In three years, the Camdeboo region of the Karoo will be the sight of a world first - a giant South African flag that will be visible from space. As official vehicle partner, Toyota South Africa will be the driver behind The Giant Flag through the donation of various vehicles required for the build-up and sustainability of the project.
"Toyota is proud to be a sponsor of this project - the start of which co-indices with our Hilux Legend 45 launch, in the year that we celebrated 20 years of democracy in South Africa," says Dr Johan van Zyl, President and CEO of Toyota South Africa.
"We are a proudly South African company and this project was a natural fit for us. One of our values is to protect the environment and, as a company, to ensure our impact on the environment is as low as possible. However, our involvement is not only to encourage an environmental culture but also to support the local development that this project will provide," he says.
The Giant Flag will be a 66 hectare South African Flag, made up of two and a half million coloured succulents, with a 4 megawatt solar field incorporated into the flag. But the environmental impact of this project is not the only thing that makes it impressive - the benefits to the local community and economy are paramount. These include creating over 700 jobs for the construction and planting of the flag of which up to 60% will be women; upskilling and training of local residents which, off course, will have a direct impact on the community; and local tourism will benefit from the addition of a tourism attraction.
More permanent benefits also result from this project such as employment from Small Medium Enterprises (SME's) which will be created as a result of The Giant Flag. These include the development of a conference facility and a SME precinct within the Flag; under the apex of the black triangle (the solar field,) including green buildings and a large-scale water harvesting design within the rows of solar banks and various tourism activities including hot air ballooning and micro light sky tours.
The Giant Flag's main income will come from selling "pixels" which will create a virtual/digital footprint for the project. Each pixel costs $10 and will be available to the general public to purchase. Buyers will be able to view the growth of their pixel using Google maps.
"The important aspect of this project is the longevity and the far reaching benefits to the local community. Toyota has an opportunity to use its products and assets to assist in making this project a success. We would like to involve as many areas of our business as possible to ensure success," added Dr van Zyl.
As vehicle sponsor, Toyota will provide The Giant Flag team with vehicles consisting of Hilux and Fortuner amongst others for the duration of the project. The bulk of the vehicles will be used in the construction phase for several purposes including transporting succulents as well as transporting employees to and from work. Thereafter, two Prius units will be used as tour vehicles on the flag.
"We believe that The Giant Flag will re-ignite the national spirit and pride created by the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the celebration of 20 years of democracy. We hope that it will resonate with our employees, customers, South Africans and the rest of the world. We wish everyone involved success," concludes van Zyl.
To watch the video on the Giant Flag, click here: Giant Flag to mobilise job creation in Karoo