Saturday, June 6, 2009


After a disastrous start to a planned trip to Sweden for the HIV/AIDS programme due to many different factors too complicated to mention here (although I plan to put the process down for history) I am thrilled to say that we had an unforgettably excellent trip.

Our planned trip was thus delayed by 2 days, but thanks to Tormod, Ted Lindquist, Ingeborg and others we finally left SA at 18h55 on Thursday evening arriving in Sweden at Kalmar Airport late on Friday evening where we were met by Ingeborg. To our surprise Bo Helstrom was on the same flight as us from Stockholm to Kalmar and so we fondly greeted each other before departing for Oskarshamn.

From Kalmar we traveled to Oskarshamn where we met Laila and Kirsten and were treated to a wonderful supper prepared by Laila with such thought and kindness - a long chat, updating us on the programme ahead and then back home to sleep and refresh for the next days events after a long but eventful journey to Sweden.

Ingeborg had once again secured the most beautiful spot in Oskarshamn (to our point of view) at the Shalom mission house on the banks of the Baltic sea with uninterrupted sea views and a clear view of the Blå Jungfrun - "The Blue Maiden" Island in the distance.

Ingeborg and Kaj collected us early on Saturday morning to travel to Figeholm where we boarded the Sea Rescue Vessel for an invigorating trip through the idyllic archipelago. We passed many small uninhabited and inhabited islands and after a few hours we stopped for tea in amongst the small islands anchored off shore. An experience none of us will forget.

I think this was one of the highlights of the trip as we do not have an archipelago in South Africa and would have to travel and pay thousands to be able to experience this if we had not been offered this wonderful experience. We had excellent tour guides both in the pilots as well as Ingeborg and Kaj who themselves are experienced sea farers with good historical knowledge to add to our learning experience.

After the trip we traveled back to Oskarshamn where we visited Kaj & Ingeborg’s home just a few blocks away from our accommodation where we were treated to a lovely Pizza Lunch, After lunch we were dropped off in town to do some shopping and to meet Ulf Ljunggren who took us to the Shalom Boutique. Here we again experienced the wonderful hospitality of our host country, we were all given the equivalent of 300SEK worth of purchases free to take home with us.

Ulf took time to explain to us about the programme he is involved in called “Shalom Fålt” working amongst youth in the city especially at night when they are out having fun in on Hamngaten late at night after the pubs and clubs have closed. The programme uses youth just like the LoveLIFe groundBREAKER programme and in fact Ulf referrers to his assistants as groundBREAKERs too.

After our shopping spree in Oskarshamn and then at Shalom Boutique Ulf took us for a tour of the Shalom Sailing boat used in the youth programme as well as an income generator for the project. Ulf then returned us to our home on the Baltic Sea where we quickly freshened up for a party held in our honour at Kaj and Ingeborg’s home as mentioned earlier just a few blocks away from the Shalom mission home. We took a brisk stroll to the Nilsson home to arrive in time for our 7 pm function.

It was wonderful to meet with old friends and make new. We were thrilled to meet our fellow SA delegates in the Time Travel Programme – Gulshera, Prenesen, Sizwe and Joe who had traveled to Oskarshamn to attend a special function on Monday 11th May at the Oskarshamn Kommun where our South African Oskarshamn Ambassador would address the council on the programmes conducted by the Twinning process between OSAK and PS Twinning Association
I think this is another highlight, the tour of the yacht and especially for our young groundBREAKERS that had a wonderful time choosing gifts for their families.

On Saturday evening after the party the groundBREAKERS left earlier than Christa and myself to accompany Ulf on the groundBREAKER work they are doing on Hamngarten. Ulf returned the gBs to our accommodation at 11:30pm and collected Christa an me and took us along to Hamngarten to see how they work too. Christa left at around 1am and I stayed on until 3am with Ulf walking amongst the youth and talking to them on what they were doing and their experiences. This was a very interesting experience and one I feel that we could take as a project in South Africa with our drug and alcohol abuse problems as I see that they are doing an excellent job.

