The quiet and relatively unknown Valley of Desolation located in Camdeboo region in the Karoo will soon be put on the map thanks to a giant South African flag made of plants and solar panels that will be visible from space, and will provide power to poor surrounding rural communities.
The Giant Flag is a proudly South African initiative by Guy Lieberman of FCB South Africa, a network of individually run and managed specialist agencies, which combines patriotism with socio-economic activism and aims to transform the Valley of Desolation’s high unemployment rate, boost tourism and provide sustainable green energy.
Each colour on the 66 hectare flag will be made up of:
- Red – barrel cacti plants
- Blue- blue dan succulent plants
- Green – spekboom plants
- Yellow – golden barrel cacti plants
- White – roadways where people will be able to walk
- Black – 6.6 hectares of solar panels capable of delivering four megawatts of electricity to 4 000 homes.
A crowdfunding campaign to raise R180 million to build the Giant Flag over the next two years is currently running on the project’s website and so far R6.8 million has been raised. The Giant Flag is projected to create around 700 jobs and will ultimately include a hotel, conference centre, food gardens and adventure tourism nearby, expanding the complete site to 100 hectares.
A number of stakeholders have come on board to including the SABC, which will air 52 weekly two-minute episodes about its progress, Google, which contributed permanent monthly advertising grant worth R100 000 and hosts its website, the Department of Tourism, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, and the Development Bank of South Africa, among others.
The Giant Flag will also contribute to harvesting water and raising funds for education and micro-loans and skills development for the community.
“The solar plant will be the first large, commercial scale solar field in the world to harvest water. The energy it produces will be sold into South Africa’s national grid, and the money – with other profits from the Giant Flag project – will go into endowment and education funds. These will finance for the local community, as well as school upgrades and tertiary education bursaries,” writes Mary Alexander in Media Club South Africa.
Anyone can support the Giant Flag crowdfunding campaign by adopting a plant or solar panel on the flag from as little as R111 to R2 780.
“This is a global story,” says Lieberman in a promo video. “It’s beautiful for South Africa, but it will be symbolic in terms of what’s possible.”
Watch the Giant Flag promo video below: