‘Farm­ers feel trapped in small-scale or sub­sis­tence projects …’

Farmer's Weekly (South Africa) - - Weekly News Wrap -

– CEO of Kwanalu, Sandy La Mar­que, ex­press­ing the hope that the KwaZulu-Natal Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment would con­sult farm­ers about im­ple­ment­ing its Master

Plan 2020 to 2025

The com­mu­nity-owned Somkhanda Game Re­serve in KwaZulu-Natal has an­nounced that it is es­tab­lish­ing an en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion fa­cil­ity.

Somkhanda, which was of­fi­cially pro­claimed in 2005, is owned by the Gumbi com­mu­nity’s Em­vok­weni Com­mu­nity Trust. The com­mu­nity al­lo­cated part of the land that it suc­cess­fully claimed in 1998 through the land resti­tu­tion process, for this pur­pose.

Ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Wild­lands, Dr Roelie Klop­pers, the trust’s long-term part­ner, told Farmer’s Weekly that the Somkhanda Com­mu­nity Con­ser­va­tion Cen­tre would build on Somkhanda’s ex­ist­ing in­come ini­tia­tives by pro­vid­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

“To date the re­serve has hosted mainly for­eign stu­dents who have ben­e­fit­ted greatly from their vis­its to Somkhanda. We would like to build on this model as it gen­er­ates in­come for the re­serve, but then rein­vest profit into pro­vid­ing a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence for lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties,” Klop­pers ex­plained. A state­ment is­sued by Wild­lands added that the re­serve would host group tours for aca­demic field trips and youth de­vel­op­ment, as well as pro­vide vol­un­teer and in­tern­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties. Nathi Gumbi, a mem­ber of the Gumbi com­mu­nity and also Wild­lands’ strate­gic man­ager for com­mu­nity en­gage­ment in north­ern KwaZulu-Natal, said that the com­mu­nity was “ex­cited and hope­ful” that the cen­tre and other de­vel­op­ments on Somkhanda “will take us for­ward and bring a bet­ter life for our com­mu­nity and pro­duce fu­ture man­agers for Somkhanda tourism”.

“The [train­ing cen­tre] is cur­rently op­er­a­tional and we en­cour­age South African schools look­ing for aca­demic bush-based ex­pe­ri­ences to con­tact Africa In­sight, who has been run­ning field trips at Somkhanda,” he added. – Lloyd Phillips

THE RE­SERVE will HOST aca­demic field trips

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