On Sunday morning we met Carl Blom and the other delegation together with Kaj for an historic stroll around the town. We learnt that Oskarshamn was founded in 1856. It became a centre of boat construction and trade early on; and that shipping and shipbuilding have characterized the town over the years. Today Oskarshamn is the hub for the municipality’s 26,300 inhabitants and a significant industrial town with thriving shipping still ongoing. There was a large Ferry currently moored in the harbour being used as a floating hotel for staff working on the refurbishment of the Nuclear Power Station at Figeholm. We past the oldest and longest wooden “sofa” in the world. This bench, “Långa soffan”, was built in 1867 and is 72 metres long. This is where the fishermen’s wives used to wait for their husbands to return from the sea. We were given many other interesting landmarks to look at and then strolled along the narrow cobbled streets of Besväret and Fynket, the town’s oldest district. Enjoy the flourishing gardens and well-preserved 19th century wooden buildings.

Here again is something I think we as South African’s can learn from. We need to preserve our heritage such as old buildings – in Tin Town we have some shanty shacks and they have such a history that we should preserve some of these making sure that we do not lose this history no matter how sad it is.

After our stroll through the village we then traveled some miles out of town to Stensjö by - "The Village of Stensjö" It was like stepping back in time as if life had stood still for the 100 years or more in this beautiful and tranquil village so well preserved. We were treated to a true Swedish country picnic and the food and fellowship was so invigorating. We walked through the museum barns and along the walking path round the village and back to the cars with so much new insight into the lives of people back in the days when small villages were self sufficient – making their own bread and milk and all the other items necessary to sustain the families of the village.

Once back at the cars we traveled along the beautifully kept roads to a small home which Ritva and Ingva had converted into an art gallery called Gallery Pelargonia where we once again were treated to a lovely Fika – strong coffee, tea, coldrinks and a marvelous assortment of cakes and eats. We viewed the gallery and were then handed a surprise donation of two beautiful paintings – one by Ritva and one by Ingva for the South African delegations.

We then traveled back home to freshen up and go for supper at Karen’s Liljesand’s home where we met her lovely family. Once again the food was marvelous and the company and fellowship was outstanding. We learnt so much from Karen and spoke about meeting Karen the following day at the Youth Clinic. After supper we went back to Ingeborg’s home to send some emails and follow up on the programme for the next few days and discuss our trip home.

Monday dawned bright and sunny and we awoke to another exciting day packed with interesting activities. We were met by Gunilla Brorson and taken to her school where we addressed three classes studying early childhood. It was very interesting for our groundBREAKERs to see the students not wearing school uniforms, teachers addressed by their first names and not Miss or Sir etc, Well equipped classes with computers and music equipment that we could only dream of in South Africa in our schools. The groundBREAKERs addressed the students on the groundBREAKER programme and the issues around HIV and AIDs and Christa and I added information from our own experiences. The youth in Sweden are very withdrawn when it comes to talking to us and so we only had some responses from one or two students in the classes we addressed but after a bit of coaxing they started to ask more and we were able to engage in more in depth discussions. At the school we were treated to a school lunch the same as all the students ate and this too was an eye opener for the groundBREAKERs as we in SA do not have even basic food such as bread and butter let alone such a marvelous meal as we had at the Oscarsgymnasiet.

Kaj fetched us at 1pm and we went into town to do visit the Art Gallery in Oskarshamn, the Maritime Museum, and the Döderhultar Museum and at 2:30pm we walked to the Youth Clinic where we met with Karen Liljesand who gave us an in depth discussion on the work carried out at the clinic, what youth are experiencing in Oskarshamn, how teenage pregnancy and HIV is affecting students in Sweden and general sexuality issues that they deal with at the clinic.

This too was interesting for us as South Africans to see as we do not have the opportunity as youth to make an appointment to see a nursing sister who will deal with our problems and provide birth control on such an intimate level. Our queues are long and our numbers great so time is not available to give such meaningful assistance that the youth feel they can come and discuss many problems openly. The clinic treats the youth as young adults and this too gives more freedom to talk openly. We need to look at a better approach in SA to deal with these delicate but vital issues affecting our youth.

