Community Exchange News

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


  1. News: SANE Talent Shop
  2. Report: New Economics for Social Change
  3. Admin: Monthly statements
  4. New groups: One more New Zealand exchange and one US exchange joins the CES
  5. The Abusers List: Avoid selling to these people!
  6. Statistics: Growth of the CES
  7. CTTE Group statistics: January 2006
  8. Web Site: New features
  9. Tip: How to take advantage of the extended CES 'market'
  10. Theory: The Commoditisation of Life
  11. Administration: CTTE Local Area Co-ordinators

Unsubscribing: How to get off this list?

If you would like to unsubscribe from the Community Exchange News mailing list don't write to the Admin and ask to be removed. You are in a position to determine what you receive and for how long you do or don't receive anything. Simply access your account and click on the [My Record] button at the top. In your personal profile you can tick which publications you don't want to receive.

Back issues

If you would like to read back issues of Community Exchange News, they are all on the web site at

The Talent Exchange — where your wealth is your talent

1. News: SANE Talent Shop

The first Talent Shop opened in October last year and has proved to be a useful way to sell goods. Selling goods on the Talent Exchange can sometimes be a frustrating experience as buyers often expect delivery, they don't show up when they say they will or you have to get home at a particular time in order to make the sale. Now you can take your goods to the Talent Shop and have it sell them for you. All you have to do is take your goods there between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. They will take your details and mark the items with your asking price. You can either leave your goods there and hope someone buys them, or you can advertise them on the site to ensure that others know that they are being offered for sale.

Please make use of the Talent Shop. If you have anything to sell, whether it be books, clothing, artifacts, whatever; bring them to the Talent Shop. But please, the Talent Shop is not a dumping ground for all your old junk that you feel bad about tipping, and probably no one wants.

We are hoping to open more Talent Shops this year to make it even more convenient for you. The SANE Talent Shop is at 1 Haven House, 2 Mains Avenue, Kenilworth, Tel: 021 762 5933

2. Report: New Economics for Social Change

In the last issue of Community Exchange News we announced that SANE had embarked on a project to take the CES to disadvantaged communities. So far the CES has been introduced to three such communities, with more planned for 2006. The three communities are Masiphumelele (near Fish Hoek/Kommetjie), Harare (in Khyelitsha) and Delft. The New Economics for Social Change course was taken to Delft in early February, culminating in a market day on 11 February.

To ensure that the Talent Exchange keeps growing in these areas, co-ordinators are being trained and computers will be installed. The plan is to establish a Talent Exchange 'branch office' and a Talent Shop in each area. In addition local projects such as greening, cleaning, tree planting and community gardens are planned for these areas.

3. Admin: Monthly statements

Every month, after we have sent out the statements for the previous month, we get emails from members who have spotted an error in their statements. Usually these errors are caused by a seller debiting the wrong person. Sellers sometimes get the account numbers of their buyers wrong because the buyer her or himself has given the wrong details (usually by mistake) or the writing on a trading sheet is so bad the account number is indecipherable.

If you spot an error in your statement, don't write to the administrator asking for the error to be corrected.If the error was made within ten days of the statement, the seller is able to correct or delete it. If the error is less than 30 days old then you can contact the administrator to have the error corrected. If the error is older than 30 days there is nothing the seller or the administrator can do about it. The only action you can take, if you have been incorrectly debited, is to 'refund' yourself by crediting yourself for the amount of the incorrect debit against the seller who made the error. For example, if seller SANE8765 debited you incorrectly for T100 and this shows on your statement as a purchase, credit yourself for T100 with SANE8765 as they buyer. This will return you to your original position before the error was made.

4. New groups: One more New Zealand exchange and one US exchange join the CES

One more New Zealand LETS group has joined the CES, bringing the total in that country to 12. This time it is the Invercargill Barter Exchange System (IBES). The second new exchange is the Nighthawk Exchange in Louisville, Boulder, Colorado, USA. We welcome these new groups to the CES and hope there will be many more this year.

