More Mtubatuba stories of interest – March 2015

Highlight of the month: Zimele USA visitors

This month on 19 March 2015 we had visitors from Zimele USA. It was a great opportunity for the women to make a bit of extra cash through preparing lunches for our visitors. We visited Zaza our local talent artist, a young man who Zimele has supported for some time by bringing visitors to see his work. Zaza is currently learning new techiniques at Durban Art Centre, where he was helped to enroll by Zimele. Our visitors were thrilled to see the amazing talent of this young man and bought some of his paintings and drawings. Zaza has amazing stories behind each art work.

We also visited another up and coming young artist, Nothando Sabela who is in Phikelela SHG. Nothando’s art is very different from Zaza as she creates ceramics.

We then held a meeting with the library committee under Iziphiwozethu cluster. The building for the library is semi-complete, so Kim McCall of Zimele wanted to brainstorm with the women concerning the way forward. We did not come up with a conclusion in this meeting but we managed to clarify some issues and new ideas were discussed, including possibly relocating the library to another house that can house the books while the library committee tries to raise funds for the incomplete building.

In the afternoon we visited the Zimele Agriculture programme with Zimele’s Michael Malinga. The visitors helped Mkhumbikanowa group make a compost and bought some spinach which they would donate the following morning to the creche that we were going to visit.

On the 20th we visited Ekwakeni Primary school where the women make porridge for 48 ophans and vulnerable children. One of our visitors read a book to the children while the porridge was cooking. After the children went to their classes we had a very good breakfast hosted by the women for our visitors. What a beautifull sight, to see how they had laid the table so beautifully for us. It was a very humbling experience for all of us and there was no dry eye in the room except for Michael who was trying to be manly about his emotions!

USA team helpingUSA team helping 2

Zimele USA team lending a helping hand at the school feeding project by Iziphiwozethu cluster.


Breakfast at Ekwani Primary School – Our visitors are spoilt for choice at a breakfast hosted by the women from Iziphiwozethu cluster.


Left: ‘Simply talented Zaza’ showing his art to our visitors. Right: A new talent, Nothando Sabela from Phikelela SHG explaining her glazing technique that she uses in her ceramics.

Mukhumbikanowa SHG Garden Project thrives

This group is one of the hardest working groups in Mtubatuba. Their unity and dedication is amazing. The group exudes such positivity despite the fact that water is a problem in Mtubatuba, which is experiencing a drought. This has not diminished their spirits and they remain hopeful against all odds. This group continues to be a motivation to many other SHGs and to their community at large. This group was launched on the 30th of April 2013, with a membership of 12 but it currently holds a membership of 9.

The group had the opportunity to be taken for training at Dovehouse through Zimele, where they learnt various ways of organic farming and water conserving methods. They have implemented what they have learnt and the result has been a bumper harvest of healthy vegetables. They supply the community with fresh farm produce and are in the Schools Nutrition Programme. We had the opportunity to witness their success firsthand when two girls from the community came to buy vegetables and even our Zimele USA visitors were inspired to buy the vegetables despite the fact that they did not have anywhere to cook them! Christy from Zimele USA said, “I am going to buy the vegetables anyway”…I am sure she just couldn’t resist the fresh look of the veggies, which were later donated to a crèche which our guests visited.

The Zimele USA team had an opportunity to help the women build a compost heap, digging in dirt and cow dung!

This group of women has a backup plan: with the water problems in Mtubatuba, they have decided to start another project of chickens for eggs. The project is in its infancy and they have already built a fowl run. They have also started recycling empty egg crates so that when the project starts, they will be one step ahead.
Mukhumbikanowa SHG Garden

Vulamehlo cluster

This Cluster networked with the Departments of Health and Social Development in November last year. They celebrated their first birthday and invited both departments. The Departments were impressed with the women’s presentations and they promised that they would work alongside the women and help them achieve their goals with their social projects. On 17 March, the Department of Health in collaboration with Zimele and the Department of Social Development held training about nutrition for under 5 year old children. This training was aimed at educating crèche teachers and caterers on hygiene and lowering infant mortality in children below 5 years of age.

The training was a one day workshop, and the women learnt a lot about nutrition and hygiene. The women also brought up issues of water and crèches not having ablution facilities and water for children and hygiene. Mr Nyawo from the Department of Health said that it is the duty of the municipality to see that there are water tanks at crèches as there are funds available for such social projects.

Going forward Mr Nyawo would like to hold a meeting with Zimele and the Cluster chairpersons with representatives from Social Development to help the women with advocacy and lobbying concerning water tanks and possibly assistance with building toilets for crèches.

Zimele beneficiaries/women have established six crèches in a bid to provide a safe environment for their children. These crèches are run from members’ homes. These women work with the children on voluntary basis and sometimes they take food from their own households so the children do not go hungry.
Vulamehlo Cluster Training

 Mr Nyawo from Hlabisa District hospital training the crèche committees ‘Under 5 year Nutrition Training’

Report by: Precious Matongo (Field Trainer)



Breaking News

Zimele Community mentioned in the Meander Chronicle

Get Involved

Craft Catalogue

Meet our Visitors

South African-based donors will score points in terms of socio-economic development and skills and enterprise development for BEE ratings.

Sign up for Website Mailing List
* = required field