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Posts from the ‘Sustainable Livelihoods (Rural Skills Centre)’ Category

Delight at Helga’s Big Splash

Author Matthew Kalil visited Jujurha Preschool and read his lastest book, Helga's Splash, to the children.

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The Rural Skills Centre gets a new roof

Over the past month the participants at the Rural Skills Centre had a valuable lesson in making strong roof trusses and constructing a rather large roof structure.

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Rural Skills Centre Trainees Get Good Results

As part of the Community Work Programme (CWP) we set up the Rural Skills Centre where trainees learn a variety of useful skills like carpentry, permaculture gardening, building using sustainable building methods, metalwork, water harvesting and management, electrical work, plumbing.

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CoGTA and CWP implementing agent visit Xhora Mouth

On 22 May the community of Xhora Mouth and the participants of the Community Work Programme (CWP) welcomed representatives from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) and the Dhladhla Foundation.

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Rural Skills Centre building update

The construction of the Rural Technical Skills Centre is progressing with 3 apprentices plus one translator already working and one more apprentice to soon join them. The apprentices are learning a variety of skills while building the centre, such sustainable building methods, carpentry and metalwork, permaculture and organic farming, sustainable water management and renewable energy installation. At the end of their apprenticeship they will be able to start their own businesses and provide their expertise to support other projects.


Early days


Building in progress

The first floor of the building is already build and stone floor is completed in the bathroom.


Stone floor

The skills the apprentices will acquire are all important for the local community, for example building with natural local materials, compost toilet management, permaculture gardening, solar power installation etc. This way the project will be long term sustainable and the trainees at the centre will be able to establish their own small scale enterprises.


Bulungula microenterprise DVD on youTube


The Bulungula Incubator has created a how to DVD for microenterprise project. This DVD will give you all the information you need to start your own microenterprise in the rural community The microenterprises you will find on the links below are Wool felting, sewing,Rural Home stay and Hair salon.

The DVD is a full length DVD with all the necessary details but you can also watch short video clips of the microenterprises on youtube following the links below. You can obtain the full DVD by contacting Khuselo: or on 047 577 8908 (8am – 6pm) and 0731349809(after 6pm). Donations of R50 are encouraged to cover admin and postage costs.

this is Wool Felting here we make products like bags, blanket and cell phone pouches using sheep’s wool. You just buy the wool which is ready to make your products.

Here you find Hair salon

This is the Home stay it’s the accommodation you find in the rural area where you get to stay with the family and learn their everyday life you have your own hurt prepared for you and you eat what they eat if you like you help them with daily chores.

This is sewing business which is doing very well at the moment.



Since we started our Homestay project in 2010 it has been receiving quite a lot of visitors mostly  during the holidays and only when the Bulungula backpackers is full.  We now get more bookings directly to us and this past festive season was the busiest of all. We really pride ourselves for such a tremendous improvement and now we are getting bookings almost every month!
We have increased the number of our huts to meet the high demand of our guests.

Guests walk to homestay

Guests walk to homestay


Receiving a warm welcome from Mama Nokhongilas homestay


Andre and Rone enjoying the view of Xhorha river while Mama Nokhuphile feeds her chickens


Homestay guests can enjoy all activities provided by the backpackers. Here they are visiting a traditional herbalist who is explaining different kinds of medicine


Nice walk on the sand where you can pick many different kinds of shells

If you want to experience the rural life of the Eastern Cape, the Homestay is the place for you.  Stay with one of the families and eat what they eat, you can also choose to do their daily activities with them.  Your holiday will never be this rural anywhere else except @

Siyakhula Sewing Group produces Community Worker Programme uniforms

The Siyakhula Sewing Group continues to grow in leaps and bounds. The Sewing Group got a contract to supply protective wear for the Community Worker Programme (the Community Worker Programme is a government programme under the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs which creates work opportunities. The CWP participants implement community development initiatives). The four members of the Siyakhula Sewing Group were contracted to produce at 150 garments per individual, consisting of work -suit sets and dustcoats.