5. The Abusers List. Avoid selling to these people!

  Account # Name Sales Income Purchases Expenditure Levy Balance
1 SANE0991 Oliver Calligan 1 50.00 13 29421.00 1130.00 -30501.00
2 SANE0692 Albert Nel 32 10355.00 179 25070.20 1417.01 -16132.21
3 SANE0481 Leroy Al Kata 52 29270.00 167 40482.50 2617.70 -13830.20
4 SANE0919 Bernhard Grabbe 90 1564.00 27 13146.00 588.40 -12170.40
5 SANE0334 Johann Lamprecht 11 660.00 2 12012.00 19.68 -11371.68
6 SANE0465 Collen Mkwanazi 0 0.00 6 9220.00 368.80 -9588.80
7 SANE0488 Zuna Visser 1 100.00 5 9350.00 324.00 -9574.00
8 SANE0783 Magdalene Loots 107 5221.00 138 13901.89 764.92 -9445.81
9 SANE0541 Fantasy Project, The 1 500.00 11 9186.00 387.44 -9073.44
10 SANE0285 Adam Suzman 59 7840.00 161 15566.90 666.65 -8393.55

This month and every month from now on we are going to publish a list of the worst abusers of the Talent Exchange. Put plain and simply, these are people who take (a lot) more than they give. What they are doing amounts to theft, for the way you 'pay' for what you receive in the Talent Exchange is by doing things for or selling things to others.

We show here only the ten worst abusers; there are plenty more if you care to look for yourself.

We urge you not to sell to these people, or with any others heavily in debit. Although it makes no apparent difference to you as a seller, people such as the above create 'inflation' in the Talent Exchange by not giving back an equivalent amount to what they take. In other words, there are too many Talents chasing too few goods and services.

It is up to you how you interpret the debit balance of a particular person. In the case of our worst abuser it is clear that this person thinks he is onto a good thing and is shamelessly abusing the system. He doesn't even have any offerings. Others come from disadvantaged backgrounds and have real needs, coupled with offerings that are not very attractive to other Talent Exchangers. Some even have more sales than purchases, which indicates that they are trying. Perhaps they made one or two major purchases to get into debit.

To prevent serious abuse we are going to introduce a debit limit system that will be based on how much you are 'earning' to clear the debit. The problem, however, is that in the Talent Exchange it is the seller who enters the trading information, and it would be wrong to punish a seller, who has made a sale in good faith, by preventing him/her from entering a trade because the buyer has exceeded his/her limit.

6. Statistics: Growth of the CTTE

There are now (18 February 2006) 4,301 members of the Community Exchange System (including the international groups). There are 33 separate groups. The Cape Town Talent Exchange is the largest with 1,563 members. The following table shows the growth of the Cape Town Talent Exchange:

Year Members Trades Ave/Day Talents Ave (T)
2002 10        
2003 365 1112 3 132589.10 119.23
2004 576 4780 13 596726.24 117.97
2005 562 5073 14 892362.68 164.05
2006 53 687 14 124164.98 168.59
Total 1566 11652 11 1745843.00 149.83

* As at 18 February 2006
** The total of members here (1566) does not correspond with the actual total of (1563) because there is a difference of three after some members have asked to be removed from the CTTE and some empty accounts have been 'recycled'.

Trade in 2005 was up 49.5% on 2004 in terms of Talents traded, though only 6% up in terms of the number of trades. This is reflected in the increase of the average trade from T117.97 to T164.05.

7. CTTE Group statistics: January 2006

The total value traded during January decreased from the December figure. A definite pattern in trading seems to be emerging as we enter our fourth year of the Cape Town Talent Exchange. Each year seems to start off with weak trading and then declines during the winter months. As spring comes around trading picks up until the end of the year.

At the end of January 2006:

Trader Statistics:

Total members: 1535 Total traders: 902
% of members who have traded: 58.76 % of members who have not traded: 41.24
Total sellers: 544 Seller/buyer ratio: 0.66
% of members who have sold: 35.44 % of traders who have sold: 60.31
# of sellers who have bought 469 # of sellers who have not bought: 75
Total buyers: 827 Buyer/seller ratio: 1.52
% of members who have bought: 53.88 % of traders who have bought: 91.69
# of buyers who have sold: 469 # of buyers who have not sold: 358
Trading Statistics
Total # of sales: 11181 Total # of purchases: 11181
Total income: 1695203.40 Total expenditure: 1695203.40
Income/expenditure less levies: 1597269.76 Overall balance: 0.00
Treasury Statistics
Total revenue: 97933.64 Transferred to Admin: 92955.64
# of levy payments: 8452 Current Treasury balance: 4978.00

