The bakers of KwaXimba/Mkhizwane

Bakers newsletter

The first round of baking graduates from the Kwa Ximba district attended and graduated from the Learn to Earn – Bake for Profit training through the Ethembeni HIV/AIDS organisation.

The community of Kwa Ximba/ Mkhizwane is a community that is facing many challenges. This training initiative came about through the Department of Economic Development in an effort to ensure rural women develop the skills and obtain the resources needed to become sustainable income generators. Zimele Community was able to source this very practical, hands-on and sustainable bakers training through the Learn to Earn – Bake for Profit programme, which follows the same principles of Zimele Community, namely giving people a hand up rather than a hand out for capacity building.

The women were required to spend two days a week for 9 weeks travelling to the Ethembeni Place of Hope center in Mpophomeni just outside of Howick to receive this skills training. Each week lessons covered practical baking, business skills and life skills with ‘discipleship’. This united approach has been proven to motivate sustainable baking businesses and the women begin to sell almost immediately, thereby creating income for these unemployed beneficiaries from the start. The table below shows each woman’s journey in the development of a baking business with income and expenses being carefully recorded. This helps the women to see if they are in fact making a profit.
Bakers Table

Training is carried out on a level that mirrors how the women would be operating their business within their own homes. The idea is that they can run a business from their homes using what they have available. Once the business is operational the women can begin to save for a new stove, baking equipment or any other resources that they previously did not have access to.

Another important aspect of the training is that the women contribute a registration fee of R300.00 towards the training. This gives them ownership into their new businesses and as soon as they begin earning they can invest in their training. Every week the women take turns to bake the treats for the training. Ethembeni would buy these treats and at the same time assess the standard and quality of what was being produced. In interviewing the women, the most noticeable mind shift was moving from a creating or manufacturing environment to a life of sales and running their own businesses; something not yet attempted! They could all see the opportunity for growth as shops and supermarkets are an inconvenience for customers in these remote communities. By buying ingredients in bulk, the women are able to save on transport costs and receive cheaper bulk prices. Top student, Ms. Ndaba commented – “I didn’t realise there was pricing to a cake. I didn’t realise there was a way to accurately measure out ingredients. I had made a chocolate cake before but now I can see that I needed to measure and price ingredients. It was also important to learn how to communicate with customers because they are responsible for me being a success or not.”

The women stayed overnight each week at the “Ikhaya Lami Elakho” home stay experience. This is a group of women in the Mphophomeni area that have established businesses in hosting visitors to the area. To have these women attending training to begin baking businesses and see them supporting the women in the accommodation and tourism industry was inspirational. Challenges were faced but the weekly stay helped the tourism women learn how to cater for all clients, including regular weekly guests.

Lindela EthembeniBedroom





Pictured above is Lindela from Ethembeni; Nancy from the Department of Economic Development and Dudu of the “Ikhaya Lami Elakho” initiative.

The last week of training ended with a graduation ceremony and work experience visit.

With flourTraining materials






Many thanks to all parties involved in making this training possible. We look forward to our follow up visits to see the progress these women have made!

Report by: Kim McCall (Enterprise Developer).

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