Collaborating for kindness in the Cape Winelands | Western Cape Education Department
Collaborating for kindness in the Cape Winelands

Collaborating for kindness in the Cape Winelands 

13 December 2022

Role-players in the Cape Winelands are making kindness their mission, launching various activities just after the recent celebration of World Kindness Day on13 November 2022.

The Western Cape Government Departments of Education, Health and Social Development in the Cape Winelands District, as well as the Cape Winelands District Municipality are encouraging staff and their clients to actively show kindness towards each other. During a meeting between these role-players, Education mentioned previous initiatives they launched to help learners readjust to school, after the many disruptions that came with the COVID-19 pandemic. They also wanted to raise awareness of the importance of mental health with their initiative. “We saw that learners (and adults!) had to ‘relearn’ how to engage with each other. We started with an anti-bullying campaign and integrated it with one focusing on being kind to one another,” said Sura Swart, Acting Head: Learner Support in the Cape Winelands Education Department. 

This sparked the idea for this group to collectively drive a Be Kind Campaign, focusing on ways to be kind to yourself, others, the environment, and people you meet in passing. Besides a social media campaign running on the Cape Winelands District Municipality’s Facebook page, Health has challenged its staff members to identify ways they can show kindness. “This time of the year many people feel tired, and we must be intentional to make a positive contribution. Kindness benefits everyone,” says Handri Liebenberg, the Director for Western Cape Government Health in the Cape Winelands District. “We are very excited to hear what our staff is taking on. Some of our teams are going for brisk walks during breaktimes. In Stellenbosch, staff are sponsoring benches for use in one of the gardens at the facility, and staff plan to remove a dead tree and replace it.”

“Acts of kindness play an important role in your mental health, says Clinical Psychologist, Leilanie Phillips-Losch. “Performing an act of kindness lights up the brain’s pleasure and reward system. It releases feel good hormones, which calms us and stimulates positive feelings,” she says. 

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The Western Cape Government Departments of Education, Health and Social Development in the Cape Winelands District, as well as the Cape Winelands District Municipality would like to encourage members of the community to actively participate. Here are some examples:
Be kind to yourself: 

  • Make sure you speak to yourself in a kind, loving way. 
  • Identify phrases that you can repeat to yourself on a regular basis, for example: I am caring. I do my best. I am worthy of love.
  • Drink your medication as prescribed.
  • Ask for help if you feel down, stressed, or anxious.

Be kind to others: 

  • Show kindness by attentively listening when someone is speaking. 
  • Surprise your neighbour with a plate of food! 
  • When you see someone is having a difficult time, offer to listen or help with a task.
  • Leave a ‘Thank You’ note on a colleague’s desk.
  • Introduce yourself to a new learner/student/colleague.

Be kind to the environment: 

  • When you are out for a picnic or braai, avoid lighting a fire in areas where it is prohibited. 
  • Throw cigarette butts, nappies and other waste in bins. 
  • Think of clever ways to reuse items, or to recycle it. 

Be kind to people you meet: 

  • Compliment a stranger on their friendliness. 
  • Smile to the person you meet in the shop. 
  • Make eye contact with others to acknowledge them. 
  • Offer someone your place in the queue. 

“In celebration of World Kindness Day, I hope that each citizen of our beautiful district will take the time to be kind to themselves and their loved ones, our environment, neighbours, and strangers too. Being kind to one another is the easiest way of building a positive society and thus an environment in which we can all prosper- after all, we can only rise by being kind to others,” says Ald (Dr) Elna Von Schlicht, Executive Mayor of the Cape Winelands District Municipality.

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