Member statistics:

Individuals: 1283
Families: 65
Companies: 92
Organisations: 58
Virtuals: 32
Public: 4
Administrators: 1
Total: 1535

Trading statistics:

Month-Year Trades Talents Average Levy Total (- levy) Total (+ levy)
February 2003 3 295.00 98.33 0.00 295.00 295.00
March 2003 8 394.00 49.25 0.00 689.00 689.00
April 2003 9 1768.00 196.44 0.00 2457.00 2457.00
May 2003 21 2802.02 133.43 0.00 5259.02 5259.02
June 2003 80 6091.82 76.15 0.00 11350.84 11350.84
July 2003 113 10493.65 92.86 0.00 21844.49 21844.49
August 2003 194 19949.01 102.83 0.00 41793.50 41793.50
September 2003 263 26404.88 100.40 0.00 68198.38 68198.38
October 2003 179 35284.47 197.12 0.00 103482.85 103482.85
November 2003 151 18504.75 122.55 0.00 121987.60 121987.60
December 2003 91 10601.50 116.50 0.00 132589.10 132589.10
January 2004 316 26223.62 82.99 0.00 158812.72 158812.72
February 2004 269 27392.60 101.83 0.00 186205.32 186205.32
March 2004 633 37249.23 58.85 0.00 223454.55 223454.55
April 2004 204 15041.29 73.73 0.00 238495.84 238495.84
May 2004 464 40575.73 84.34 1443.84 277627.73 279071.57
June 2004 149 29748.50 184.87 2203.60 305172.63 308820.07
July 2004 98 42439.85 404.09 2839.16 344773.32 351259.92
August 2004 184 42674.52 215.70 2984.96 384462.88 393934.44
September 2004 522 58561.65 104.30 4116.94 438907.59 452496.09
October 2004 638 85618.02 124.75 6025.96 518499.65 538114.11
November 2004 705 100041.54 132.03 6962.18 611579.01 638155.65
December 2004 598 91159.69 141.99 6248.20 696490.50 729315.34
January 2005 422 65470.98 144.75 4386.88 757574.60 794786.32
February 2005 178 53361.10 279.40 3627.72 807307.98 848147.42
March 2005 352 51718.68 136.81 3561.50 855465.16 899866.10
April 2005 224 79730.01 336.71 4306.04 930889.13 979596.11
May 2005 528 73327.24 129.19 5113.26 999103.11 1052923.35
June 2005 412 68473.10 155.06 4587.88 1062988.33 1121396.45
July 2005 599 91153.86 141.46 6419.32 1147722.87 1212550.31
August 2005 386 72543.66 175.24 4899.62 1215366.91 1285093.97
September 2005 285 80994.41 264.41 5636.44 1290724.88 1366088.38
October 2005 619 80567.31 121.19 5552.12 1365740.07 1446655.69
November 2005 524 83440.12 148.23 5769.24 1443410.95 1530095.81
December 2005 544 91582.21 156.83 6267.42 1528725.74 1621678.02
January 2005 217 73696.02 316.60 4994.00 1597427.76 1695374.04
Total: 11182 T1695374.04 T151.62 T97946.28    
Excluding levy: T1597427.76 T142.86  

8. Web Site: New features

Viewing latest offerings of other exchange groups

There is a new option that shows you the latest offerings added to the CES by members worldwide. Log in and then click the [Offerings] button. That takes you to the 'Goods and Services Categories' page. Click on 'Latest Offerings (all groups)' on the second green row and you will see the latest offerings added by users from other exchanges. While many of these will not be meaningful to you, some will have relevance. The CES 'market' is expanding by the day as more exchanges are started and become active.

9. Tip: How to take advantage of the extended CES 'market'

You are probably aware by now that the CES consists of a number of exchange groups, both in South Africa and abroad. As this is the case the 'market' for your goods and services is global. Obviously this is true only if you have offerings that make sense across the miles, such as editing, proof reading, graphic design, web site creation, programming, distance healing and the like. There are goods too that you could 'export' such as seeds, artifacts, books etc.

