Botrivier is a small community just over an hour from Cape Town. Once a year this usually quiet and quaint town is transformed into a hive of activity as FNB Wines2Whales brings the gees to the area. As a multi-day stage race the areas and communities that the race passes by are as important to its success as the riders and the route itself. Every year people from these communities come together to make the stages extra special for our participants through their support. The FNB Wines2Whales Community Project is an opportunity for us to give back to the people of the Botrivier Community who have been such a massive part of the event's success over the years.
Like so many towns across South Africa, the quiet facade of Botrivier hides many issues. Poor service delivery, high unemployment and societal problems are as prevalent here as they are around the rest of the country. During the heavy storms and flooding of September 2023 in the Western Cape, the town was heavily impacted, with infrastructure being destroyed across the valley. Botrivier has been an essential part of the FNB Wines2Whales event for many years, and with this in mind we wanted to see what we could do to assist the people of Botrivier beyond just boosting their economy for a couple of weeks a year.
The Whale Project
The Community Project was conceived by FNB Wines2Whales and CIOVITA working together with Botrivier community members. The project aimed to use the resources of both organizations as well as the skills of the community to create a tangible product that could help raise funds and provide a financial boost for the people in the area.
At CIOVITA we manufacture all our kit in our own high tech facilities in Cape Town, as part of any clothing manufacturing process, fabric off-cuts are unavoidable. This inspired us to think, what if we could use these offcuts to create something new? We approached FNB Wines2Whales who threw their support behind the initiative. Working together with members of the community we identified a few groups who could assist with the project Knitter Knatter, a local knitting group, Groeneweide Senior Service Center and Lucky Point Recycling Center.
Working together with these wonderful community groups we designed three products which could be produced entirely by them, and then marketed and sold through our platforms. The proceeds from sales are given directly back to the community.
Meet the Whales
Together with these groups, we have created three whale designs. A crochet baby whale, knitted whale and a fabric whale. The whales are filled with fabric off-cuts from CIOVITA and entirely manufactured by the Botrivier communities. One of the standout points of these whales is that, because they are hand-made, each one is unique. Did you know that the Southern Right Whale has unique markings from whale to whale, in the same way each whale is uniquely decorated by the craftsperson who created it.
Baby Crochet Whale
One words sums this little whale keyring memento up... adorable. The perfect little keepsake to attach to your keyring or your kit bag to remember being a part of this awesome initiative.
Big Knitted Whale
This plushy version of the whale makes a great toy for a younger family member. Each one is created by hand by the women at Knitter Knatter. The barnacles on the whale have been added by hand so each one is unique.
Large Fabric Whale
The final whale we have available is the fabric whale, which is hand sewn by the women in the community. Once again each whale features a unique barnacle design with no two being exactly alike.
The Future of the Whale Community Project
As with any project of this kind, we are hoping that small beginnings can turn into something much bigger and more sustainable. It is our hope that we can grow the project in the coming years providing income for community members, while giving back to the greater Botrivier Community. The Whales will be available for purchase in limited numbers at FNB Wines2Whales registration and on-event at the Official Merchandise Store, any that remain will be available through the CIOVITA Website after the event. With your support we hope to create an ongoing collaboration that will grow in the years to come.