Sedgefield, the Garden Route town situated between Knysna and George in the Western Cape, is Africa’s first Cittaslow or “Slow Town”, its founding member, André Gauché, said on Thursday.
Cittaslow, meaning literally “slow city” and inspired by the concept of “slow food”, was a worldwide membership organisation promoting quality of life and resisting fast-lane lifestyle, he said.
It originated in Italy in 1999 and represented nearly 100 towns across the world.
“Abiding by a list of values aimed at improving quality of life, registered Cittaslow towns celebrate diversity of cultures and promote the specialities of their own people and surroundings,” Gauché said in a statement.
“Slow Towns look after their people, their visitors and the environment. Supported by its highest municipal representatives … Slow Town residents make a commitment to continually strive towards the kind of improvement that benefits its community and environment.”
A Cittaslow town’s population was not allowed to exceed 50 000.
Sedgefield’s population was expected to settle at about 15 000, Gauché said.
There were 50 goals and principles that a town had to adhere to in order to qualify to be a Cittaslow.
Some of the qualities that motivated Sedgefield’s Slow Town accreditation included its successful farmers’ and craft markets, strong adventure and outdoor tourism identity, and several community upliftment programmes, he said.
Gauché said Sedgefield would be the headquarters of the slow town movement in Africa and would be the “go-to town” for others wanting to join this worldwide cultural trend and membership organisation. — Sapa