This truly has been a series of miracles. Late in July I came across Vodacom #Firsts online and was immediately captivated by the opportunity. It is an incredible competition, run in a number of countries, where you pitch your idea about something you want to do for the first time… and the winner gets to see their first become a reality. As a Joy Activist and Laughter Coach, my pitch, in essence, was to organise ‘My #First Laughter Mob’ and see the city of Joburg transformed into JOYburg, the City of Joy. After selecting the Finalists, online voting was opened and the public voted for their favourite #First. After a fierce battle, I was declared the winner in South Africa, and my #First was set in motion by Vodacom.
There is often adverse publicity about Johannesburg and many people have negative perceptions about the city, and recently it was named the unfriendliest city in the world! A few years ago I began to call it ‘JOYburg’ – declaring it the City of Joy. A friend and I registered the trademark, as well as that of ‘Calling out the Gold’. Joburg was built on gold and, some might say, greed and exploitation. The vision for JOYburg is a city transformed as we develop a culture of ‘calling out the gold’ in the beautiful people and the city. It took three years for the trademarks to be registered, JOYburg in May and ‘Calling out the Gold’ on Monday 10 November, the day the team flew out from the UK to JOYburg!
More significance, after we chose our wonderful venue for my #First, The Sheds @ 1Fox Street, we discovered that it was here that Hubert Davies opened mining warehouses in 1893 and where Joburg’s first miners pitched their tents during the gold rush. It was perfect to start another gold rush from this noteworthy location.