Next time you are advertising an offering that has relevance for remote buyers, advertise it in remote groups as well. It is very easy to do this, requiring just one additional step.

Log in to your account and then click on the [Offerings] button at the top. Then click on the [Add Offering] button. This will bring up the 'Add New Offering' form. Before filling in any details, click on the 'Add to Group' drop-down box and select the exchange group to which you want to add your offering. After that fill in your offering details in the normal way and submit the form by clicking on the [Add Offering] button.

It is pretty much the same adding your wants to remote groups. If you have an obscure want, such as a long out-of-print book, why not try advertising it on remote exchanges.

10. Theory: The Commoditisation of Life

Have you noticed how different it is 'doing business' in the Talent Exchange to doing it in the conventional economy. Every time you trade with someone you make a new friend. People treat you as a real human being. They offer you a cup of tea and take the time to chat. Rory Short, the Johannesburg Talent Exchange administrator, explains why the conventional marketplace is such a soulless place.

What is commoditisation?

Collins English Dictionaries pride themselves on being fully current and up to date. My Collins dictionary was published in 1979. It does not contain an entry for commoditisation. Thus I would guess that it is a word that has only gained currency in recent years. My dictionary does have an entry for commodity however.

It defines a commodity as 1. an article of commerce; 2. something of use, advantage or profit; 3. an exchangeable unit of economic wealth such as a consumers' article, producers' article, primary product or service; 4. a quantity of goods.

From this definition I think we can deduce that commoditisation quite simply means the turning of something which previously was not regarded as being of any commercial value into something that is now regarded as being of commercial value.

One would think that, turning something that was previously regarded as having little or no commercial value into something that now has some commercial value must surely be regarded as a good thing, yet we often find the word commoditisation applied to something in a pejorative way. Why should this be?

I think the word is used pejoratively when commoditisation actually reduces the quality of our life experience rather than enhancing it. I think supermarkets provide a good example of this happening. This particular example came into my mind during my morning meditation a few weeks ago.

When I was a child in the '40s and '50s supermarkets did not exist in South Africa and they most certainly did not exist in the small farming town where my parents did their weekly grocery shopping. Consequently grocery shopping was not only a commercial activity but also a social one where my parents would exchange personal, local and other news with the grocer whilst making their purchases. Social exchanges were almost inevitable under these circumstances; individualised social lubrication permeated the whole purchasing activity.

Such social lubrication is not part of the supermarket shopping experience. Certainly unless one has a complaint, and not necessarily then either, one does not ever need to interact with the proprietor or even the staff. You do not even need to speak to the cashier at the checkout because the money owing for the purchase is clearly displayed on the till.

How has this total destruction of the social aspect of the shopping experience come about?

On the one hand when supermarkets were first being promoted consumers were told that their gain from them would be that they, the consumers, would able to search the supermarket shelves themselves and personally select the items that they wanted from those on offer. In addition because the supermarket's staff complement could be reduced the price of goods would be less. All no doubt true, but nobody said that the price for this monetary gain, for shopper and shop owner, would be paid in reduced social contact for the shopper.

In essence what supermarkets enable is the commoditisation of the previously naturally occurring social aspect of shopping, followed by its removal from the shopping process with a concomitant reduction in the price of the goods sold and an increase in monetary profits for the shop owner.

Now this removal, although socially serious in itself, would not matter too much if it was the only place where it was occurring but it isn't. Wherever it appears that the introduction of the supermarket shopping model will lead to reduced costs and therefore to increase monetary profits for the shop owners it is introduced as the shopping model of choice. The combined effect of these changes across the market place has been a serious reduction in the, previously naturally occurring, social interactions of consumers with suppliers, inevitably leading to an increase in social isolation and thus to a sense of alienation from society.

Thus we all, consumers and suppliers alike, have chosen, probably unconsciously, monetary gain in preference to social interaction. In the bigger scheme of things we have sold our human inheritance for a mess of pottage and we will continue to do so whilst we value the accumulation of money above everything else.

This article first appeared in the SA Quaker Newsletter.