We then walked back to town where we were collected by Kaj who took us home to freshen up for our visit to the council meeting of Oskarshamn where we were honoured guests and thereafter taken to supper at a hotel in the town with the Mayor, Municipal Manager, politicians and other high profile delegates of the council and municipality. Here we were addressed by Gulshera Khan our Oskarshamn Ambassador in Port Shepstone. It was interesting to hear the work we as Port Shepstone Twinning have achieved over the past 14 years and what an impact it has had on our communities through the twinning process. The HIV/AIDS programme was also mentioned and the wonderful achievements that it has had over the years of its existence from 2003 to date.

It was wonderful to be able to mix with people from different walks of life, especially the politicians and to discuss issues of common interest in an informal setting. For the groundBREAKERs this was another first time experience.

In the morning we were collected by a colleague of Roger and Ulf and taken to the Social Department where we addressed the Social Workers and Family Planning Clinic Nursing Sisters and Midwifes. The Teams were very interested in the work we are doing in HIV/AIDs and in Social Work as a whole and we were also informed of the programmes and interventions of the social system in their departments.

Again we found this to be highly sophisticated in comparison to SA and would love to be able to replicate this in our own systems but without the income from taxes that we hear are levied on Swedes, and with our high unemployment and millions of people in need of support we will unfortunately not realise this level of service.

We were then taken to see a drop in crèche where children together with their parents are able to accompany them to play and interact under the supervision of trained crèche teachers. We then drove to 2 schools where we toured the facilities to see what the schools offer the students in the different age groups and educational courses offered. The students and the team again address the students and teachers and met the school nurse and enjoyed a lunch at the school.

The recycling services and systems in place that we saw and experienced in the council, the community and in peoples homes is impressive and it would be one of the things that I feel would be of great benefit to SA if we could replicate this in some way. Starting small would be a start.
The experiences and fellowship and the cultural differences will be a highlight for us all and we are most grateful to the funders for making this a possibility. An opportunity of a life time for us in South Africa. Those experiences that we see could be a possibility in our own country will definitely inspire us to endeavour to make a difference and try and achieve within the realms of our personal and organisational capabilities.
Thank you.
Compiled by: Lynne Footit - PS Twinning Association Chairperson and past Co-ordinator of the HCM HIV/AIDS groundBREAKER programme.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Feb 2009 - Ingeborg Nilsson ( HIV and Aids) and Rebecca Thidell delegation

Katharina Stark and Ronja Malachowska, Laila Forsmark from OSAK and Oskarshamn who was here with the Time Travel Project, and Rebecca Thidell, (on the far right)drug and crime prevention coordinator in Oskarshamn who came with Ingeborg Nilsson who has been involved with the HIV & Aids project between Oskarshamn Municipality and Hibiscus Coast Municipality for many years.

Photo taken at Time Travel delegation evaluation and farewell function by Pauline, the day that Katharina and Ronja arrived. Both will be helping at Emseni Children's home.They were very happy to be here and were delightful. Rebecca and Ingeborg had a full programme.

SPORT PROJECT - 14 - 21 APRIL 2009

Tormod and co arrived on Tuesday 14 April and left on 21 April. (Jay on the extreme right was also here as part of Rotary from Hawaii. He was exposed by Pauline to many communities and will concentrate on adopting a project /community for aid.)

I took them to Gamalakhe on Thursday 16, after we had visited eSayidi FETC head office in PS to introduce them to the vice rector, Casper de Koker, and Tilana. Dr Nzimande was not there.

Before going to the college in Gamalakhe, we went to visit Rev Dr KEM Mgojo. We went to his study where Tormod sketched the background of the twinning and the sports project. Dr Mgojo spoke of Sweden's kindness to him in the apartheid days and his involvement every year with
the Global School Journey delegates.

At the college, we met the campus manager, Mrs NE Mbhele and members of staff. Tormod, Carina and Alexander were very impressed with the Training Hotel and the other facilities on the campus. Pauline.

