I’m Mike Hampton. My nickname is Wicked Mike.
I came to Knysna for a 3-day visit in 2009 – i never left:)
I realized that falling in love with the town’s beauty also meant committing to it with positive action.
The largest responsibility i’ve carried was as a liaison to 72 offices in South Africa which i visited monthly, passing on helpful info to offices in need, assessing complaints and catching stock thieves. Those trips extended to Namibia, Uganda, Egypt, Kenya, Swaziland and Lesotho. I sought a more meaningful and alternative life which garnered a decade’s experience in the rock ‘n roll music industry as an event organizer, band promoter, booking agent, DJ and CD compiler. It was a frustrating period because no hope and ambition could conquer the fact that local radio doesn’t support local music, and local bands are crushed by multi-million ad packages for overseas artists.
In Knysna, i initiated GRUM (Garden Route Ubuntu Music) project which sought to add the joy of music to the local community as well as train event organizers from disadvantaged backgrounds. With the assistance of Knysna Tourism, i held 2 successful Eventing Workshops and ran a meeting with leaders to discover what eventing challenges their communities faced as well as what they wanted and needed.
I’m 100% opposed to workshops that are BEE window dressing without practical usage. Consequently, when Knysna Tourism’s then CEO failed to keep his promise that the workshops would lead to using the best students in the field during events such as the Pick ‘n Pay Oyster Festival, i began asking questions about budgets and the then white-only Knysna Tourism Board.
When i was stonewalled by Tourism and the new DA, i launched The KEEP (or Knysna Keep as it’s come to be known) as a search for truth. Shaun van Eck has since left Knysna Tourism and, under Greg Vogt, the Knysna Tourism ensured a cover-up of their financial disaster in which they are complicit. This action includes the involvement of top people such as Minister Alan Winde and Premier Helen Zille.
Discovering one crime led to discovering many more. Trying to find justice soon became a full-time job for no pay.
Trips into the townships (i prefer the word “communities”) made me realize that i needed to work with a broader vision.
THE KEEP takes on tough challenges whilst Love Knysna! represents the beauty of the town. Knysna Website Design aims to get Knysna online through low cost yet professional looking websites. Love Knysna Projects is the closest to my heart. It seeks multi-cultural understanding and the growth of spirit in Knysna children. The goal is that these projects eventually unite into a single, non-profit charity.
One of the most dismaying facts about Knysna is those who complain loudly behind closed doors but then act totally untrue when in public. Worse is the amount of people who will compromise their morals in the hope that they will get money from Knysna Tourism or the Knysna Municipality somewhere down the line. Present action is far more important than hope that may never deliver.
Knysna is in a misnamed “recession” that will be with us for a long time. There is no recovery to life as we knew it. The property boom was a false market. We need to adjust to reality. We need to fill the many empty holiday homes that we have whilst seeking to attract new business. By “new”, i mean that which does not conflict with that which we already have. No more building of holiday home complexes. No more malls etc.
If you are brave enough and believe that you can make a contribution to The KEEP, please contact me. Lawyers and accountants would undoubtedly be handy down the line but a simple desire to help your community “altruistically” is all that it takes. You can assist with transporting kids, providing information, venues, prizes, encouraging discussion etc.