A few years ago I first stumbled on the idea of the everyday man investing in a production for Tim Greene’s movie Boy called Twist set in the Western Cape. This was in 2004 and the sophisticated term “crowdfunding was not used then. For R1000 (about €100) you could have your name credited as an associate producer. It’s not your ordinary donation as it has a reward and I thought cool, even I could do that!
I was also excited because I saw an opportunity for the public to vote for the content they would like to see at their local cinema. Not to simply accept the international exports that we are fed. Above all, it symbolized the strength of the community for contributing in something that we believe in. Something tangible, with feedback on results that’s often more reliable than our questionable X that we mark every four years.
I was equally impressed last year by my friend Rosie Motene and her crew for crowdfunding the movie Man on Ground, a high quality production that raises awareness around xenophobia.
But the story of crowdfunding is not limited to the movies. People have crowdfunded for surgical operations, building a house, inventions, you name it! At the heart of it is people contributing to changing the status quo of something that they are passionate about. This is what I call active citizenship.
What differentiates it from charity for me is the fact that these projects will have longer viability beyond the contribution or the once-off need would have been met and hey, you may even get a reward!
As an entrepreneur working in the space of building resilient and cohesive communities, this is a clear signal on where local (and international) energy resides. Money may be one form of energy, but people generally spend where their priority lies. You will then know how viable or relevant your offering is right now.
So perhaps this is the new way of financing our collective dreams; each one giving a little and culminating into momentous possibility.
See Hub Johanneburg’s website for more information on crowdfunding and keep an eye out for the campaign soon to be launched to relocate the community.