In addition, Tormod, Carina and Alex were taken to Ixopo and Umzinto by Sipho Kuzyawo to be exposed to soccer fields and a soccer match. Carina is a principal but is also a soccer coach . Alex is also a soccer coach, working with the youth in Oskarshamn. He lives in Stockholm.They had an intense programme and future planning is dependent on funding. g.k

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fleeting visit to Soderhamn. May 4 to 6 2009.(an addition to our trip - Time Travel training as the key objective))

Delegation: Gulshera, Sizwe, Joe and Prenesen

Arrival at Arlanda Airport - 4 May 2009

We made our way down to the subway, and cold conditions greeted us. Confirmed our tickets and destination with other passengers. Getting our 7 bags onto the train was a mammoth task. Gulshera could not carry her bags as her right hand was injured..Found out on the train that we will not be going directly to Soderhamn because of railway repairs. Jumped off and made our way to a bus at Ajevela that finally got us to our destination, Soderhamn.

Here we were welcomed by Thomas and Tomas. They took us to our hotel (Soderhamn restaurant and hotel). We then freshened and hastened off to a welcome by the Mayor of Sodenhamn and other politicians and officials. A powerpoint presentation was delivered. Presented a token of appreciation was given to the major on behalf of UGU District Municipality.

We were made to feel very important and were invited to tea with the Mayor.In the evening we invited to supper at Thomas’s house, South East of Soderhamn, along the fjord bordering the Baltic Sea. We had supper amid picturesque surroundings in the company of previous Global School journey participants. On our return to the hotel, we were taken to see some important historic sites in the Soderhamn community.The time travel team settled down to prepare a report on events leading up to 4 May 2009, before going to bed that night

5 MAY 2009

We woke up and went for breakfast at 7am. We were picked up at 8:30am and taken to the CENTRE FOR FLEXIBLE LEARNING in Soderhamn. Thomas Norgren is the head of this centre.Presentation at CFLA centre for flexible learning. Giving people a second chance to improve on their education.Caters for 2 areas, upper secondary, which precedes university. And the other is adult learning in various fields.It comprises 1200 students, 2000 commissioned students (funded by companies) and 55-60 staff. Thomas is the head.Met will health care students.

Many refugees are studying at the centre. The majority are Somalians. They are given an opportunity to further their education, so that they work in the country. They go through the process of learning Swedish, which is compulsory. The Swedish lessons move from beginner to advanced, so that these refugees and immigrants can fit into the Swedish community.Saw the video conference room. They conducted lectures by video feed. Students can sit in on lectures being conducted at university, 100’s of kilometers away.

Meeting with two students at CENTRE FOR FLEXIBLE LEARNING who are presently involved in an outreach project and has chosen Port Shepstone due to our twinning relationship. They are presently busy raising funds and interested in supporting vulnerable children and women

Exchange of gifts - Appreciation for arranging our programme and cementing future co-operation.
Next School: Norrtullskolan. Students aged between 6 and 16. 2 students- Jonna Birgersson and Cassandra Baglien were the guides. They practiced their English as they guided us through this beautiful school.

The school was recently expanded and a new building was built to accommodate the school population.
Meeting with Education Leadership at Soderhamn.Met with the Head of Education for Child and Education. We were invited to a board meeting. We discussed education from both countries. Interesting facts were shared and we could not keep to time because the was so much to say. Gulshera discussed the SA / Sweden relationship , including projects such as Global School and Time Travel. Our educators did very well in all the deliberations on education.

Supper at Tomas Hartikainen’s home. Met his family and some people we have been to our rural areas as part of the Global School Journey. We discussed everything from sport to education, plane trips to living in a rural area.


The days were intense, exhausting and informative. It was surprising that they knew so much about our country, especially our rural areas. They are humble irrespective of what position they hold in society. We were very impressed in the treatment of refugees. Their technology, especially in distance education is amazing. We viewed the video conference room and it was all new to us.Very healthy eating. They were also interested in the political affairs of our country. As we just had an election, there was much they wanted to know.The buildings are well preserved.

