. People of all ages were participating in the parade, and there was a huge youth band that was constantly playing catchy music. Once the parade ended, everyone gathered in the soccer field to begin the festival. Tents were set up on the perimeter of the field selling food, jewelry, and other trinkets. There was a swing carousel, Ferris wheel, and other fun activities set up for small children. Children and adults were participating in a talent show, where they sang, danced, and beat boxed on stage.

To help out with the Green Light Project’s involvement in Village Day, our group made small posters for each of the nine committees. We also made twelve certificates for the eleven children and Dixie to thank them for participating in the Green Light Project music and dance programs and working so hard in their preparation to perform on Village Day. We bought three prizes for the first, second, and third place winners of the talent show as well.

Because this is only the second year the Green Light Project has been in action, Village Day was a critical event to get the word out about the organization. For the festival, the members of the Green Light Project purchased brand new green hats and shirts. Dressed in their new attire and holding a handmade banner, the members of the Green Light Project marched together in the parade.

During the celebration on the soccer field, Dixie and the group of eleven children all dressed up in Green Light Project shirts performed a song and a dance. Ronell and Sheila, along with a few other members, set up a tent on the side of the field that was supposed to serve exclusively as a place where community members could go to learn more about the organization as well as an opportunity where we could go to interview the members involved. However, we were disappointed when the tent was eventually used to sell clothes and we didn’t get to interview anyone.

Although we expected to get more project information out of Village Day, we didn’t leave empty handed. We met up with Liz, a young woman who works as part of the NGO Camp Sonshine ( at the primary school in MGV. Her program runs an after school enrichment program for children so that they don’t go home to empty houses and so they will be less apt to submit to drugs and destructive behavior. Activities for the kids include helping with homework, playing games, doing arts and crafts, and writing pen pal letters. When telling her about the Green Light Project, she mentioned that she had never heard of it, indicating that more marketing and exposing techniques need to be explored, possibly becoming an aspect of our project. In the future, Liz could be a great contact to get more youth involved in the Green Light Project and to provide guidance in possibly partnering with an NGO.

Village Day was overall an extremely fun and entertaining day where we got to witness the talent of MGV and meet many interesting community members. Many of us supported the local people by buying jewelry and art. Because of the kids’ performance and promotion of the Green Light Project, we hope that more people of MGV are aware of the organization and will want to participate.

Reflection and Learning:

Village Day really opened our eyes to the liveliness and immense talent of the MGV residents. Even though Village Day was a very entertaining experience and we met a few great local people, we came away with some disappointment. We expected to have a lot of fun but we also expected to have more opportunities to have Ronell introduce us to Green Light Project leaders and to interview them as well as members of other community organizations about what they do and inform them about our project. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do much interviewing because Ronell and Sheila were very busy with their families and other community members at the Green Light Project tent so they didn’t have time for introductions. In retrospect, we probably should’ve been more proactive in seeking out other community groups and introducing ourselves without our sponsors. One particular group that stood out was the Roaring Sixties, a senior citizen club whose members were wearing identical jackets.


Future plans:

  • Brainstorm various marketing and exposing strategies to boost awareness of the Green Light Project.
  • Schedule a meeting with Liz to learn more about Camp Sonshine and the possibility of getting more youth involved in the Green Light Project.



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