Walvis offers more than fish
Although Walvis Bay ended fifth in the recent “Dorp van die Jaar” competition hosted by South African newspaper Rapport and KykNet programme, Kwêla, a considerable amount of marketing exposure has been gained and valuable lessons learnt during the process.
“Seeing that Walvis Bay was the last town to be announced as a regional winner, we had only one week to put our campaign into operation. Given the circumstances therefore, we did rather well to manage more than 47,000 votes” said Gert Kruger, Manager: Economic Development at the Municipality of Walvis Bay. His division played an important role in mobilising Namibians to vote for their representative. In contrast, the winner, Sabie, was the first town to be announced regional winner of Mpumalanga and therefore had a lot more time to prepare.
According to the Mayor, Councillor Derek Klazen, the competition played a big role in bringing the diverse community of Walvis Bay together. “Such opportunities should be cherished as they do not happen very often,” said Klazen.
Kruger added that the amount of exposure Walvis Bay had enjoyed on KykNet (Kwêla) and in Rapport would be difficult to express in monetary terms, but it could be in the region of N$500,000 or even more as some people have suggested. On whether Walvis Bay had a realistic chance of winning, Kruger said he never had any doubt “if only there were more time to mobilise the local community and Namibians in general, and to garner support among South Africans”.
On the whole, he was satisfied that valuable lessons had been learnt from the experience and should a similar chance ever present itself again, “we would know what to do in order to win”.
In conclusion, the mayor expressed his gratitude to everyone in Walvis Bay and elsewhere for their support during the competition and congratulated Sabie on their grand prize.