Joe: “The education model is a revelation”

May 6
We were fetched by Catherina at 8.45. Packed early and a full programme until departure at 2pm at the bus stop.A full morning programme at Staffangymnasiet Soderhamn, where Tomas is the principal and Catherine, one of the educators.Morning session, we made presentation on South Africa with grades 11 - Catherina's class. Divided in 4 small groups. There were many questions on our climate, to history, economy, culture and lifestyle. Students were very good and interested.

Gulshera contacted Enyenyezi Technical college and linked them to two school programme in Soderhamn. an agreement with Brian Dube of Ugu.
The travel with such a load- 7 suitcases, and with hand luggage needed careful co-ordination, team work and strength-- claiming up and down stairs. in and out of bus,train, flight,hotel rooms, in cars,, unpacking and packing. All in all it is an experience and helps with team work and caring for each other.

Catherine and Cecelia were previous GSJ participants and have been linked to Johnny Rajoo. of Enyenyesi Technical School as this was best suited in terms of the need and age of students.
PSTA is supportive of Ugu and Soderhamn twinning partnership. It is a promotion of our town, about learning and sharing, showing solidarity in areas of democracy, exchange of ideas, development and most importantly about uniting us. Sincere appreciation to Thomas, Tomas, Erick, Catherine, Cecelia and Mayor Eve of Soderhamn, not forgetting the student and many others. We were humbled by this wonderful gesture and by your hospitality.

N.B : Please visit web page of the respective schools for further information on our visit


Ingeborg Nillson visited Port Shepstone immediately after our delegation to Oskarshamn had returned. She held meetings with Toffie at HCM and other important role players on the HIV and Aids Ground Breakers project. PSTA will be informed of further planning and continuation.


Nontokozo Mpofana and S`mangele Mkhung, Lynne Footit, and Christa Nightingale,

An invitation to visit Sweden is always such a privilege, and this time even more so that in 2002.This visit was to benefit, support and sustain the HIV/AIDS project initiated by Ingeborg Nilsson in 2002,which includes participation of the Oskasshamn Municipality and funding from SIDA. On a more personal note, A project which forms part of my daily activities within the DO H and HCM municipality.

We eventually arrived in Oskarshamn afteR a two day delay due to logistical problems and crisis upon crisis with our passports and visas. This can and will be explained and put on black and white for any future delegation that will have the opportunity to represent the Twinning in Oskarshamn.

We had a very busy time to try to catch up and to honor some of the planned activities in the program. Our first two days were filled very quickly by old and new friends and colleagues that wanted to see us and as per tradition, the Swedes had the need to feed us, spoil us and show us the beauty of Oskarshamn and the surrounding areas in spring time.

We were taken straight from the airport to Laila Forsmark for an Italian dinner and early Saturday morning , with the compliments of Kay, for a trip in a sea rescue craft on the Balkan sea. Thereafter discussions with Ingeborg, shopping at Shalom, visiting the Shalom yacht, a big dinner party at Ingeborg that brought together our group with the TT group. A great delight! Myself and Lynne hit the streets to observe Ulf at work at about 11pm. His relationship and contact with the youth was apparent and good work is done in support of the youth through the Shalom ministries.

Sunday special! An early morning walk through town, Carl Bloom as our knowledgeable guide, followed by a picnic at Stensjo, where old friend re-united, hugs , tears and special moments all around! Coffee with Rivka, another meeting with Ingeborg and dinner at Karen Liljestad.

Monday, serious work. Visit to Oskarshamn Gymnasium,met Gunilla Brorson. The GB and I addressed three groups on young people on HIV/AIDS followed by a library visit, Duderholts museum, Youth clinic and a 6pm attendance at the Council Meeting where Gulshera did her presentation. This was followed by a formal dinner with counselors, members of the Twinning and the SA delegations.

Tuesday, HIV/AIDS meeting with social workers and youth leaders at the family clinic. We visit Rodsle school, Lynne departs for Spain and we meet Laila at Valhalla school to do more HIV/AIDS information sharing to three student groups . We meet Tormod to discuss the sport project and linkage to other projects. Before dinner we meet with about 30 youth attached to the Shalom ministry end our stay on a very high and rewarding note. Dinner with Ingeborg and discussions on the project, the program, personal impressions, suggestions and the way forward.