11. Administration: CTTE Local Area Co-ordinators

The following is the current list of CTTE Local Area Co-ordinators or 'branches' of the Cape Town Talent Exchange. If you have a problem accessing your account, do not have regular access to a computer or just hate the internet, then contact your nearest co-ordinator who will help you interface with the Talent Exchange. Co-ordinators will provide you with everything you need to participate, as well as enter your trades for you. We hope to 'recruit' co-ordinators in the sub-areas not listed below. If you would like to assist please write to the Administrator at the address at the bottom of this Newsletter.

# A/C # Name Sub-Area Suburb Tel (h) Tel (w) Cell E-mail
1 SANE0222 Marco Bezzoli Atlantic Green Point 021 447 8675 082 957 8819 marco.arch{at}
2 SANE0043 Raymond Mcinga Cape Flats Mitchells Plain 073 630 1403 raymond{at}
3 SANE0349 Iain Macdonald City Bowl Gardens 021 462 6755 021 461 8880 072 327 2840 iain-intuition{at}
4 SANE0635 Lara Pietersen City Bowl Woodstock 082 726 6957 lara{at}
5 SANE0554 Occulus City Bowl Woodstock 082 900 7993 021 426 2707 082 900 7993 occulus{at}
6 SANE0564 James Baxendale Constantiaberg Constantia 021 794 4264 021 794 4264 082 903 3975 Bax1a{at}
7 SANE0435 Dawn Pilatowicz Constantiaberg Marina da Gama 021 788 8357 021 788 1528 083 226 8250 dawn{at}
8 SANE0966 Aubrey Dampies Delft Delft 021 954 1613 084 251 1835 adampies{at}
9 SANE0485 Liza Johnson Durbanville Durbanville 072 234 9595 vrcptadm{at}
10 SANE0448 Jeremy & Jacqui Wakeford Hout Bay Hout Bay 021 790 8558 021 650 2982 083 414 7393 jwakeford{at}
11 SANE0436 Sakhekile Dyantyi Masiphumelele Masiphumelele 084 960 7572  
12 SANE0146 Angie Whitehead Northern Suburbs Parow 021 939 0467 021 937 1940 072 242 4334 angie.whitehead{at}
13 SANE1025 Connections Philippi Connections Philippi 021 371 3018 021 371 2909 info{at}
14 SANE0009 Karen Jordi South Peninsula Glencairn to Noordhoek 072 387 5661 jordik{at}
15 SANE0292 Elfi Tomlinson South Peninsula Kalk Bay 021 788 7842 021 788 7842 083 703 3878 elfitom{at}
16 SANE0127 Debbie Bub South Peninsula Kommetjie 021 785 4664 deb-bub{at}
17 SANE0010 Beau Horgan South Peninsula Noordhoek 021 789 2494 021 789 2494 beau{at}
18 SANE0098 Heidi-Jayne Hawkins South Peninsula Welcome Glen 021 650 2442 084 951 5535 hhawkins{at}
19 SANE0045 SANE Southern Suburbs Kenilworth 021 762 5933 sane{at}
20 SANE0046 Vicky Richter Southern Suburbs Kenwyn 021 761 2256 021 797 3660 073 168 4748 vicky{at}
21 SANE0035 Unwembi Southern Suburbs Newlands 021 683 4515 083 354 9374 ces{at}
22 SANE0022 Len Stern Southern Suburbs Rondebosch 021 689 4239 lenstern{at}
23 SANE0002 Tim Jenkin Southern Suburbs Rosebank 021 685 4741 021 683 4515 083 354 9374 tim{at}
24 SANE0534 Kim Fourie Tableview Ysterplaat 021 510 5261 021 534 0460 083 993 4580 kim.fourie{at}


Talent Exchange User Guide

  • Do you wish you knew how to update and delete your offerings and wants?
  • Do you wish you knew how to delete an incorrect transaction that you have entered?
  • Do you wish you knew how to...?

All the answers are available right from your account on the CES web site.

Download the Talent Exchange User Guide. To do so, access your account on the CES web site at or go directly to and download one of the printable versions of the User Guide. You can also view the HTML version on the screen. If you would like to purchase a paper version (for Talents) look under 'CES Services' in the Offerings List to see who you can get it from. Your local area co-ordinator should also be able to provide you with a copy.

SANE CES Administration
Email: ctte{at}

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