Community Exchange News

Community Exchange News is the Newsletter of the Cape Town group of the SANE Community Exchange System


The Talent Exchange - where your wealth is your talent

Events: Talent Exchange Market Days

There have now been three Talent Exchange Market Days. The most recent was held at the Kalk Bay Community Centre on Saturday 13 March.

All three were a resounding success. The Kalk Bay market was the most successful to date. The market hall was packed with CES members and members of the public who came to see what it was all about. A large number of people applied to join, adding many new offerings to the list.

There will probably not be a Market Day in April as the month is complicated by many public holidays, the elections and school holidays. But in May we will be back, though a venue has not yet been chosen. If you would like to see a Market Day in your area, please contact us.

For many months last year the CES had a presence at the Observatory Holistic Lifestyle Fair on the first Sunday of every month. A number of traders at the market joined the CES and now sell their wares for Talents. So get along to the Obz Fair, seek out the 'talented' and give them your support.

Later this month the CES will have a presence at the Art of Living Festival where we hope to recruit a whole lot of new members.

Administration: Co-ordinators required!

As the CES grows so the task of administering becomes more complicated. The Cape Town CES is now seeking members to fill the following 'posts':

  1. A Financial Controller to keep tabs on the administration account: income and expenditure, preparation of budgets, reports to members, authorizing payments in Talents to co-ordinators and members for work done for the administration to ensure the efficient functioning of the system.
  2. Administration Co-ordinator to add new members to the system and liaise with new and potential members.
  3. Web-site Development Officer to co-ordinate work on the CES web site.
  4. Member Liaison Officer to promote good relationships between members, ensure that members understand how the system functions and that they are able to trade to their and other members' benefit.
  5. Cape Town sub-area Co-ordinators to facilitate the organisation of events within their sub-areas to promote trade; to promote meaningful relationships between members and ensure members' needs are being met.
  6. Constitution Designer to co-ordinate the writing of a constitution.
  7. Member Charter Developer to co-ordinate the writing of a membership agreement, guidelines, ground rules.
  8. Publicity Co-ordinators:
    (a) Promotion, Marketing and Outreach to the general public
    (b) Publicity Materials Developer. Developing materials, printing, storage and distributing of posters, flyers, membership booklets and educational material.
  9. Trading Events Co-ordinator. A person who will organise events which build community amongst members and encourage them to trade fully to their and others benefit, and keep a database of Talent Exchange members who trade at the different Craft Markets around Cape Town and are prepared to accept Talents from members at these markets. Such information to be made available to members.
  10. Trading Depot Co-ordinator. Someone who will promote the development of small local trading depots or shops in local communities. To keep members informed about such centres where notice boards could be kept and internet services provided for members who do not have access to computers.
  11. Local Area Co-ordinators who will act as 'branches' of the CES 'central bank'. They will enter trades of people without computers, provide printed copies of the Offerings, Wants and Membership List, and generally assist those who want to trade but who do not have computers.
  12. Social Events Co-ordinators. Each sub-area could organise social events to promote community. There could be braais, parties, dinners etc. Hanging off the CES could be various 'clubs': movie clubs, dinner clubs, walking/hiking clubs, book clubs, bridge clubs, discussion clubs, writing clubs etc.

If you would like to get involved with the overall CES administration or the running of the CES in your sub-area, please contact the Cape Town CES Administration by writing to ctte/at/ Let us know where your interests lie and how you would be able to help.

We are hoping that all 'posts' mentioned above will be remunerated, but at the present time the Adminstration's income is not sufficient for you to expect a 'salary'. We would hope that you would be prepared to provide some of your services voluntarily, but as the CES grows we will make every attempt to ensure that people are rewarded properly for their efforts.

So, here's your chance...!

News: New CES Groups

The McGregor Talent Exchange has finally got off the ground. A delegation of Cape Town Talent Exchangers travelled to McGregor on 7 March and delivered a presentation to a group of keen locals who are now signing themselves up. We are convinced that McGregor will be a successful CES group as the town has all the correct 'ingredients': a sophisticated, computer-enabled 'bo-dorp' and a computer-disabled 'onder-dorp'. Bringing both groups together to form a viable local 'economy' will be a challenge for us all.