Wednesday, leave early for Kalmar and the rest of the long journey home. We were safely in PS late afternoon 14 May 2009.
The combination of magical Sweden and Twinning friends is unique. Being valued and appreciated as an individual with a special contribution to make and the acknowledgements of your attributes and special skills. Is a great and liberating feeling . Nothing can match this special Twinning affection that we have nurtured and hold dear and appreciate.Commitment and support of projects is of paramount importance.A deep appreciation of the Swedish logistics, order, structure, time, transport, crime free situation , no fences, government responsibility and support, free schools, free medical, no school uniforms,infrastructure maintenance, law and order.
Way forward:
Regular contact with Toffie. Contact with GB at monthly meetings at HCM.GB link with Dept of Health school teams for referral and support of learners. Visit with teams to schools to observe GB in action and support. Encourage and facilitate GB extension of activities over weekends and during school holidays. Possible connection of GB to Sport Project

Friday, April 3, 2009


SA popular destination for Swedes

Wednesday, 18 February 2009
South Africa is a highly rated travel destination among Swedes, according to the 2009 Global Travel Awards, held in Stockholm earlier this month.

The prestigious awards ceremony is hosted annually by Travel News, an independent monthly tourism magazine for Scandinavian travellers. The panel of judges includes editors of the magazine as well as senior officials of the Swedish travel trade.This year’s awards took place at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm.The judges gave South Africa an overall point score of 5.09 out of a possible 6 points. Thailand, with a point score of 5.18, won the “Best Country” award.South Africa was placed ahead of six other destinations in this category - the USA, Italy,Spain, Greece, Turkey and Egypt.

Friday, March 13, 2009


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14 -21 September 2008:
Front left to right:
Sibongiseni Dlamini ( official), Kobus van Vuuren(councillor) and Vela Mazibuko ( official)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Deputy President Baleka Mbete to hold bilateral discussions with Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Maud Olofsson
11 January 2009

Pretoria – Deputy President Baleka Mbete will tomorrow, Monday 12 January 2009, hold bilateral political, trade and economic discussions with the Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, Maud Olofsson, at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Deputy President Mbete will participate in the meeting within the context of South Africa’s commitment to strengthening its bilateral relations with Sweden by amongst others consolidating the outcomes of the 2007 Bi-National Commission (BNC).

The meeting on Monday will also seek to achieve Swedish support of the African Agenda and to promote economic relations, with special emphasis on investment.

Deputy Prime Minister Olofsson, who has been in South Africa on a private holiday in Gauteng and the Western Cape, requested the meeting with Deputy President Mbete to establish contact as they are the co-chairs of the South African–Swedish BNC.

Sweden will also take over the rotating Presidency of the European Union (EU) in July 2009 when the Czech Republic’s term ends.

Bilateral Relations

South Africa and Sweden share close relations dating back centuries, and Sweden and other Nordic countries provided crucial support to the anti-apartheid struggle.

In this regard an immense amount of development cooperation funding was channelled to the liberation movements and support was given in many different forms, including taking in many exiles.

Since 1994 the development cooperation was given on a government-to-government basis with far over a billion rand being allocated over the past fourteen years, covering a range of support to central government, provincial and local authorities as well as NGOs.

The Swedish government has made it a priority commitment to build up a partnership with South Africa as part of the Swedish Government’s Africa policy. Sweden has also indicated that it will be transforming its development cooperation relations with South Africa, with a greater emphasis in future on a partnership with South Africa in joint trilateral projects regionally in Africa.

The South Africa-Sweden BNC was established in 2000 and has since met in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007. The next meeting has been postponed to early 2010 due to Sweden’s Presidency of the EU in the latter half of 2009.

Bilateral Trade

The trade balance between South Africa and Sweden continues to be heavily in Sweden’s favour. The main trade sectors, both in imports and exports, include manufactured goods, machinery, automotive and transport goods, mining equipment and chemicals & fuel products.

