Oudtshoorn’s ReWOLusie gains national footprint

Oudtshoorn’s community initiative ReWOLusie is growing from strength to strength, with two exciting new additions to the project this year. In addition to the well-known local crochet and knitting project, ReWOLusie will be getting national traction this year thanks to a crochet-together campaign. ReWOLusie Once again one of the partners in philanthropist Carolyn Steyn's campaign 67 Blankets for Madiba, 67 Blankets for Madiba. The entire South Africa can now participate, promising more blankets than ever that will provide warmth to those in need during the coming winter months. 

“The Klein Karoo National Arts Festival is proud of its partnership with ReWOLusie as one of our flagship projects,” says Hugo Theart, artistic director of the KKNK. “And it is particularly exciting that the project will not only make a difference in Oudtshoorn, but will now also involve people nationally.”

According to Madeleine Miles, the founder and project leader of the ReWOLusie project, there are two ways to get involved in this crochet and knitting initiative this year. “Firstly, Oudtshoorn residents can, as in 2020, crochet or knit blankets that will be donated to the needy in the local community.”

Anyone can participate. Completed blankets can be delivered to the KKNK office at 217 Jan van Riebeeck Street, Oudtshoorn, from where they will be distributed to those in need. And if you don’t have enough wool, come and see what’s available at the KKNK office – a limited stock of wool is available thanks to donations from, among others, ABSA and the Oudtshoorn Business Chamber.

“Secondly, we are very excited that ReWOLusie is going national this year with the crochet-together initiative,” says Miles. 

Oudtshoorn resident Bets Wilkinson has designed a pattern for crochet enthusiasts across the country. From Monday 3 May, the KKNK will release a section of this blanket pattern and an instructional video every Monday for 13 weeks on the website (kknk.co.za, click on PROJECTS, then select ReWOLusie; also follow the KKNK on Facebook.com/KKNK).

“At the end of the 13 weeks, each participant will have a complete blanket,” says Wilkinson. Participants can donate their blankets to be auctioned at a charity auction on National Women’s Day (9 August 2021). All money raised will be used for women’s empowerment projects in Oudtshoorn.” 

You can either keep the blanket for yourself, or give it to someone as a gift. If you don’t want to, or can’t crochet or knit yourself, consider a donation of R1 800 – this money will be used to buy the necessary wool and other equipment for someone who can’t afford it but still wants to participate, with the idea that it will become your blanket once completed. Or, if you have unused wool, donate it – every ball of wool counts. 

If you’re keen to take part in this year’s ReWOLusie project, contact Daleen Witbooi on 044 203 8600, or send an email to info@kunste.org.za. For the national crochet-together initiative, registration is mandatory.

More about ReWOLusie

Crocheted items that decorated Oudtshoorn’s streets overnight were a pleasant surprise for festival goers at the 25th KKNK in 2019. Everything from trees to pillars, cars and other objects was adorned with the creative crochet and knitting handiwork of Oudtshoorn residents as part of this new community initiative. 

In 2020, Oudtshoorn was decorated once again, although the KKNK could not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals, businesses, schools, retirement homes and churches were involved in this community project. During the 10th kykNET Fiestas in 2020, ReWOLusie was awarded a special prize for innovation.

In the winter of 2020, this project distributed almost 2 000 blankets to organisations and the needy in and around Oudtshoorn, including Helen Bellinghanhof, Coronation Memorial, Eljada Aftercare, ACVV De Rust, Oudtshoorn Hospital, Toekomsrus Clinic and churches in the town. 

And thanks to Absa, the Oudtshoorn women involved in the 2020 project were featured in a coffee table book that showcased their inspiring stories, handiwork and patterns. “Absa’s partnership with the KKNK and the community through the ReWOLusie project empowers women and develops their skills through crochet and knitting,” says David Wingfield, Absa’s head of marketing. Order your copy of the book by emailing info@kknk.co.za, or call 044 203 8600.

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