Community Exchange News

Community Exchange News is the Newsletter of the Cape Town Talent Exchange

In this issue:

  1. Board member profile: Steward Dawn Pilatowicz
  2. Giving back to the exchange
  3. Let’s brainstorm for a talent shop
  4. Adin gives his right arm
  5. Married on the exchange
  6. Market musings from a committed talent exchanger

The Talent Exchange — where your wealth is your talent

Board member profile: Steward Dawn Pilatowicz

What drives CTTE steward Dawn Pilatowicz? The vision that the Talent Exchange could take us all to utopia, if only every person on earth joined.

Talents are “heart money” while conventional currencies are “greed money”, she explains.

“The day that every person on earth is on the Talent Exchange, and we can scrap conventional currencies altogether – that is the day we will become a ‘gifting’ society, where we all do what we do best as humans, happily accepting that what we give, we’ll get back.

“Then, when we’re all doing what we enjoy, we’ll be in utopia.”

Dawn’s no idle dreamer. She spends 90% of her time on the exchange, and has earned over T280 000, and spent almost as much.

Her tip is to look on the wants column every day, and see what she can supply. And get to know people. “A lot of the trading I do is not offered. I just hear people say they need something, and say, ‘Oh, I’ll do that,’” she says. The beauty of it is that if you buy something you don’t like, you sell it on again. It’s constant recycling.

“The exchange has helped me find my niche in life, moving out of the corporate world – I own my own software company – and into community. I’ve discovered I’ve got a knack for networking, and bringing people together, that I never knew I had.

“My disability has forced me to make the exchange work for me. So I’ve created a wealth of people to help, whom I pay in talents. The exchange has empowered me, and it’s my dream to help others who are sitting on their own, wondering how they’ll manage. Everyone has a disability, as far as I’m concerned – they may be terribly shy, or be single parents struggling to cope, for example. I just wear mine on the outside.”

2. Giving back to the exchange

Has the exchange helped you? If you’ve got talent, or cash to spare, it might be time to give back. The CES software was developed in Cape Town and is used in countries around the world, among them Australia, Mexico, Italy, the United States, Spain, Ireland, Canada and Zimbabwe. Until now, a few dedicated Capetonians have used their own resources in developing this software but now a state-of-the-art server is needed to host all the countries that have joined. The CES also needs a development team to set up a Global Exchange platform with multiple, distributed servers to cater for the expansion around the world. The CES is fundraising for people to be paid either in the traditional currency, or the CES currency, to convert the software into an open-source format so that programmers all over the world can contribute to its development. “Please help us to get to our goal of a secure, open-source, global platform that will benefit all the exchanges already using the system, and those groups waiting to join the CES,” says Tim Jenkin, the current CES programmer. Log on to - we've added a DONATE button to the CES website, and to the Ning site.

3. Let’s brainstorm for a talent shop

Trader Willie Maasdorp of Kasselsvlei, in the northern suburbs, is very keen to start a talent shop and is mulling over how to begin. “It would be good to get together with other like-minded people and brainstorm the opportunity,” he says. Please contact him on if you would like to put your heads together. Two brains always come up with more ideas together than they would alone.

4. Adin gives his right arm

Talent exchange user Adin van Ryneveld is giving his right arm, quite literally, to live his dream. The former property broker and nightclub party manager is on a quest to “give away more money than any other South African ever did,” he says. He is aiming to raise R555 555 555 for charity in five years, without spending any money himself.

In recent weeks he has started tattooing the logos of his benefactors on his right arm to bring them, and his venture, publicity. “The more people know about what I’m trying to do, the more valuable space on my arm will become,” he says.

Van Ryneveld has worked as a life coach, property broker and nightclub entertainment manager. His talent exchange offerings include consciousness coaching, housesitting, and helping Facebook users get the most from the site. He lives with his parents and does extra chores to offset his food bill, gives motivational talks in exchange for a petrol allowance, and uses the exchange where possible.

His fundraising venture is taking off very slowly but he is convinced it will grow wings. “This project started during the credit crunch, and I was questioning the whole money system. I wondered, ‘Should I give away 50%? Or 80%?’ Then I thought, ‘Why not give it all?’ and got really excited,” he says.

Follow Adin on or email him on

5. Married on the exchange

They met on the exchange, and paid for their marriage counselling - and even part of their wedding ceremony – in talents. Mhairi Robson and Victoria Taylor met just over two years ago when “handywomyn” Mhairi helped Victoria and her mother with jobs around their Glenciarn house. When Victoria’s mother, Sheila, needed to go to hospital, Mhairi would drive them there. Victoria, an English teacher by profession, offers Spanish lessons and used to offer dog walking on the exchange. “We fell in love, and the rest is history,” she says. Mhairi now has a job in Cape Town and has no time to work on the exchange. “I can only do so much, but I miss the exchange,” she says. “It’s a wonderful way to feel useful. And it helped me meet a wonderful group of generous, kind, like-minded people.”

The above picture shows Victoria (far left), Chatelaine, a friend of the family, and Mhairi on their wedding day.

6. Market musings from a committed exchanger

When asked for feedback on CES markets, I wrote down some thoughts. This, however, was before the extremely successful outdoor markets at Oude Molen - more about these below.

  1. My biggest gripe of all - piles and piles of the most unbelievable junk on offer. Instead of hauling the contents of your attic to market, rather freecycle really tatty old stuff. There's stiff competition from many markets these days. If I do have a "mixed bag" of stuff, a better option is to offer a serious trader a "job lot" for low talents if they'll take everything in one swoop.
  2. I dislike being "charged" for goods only months after I've "purchased" them at a market - this throws out my balance.
  3. I once had the experience of a "locked" member (who had grossly abused the exchange) stealing all the nicest portable stuff from my table. He was so quick, there was nothing I could do. When I complained to the administrator, he said they couldn't prevent known crooked elements from coming to markets. I don't see why they can't be refused entry. Or at least, when they arrive, WARN folk that someone dodgy is on the prowl.
  4. Things I really like buying at markets: food (I have never forgotten home-made lemonade sweetened with stevia); plants, especially herbs, books (ones in good condition, not moth-eaten 1964 Plumbing Regulations); small craft items and accessories; small, high-quality household items; (good quality clothing (one of my fave "buys" was a cool cotton blouse from Daniela Kisten. I practically lived in it until I spilled soy sauce down the front).

So I had mixed feelings about CES markets until the wonderful summer outdoor markets at Oude Molen, outside John and Helen's house. Lots of delicious food and drink, music, massages, lovely items on offer, both new and second-hand. The first time I went, I came home with a pile of loot -- This also led to ongoing purchases of fresh garden veg from Helen's magnificent permaculture garden.

Helen Moffett

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