Two new local groups have also started up in Somerset West (called "Helderberg", code HBRG) and Stellenbosch (code SBTE). The Helderberg group covers Somerset West, Strand and Gordon's Bay, while it is not certain yet what other areas Stellenbosch will incorporate. Both of these groups are currently being administered by the Helderberg administrator, until such time as a dedicated Stellenbosch administrator comes forward. The groups have already offered to hold a Market Day in that part of the world.

Shortly a new group will be starting up in East London. The potential administrator will be freed from other work shortly and begin the process of setting up the group.

Site statistics: Trading shoots ahead

Cape Town

February saw an increase in the amount traded over January, even though there were slightly fewer trades.

As this issue of Community Exchange News reaches you, the total amount traded has passed well beyond the T200,000 mark. Soon it will be a quarter of a million, and then...

The amount traded half way through this month is over T22,300!

However, as at the end of February 2004:

Sales 2003/2004:

Month Sales Talents Total
February3 295.00 295.00
March8 394.00 689.00
April9 1,768.00 2,457.00
May21 2,802.02 5,259.02
June80 6,091.82 11,350.84
July113 10,493.65 21,844.49
August194 19,949.01 41,793.50
September263 26,404.88 68,198.38
October179 35,284.47 103,482.85
November151 18,504.75 121,987.60
December91 10,601.50 132,589.10
January316 26,223.62 158,812.72
February269 27,392.60 186,205.32
Total1,697 186,205.32

Web Site: New Features

Remote trading has been made even simpler. We have done away with the need to trade with an intermediate 'virtual member' when trading outside your group. If you want to trade with someone outside the group you now trade directly with the person as if he or she were in your group. The 'virtual members' remain part of the system as they are required for remote trading, but they now have an almost invisible presence.

Entering your trades has now been made easier. Instead of just the drop-down list of members, it is now possible to enter the 4-digit account numbers of your buyers. The request for this arose out of the market situations where many people give just their first name and account number. As the drop-down list was arranged according to surname, it became a problem if no surname was supplied. Now you can choose between the drop-down list or entering the account number directly.

Tip: searching

Someone wrote to me today to ask if there are any lawyers on the CES. I thought this was a strange request as there are a number of people offering legal advice. However, when I did a search for 'lawyer' the search feature came up with nothing!

We have mentioned a number of times before, if you want people to find you then your offerings must be searchable. The Offerings List has now become very long, and even though offerings are broken down into categories, it is far easier to find what you are looking for by doing a search. But if your offerings do not contain the search words that people are likely to use, then you will not be found. So don't be surprised if no one contacts you if your offerings contain no search words relating to what you offer.

If you are a crafts person of some type then have keywords relating to the type of crafts that you provide. People are unlikely to search on global words such as 'crafts'; they are more likely to look for 'pottery' or 'candles' or 'ceramics', for example.

Describe your offering with as many different words as you can. This will ensure that you are found. If you are one of those unfindable lawyers then make sure your offering contains the words 'lawyer', 'legal', 'law', 'advice' etc. You can simply add these keywords at the bottom of your offering. That will ensure that you are found.

The future: Shops required

We are aware that one of the drawbacks of the CES is that it is often inconvenient. Those who are offering wonderful organic vegetables live miles away; those who provide the services I want live over the mountain.

One way to get around this inconvenience factor is to recruit local businesses. You may work in a shop, for example, that might be interested in stocking goods from Talent-enabled sellers, or that might sell goods for Talents. There are so many business services available on the CES that it would not be difficult to persuade a business that they could get something back for the Talents they might earn.

Think about it, and tell us if you know of a business that might be interested in becoming 'talented'.

SANE CES Administration
Email: ctte/at/

The SANE Community Exchange System is an intiative of the South African New Economics Network