Mama Nothembile proudly displaying a completed worksuit jacket

The Siyakhula Sewing Group is contracted to produce 200 uniforms for the CWP. The sewing group is proud of the fact that 200 people from the Xhora Mouth area will be wearing uniforms that were made by them. Nothembile, one of the sewing mamas, constantly reminds everyone that “zezase Nqileni ezi” (these are from Nqileni village). The sewing group’s work has been impressive for a start and negotiations are already in place for the supply of more uniforms in 2013.


The sewing mamas getting down to serious business

As is always the case with first-time assignments, the job had its own hiccups as the group had to navigate some tough challenges. Top on the challenges list was the unsuitable working environment caused by the absence of electricity or any other alternative power sources for the operation of the sewing machines and lighting. Without electricity, the work becomes labour intensive, time consuming and, at the worst case scenario, can lead to an unprofitable venture.


Mama Nozethile displays a completed worksuit in true village style……..that is, on a grass mat

Despite the challenges, the sewing group soldiered on and produced the uniforms.


Mama Mankula ponders her next move

Top of Siyakhula Sewing Group’s wish list is a solar system that will provide electric energy to power the sewing machines. With electrically operated machines, production will increase, product quality will improve and the production time will be greatly shortened.

“’n boer maak ‘n plan”

Because of the poor education system and virtually no job market in our community, many young people have dropped out of school and with few skills find themselves wandering aimlessly about with nothing to do.  To address this issue the BI is in the process of creating a Rural Skills Centre which will teach useful and appropriate artisan skills to the youth in the Xhora Mouth area.  Spearheading this initiative is JP van der Walt, a retired tradesman.  Along with being a qualified electrician, JP has also gained a variety of skills over the decades including carpentry, metal working, plumbing, farming, building (both standard and cob building) as well as numerous other skills.  He is the purveyor of the now legendary Rocket Showers at the Bulungula Backpackers.

JP has been living and working as a handyman in Bulungula since 2008

JP has been sharing his skills and knowledge on an informal basis for the past few years, but now through the Rural Skills Centre, he can train the local youth in a formal, more structured manner.  Through funding from the Community Workers Program, JP will train 3 apprentices over the period of a year in a variety of skills.  Their first task:  build the actual Rural Skills Centre using a Cob building technique that relies completely on local materials.

Construction begins!

Once the project is up and running, it is expected to become self-sustaining through its various income generating activities.

“you make do with what you have”

Out now :‘How to Start Your Own Enterprise’ DVD

A DVD documenting how to start enterprises in remote areas has been completed by the Bulungula Incubator. The informational DVD serves as a guide for the establishment of small business ventures in remote and inadequately services areas such as Nqileni village. Production of the DVD was inspired and guided by the lessons learnt in establishing and running business in places that have limited or no access to basic services and where literacy levels are extremely low. The tips, advice and guidelines provided in the DVD are from tried and tested entrepreneurial ventures that have shown considerably high levels of success in rural environments.

Filming reels from theproduction of the DVD production

The DVD was produced by Carlos Francisco (AHB Films) and Khuselo Gcelu, our in-house film-maker.

Khuselo and Carlos, the DVD producers

The filmed scenes that were used for the production of the DVD are real-life activities of the entrepreneurs oerating their daily businesses. The enterprises that are on the DVD are Takane Felting, Masizakhe Hair Salon, Siyakhula Sewing Group and the Bulungula Homestays.

The sewing mamas busy at work

Funny moments were captured when some scenes had to be filmed more than once by the camera crew. The entrepreneurs could not understand why they had to repeat some tasks that they had just completed. Mama Nothembile had everyone in stitches when she had this to say; “Tyhini! Yhe Nkuli, kutheni nisithi ndithunge kabini. Aniboni uba ndiyigqibile lento? Nithi ndithunge nton ke ngoku?” (Whoa! Nkuli, why do you people say I must sew this thing again? Can’t you see that I have finished sewing it? So what should i sew if you say i do it again?). Veliswa, Nocawe and Bomkazi of Takane Felting couldn’t stop laughing when they were asked to repeat a scene for over five times.

The DVD is out now……….