It was an informal settlement which developed into a formal one. It’s began in 1993 when the municipality responded to a request by the local Rasta’s to allocate them their own area. As per the development plan happening in the area, the Rastas still had to apply individually for lots but they were accorded beside one another.
At first, there were only shacks and no fences. The Knysna municipality then gave title deeds and subsidized dwellings. This inspired pride in the Rastas. Over the years, rooms were built on, new dwellings erected, fences installed and gardens made. Through self-fundraising, they built a tabernacle (a church), an Educare Centre (creche), 2 B&B homestays, a holistic healing centre, an office, a food stall and a community hall. They also formed a band called The Reggae Ambassadors.
Youth workshops are held most Sundays. These impart Rastafari teachings, arts, crafts, music, black history, permaculture and various life skills. this also provides spiritual balance in their lives. Adults also partake in skill sharing. House band, The Reggae Ambassadors assistwith fundraising efforts.
There is a boom gate for security at the entrance to Judah Square. Stall holders who sell fruit, vegetables and arts and crafts take turns manning the gate voluntarily. Consequently, Judah Square is much safer than the surrounding area, having no violent crime (such as rape and murder) and very little theft. Parents take comfort in the knowledge that their children are safe while they play. It also serves as a convenience to visitors and tourists who are greeted warmly and directed where to go.
The majority of residents work in town, many with their own businesses. The vision is to grow tourism so that those businesses can operate sustainably within Judah Square itself. The goal is to rise together in One Love.
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