Gallery Update Video
GEORGE NEWS & VIDEO - Sallywood City, South Africa's own version of Hollywood, is to be developed right here on our doorstep. It is envisioned that this new 'mini city' with its eventual 100 000 residents will be a huge drawcard for filmmakers from across the world.
The sod-turning for the project on the land east of the N2 opposite the Garden Route Mall took place on Monday with a number of the Chinese developers in attendance.
The group has bought the 437 hectares, which was originally earmarked for the Destiny Africa mega development. Sallywood City will have the film industry as a main theme in a precinct abutting the N2 where massive film studios and related facilities will be located.
Its introduction took place just about 10 years after Destiny Africa's launch in 2009, during a major world recession. It never got off the ground. Destiny Africa was the concept of a local group, KPMC, whose members also attended the Sallywood City launch.
Fred Brown, original project coordinator, stuck to the project and has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to find investors. He said this second unveiling of the development marks "the final stretch that divides theory and practice".
The new proposal is based on the same vision the partners in the KPMC group had of creating a smart city in George with a conference centre bigger than any other in the country. "It was incredibly difficult to keep the development rights on the land alive up until now.
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"The rights lapse in June. At the moment we plan to develop the creative arts and film industry as a priority, which will include the commercial, residential, business, conferencing and educational precincts," said Brown.
UN agenda 2063 in practice
Philip Molefe, chairman of the Film Foundation of South Africa, said the project will transform George into a global powerhouse. "More than 100 000 people are going to live and work in this complex and more than 50 000 direct jobs are going to be created.
"More than anything else, this project is the first practical manifestation of agenda 2063 of the African Union. This project represents the Africa we want, wherein skills and jobs will be created."
He said the old name, Destiny Africa, should not be discarded, because the project represents "the destiny of Africa".
The Chinese delegation conveyed their commitment. The new investor group includes William Wu, a Chinese businessman who has been living in South Africa for 26 years.
One of the developers, Jimmy Wong, expressed the wish that his home city, Tongguan, can develop a friendship city relationship with George so that the residents of the two cities can get to know one another.
George Mayor Melvin Naik said, "When I became mayor in 2016 this development was the one thing that I wanted to see become a reality. The message got through to our administration that, if anything comes from this side [the proposed development], all that you do [is] you give your support to this.
"We fast-tracked on the inside, because we know what this can mean for us a city, a region, as a country and globally. This is going to transform the whole of the city and the whole region."
He said the development will make huge inroads to alleviate unemployment.
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