South African exports to Sweden have increased from R1 046 906 000 in 2000 to R2 720 555 705 between January and September 2008, while imports from Sweden increased from R2 902 935 000 in 2000 to R10 126 040 425 between January and September 2008.

Monday, January 12, 2009

2006 groundBREAKER delegation to Sweden - Visiting Orland

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It was such an honour to be invited to attend a youth camp as a youth delegation to Sweden during their 150th anniversary celebrations.

Two of our groundBREAKERS Andile Cimela and Phumlile Zondi in the Hibiscus Coast Municipality HIV/AIDS programme plus two additional Youth Leaders, Mzi Ndwalane and Londi Ngubane together with Lynne Footit the Co-ordinator of the Hibiscus Coast Municipality/Ziphakamise/Oskarshamn groundBREAKER programme traveled to Sweden where they were treated like royalty. Given opportunities such as;

· a first aeroplane trip for the 4 youth delegates;

· sailing on a yacht on the Baltic Sea courtesy of Kaj and Ingeborg Nilsson;

· a memorable trip on two exceptionally fast inflatable ski boats traveling at high speed across the Baltic Sea;

· a wonderful picnic lunch laid out on one of the thousands of magnificent rock islands in the Baltic Sea;

· a Pleasure boat ride around the islands off the coast of Paskalavik courtesy of the Kommun and Stefan Windt;

· a three day youth camp in the beautiful tranquil ancient village of Bråbo in Bråbygden where we met and made friends with youth from Finland, Denmark and Sweden;

· team building in Kristadala;

· a Music concert in Hultsfred;

· a media and political debate with politicians from each of the 6 twin town countries. The debate took place at the famous Nuclear Power Plant near Oskarshamn ;

· a visit and lunch at a Pig Farm at Döderhult courtesy of the Kommun;

· a tour of Kalmar and Öland by our tour guide Bo Helstrom, Maria and Ritva, where we visited ancient old ruins dating back millions of years, where fossils were ingrained in the rock formation under our feet and

· lunch at a local country club

· a visit to a remarkable art display all in glass

· a welcome and farewell party at the home of Ingeborg and Kaj Nilsson where we met OSAK twinning members and municipal officials

· a wonderful home on the Baltic Sea where we could walk late at night along the sea edge in perfect safety.

· On our return the 4 youth delegates traveled via Cape Town where they were assisted by Bill Sewel – a consultant for ABF and OSAK, to board a pleasure boat at the delegates own expense for a memorable trip to Robbin Island to see the prison – home to Nelson Mandela for 27 year. And then a very long 25 hour drive home via the garden route on a Greyhound bus to see some of our own beautiful countryside before alighting from the bus – weary but very excited travelers with so much to tell their families; friends and colleagues.

As the co-ordinator of the trip I was invited to attend many of the 150th Anniversary celebrations with the mayoral parties to Friedericksburg Manor House special dinner and the welcome party at the Kommun Centre in Oskarshamn.

To the organizers of the trip, the youth camp organizers and the twinning committee we as delegates wish to extend our sincere appreciation for the wonderful opportunity afforded each one of us… a memorable occasion we will hold dear.

To Ingeborg - who has long been wanting the groundBREAKERS to experience a trip to Sweden – who took time off her holiday to ensure that our trip ran smoothly and that we were well looked after during our stay. For the wonderful accommodation she found us – our home on the Baltic Sea was a dream - thank you for your commitment to the twinning process.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Soderhamn Delegation - 2008

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Highlight of Programme:

Official signing of memorandum of agreement between these two municipalities.(SWEDEN AND SOUTH AFRICA MUNICIPALITIES)
Welcome and dinner at Speaker's ( Ravi Pillay) residence.
Rural area exposure - Pauline.
Zulu Dance demonstration by Thomas.
Meeting with PSTA.

PSTA is supportive of this initiative & will follow developments.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Soderhamn Delegation in November 2008 ( Sweden)

Pleased that the objective of this delegation was accomplished. The signing of the memorandum of understanding between Soderhamn & Ugu District municipalities was well received. Twinning is glad to have assisted.
We look forward to many interesting projects .
Thomas, Thomas, Eva ( mayor) and Gunnar