Category Archives: Veggie Garden

The remainder of Bowen Island 2011 Rotary donation received

Tractor Ploughing Kunavelela Garden

Tractor Ploughing Kunavelela Garden
(click thumbnails
to see full-size)

The remainder of Rotary Club of Bowen Island funds raised in 2011 were received mid-2012 and have been put to good use to clear rocks and create more arable land in the vegetable garden. Towards the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013, tractors were hired to plough the southern section of the garden and in February 2013, two TLB machines were hired to clear the rocks from the centre of the garden and shore-up the eastern boundary fence. It has taken some time to rent the necessary equipment at an affordable rate but Harry managed to find someone and the project is well on its’ way to creating a sufficiently large area that can be used for farming and food growing in the village.

Vegetable Garden 1 from Water Tower

Vegetable Garden from Water Tower

Until now, the vegetable garden has been functioning at about 20% capacity, but with the ground cleared and more land available for planting, additions of water tanks and irrigation will need to be made in order to increase the output and meet the communities needs.

Kunavelela Garden Site from Water Tower #2

Kunavelela Garden Site from Water Tower #2

Kunavelela Garden Site from Water Tower #3

Kunavelela Garden Site from Water Tower #3

Kunavelela Garden Site from Water Tower #4

Kunavelela Garden Site from Water Tower #4

Kunavelela Garden Site from Water Tower #5

Kunavelela Garden Site from Water Tower #5


Results: Winter Crops

First Winter Crops - KunavelelaSince the levelling of ground began in April and with many hours of care and labour, the communities’ hard work is beginning to pay off.  Winter crops are starting to produce results; cabbage, turnips, tomatoes, beetroot, and spinach have been harvested and distributed.  Ma Assa - Kunavelela GardenWoman from the local church and orphanage, together with grandmothers and mothers spend long days in the garden tending their crops and nurturing life out of the rich soil.

The Grannys At Work in the Kunavelela Garden

Smilling In The Kunavelela Garden

The gift of water – a photo essay of raising a windmill

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Progress on the veggie garden

In February, work began to level and earmark proper beds in the vegetable garden, plots were measured and marked out, levelled and built up around the edges to maximize the water use in the dry season.

In early April, work continues in the vegetable garden.  The area has been levelled with the help of a team of donkey’s ploughing the land into workable furrows for tilling and the planting beds have been prepared for winter crops. 

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There are additional funds on their way from Rotary and these will be used to clear the southern portion of the garden of rocks.  These funds will also be used to add irrigation pipes to the southern section of garden, purchase seeds and upgrade security of the new infrastrucure. 
For now though, Manyike has attached a length of 50m irrigation pipe to the tank outlet which will provide water to the cultivated northern half of the garden.

Smilling and Harry continue to work to secure community support and involvement for their project.  Through continued meetings with the village headman, the municipality, local farmers and members of the department of agriculture, churches and other non-profit organizations as well as from community members themselves, the project gains momentum, going from strength to strength.

Canadian Rotary Clubs Make a large donation

In 2011 Andi Webster secured sponsorship from Canadian Rotary organisations, both Bowen Island Rotary Club and Rotary Club of Burnaby came on board to support Kunavelela in purchasing and installing a windmill, 6m tank stand and 10 000 litre water tanks and simple irrigation system for the vegetable garden.  

Funds were raised on the Bowen Island side through spring bulb sales and once again Gogo Sheila with the hard work and effort she put in together with fellow Rotarians managed to raise over a third of the estimated funds needed to purchase the necessary infrastructure.  On the Burnaby side, Dean Rohrs an expat South African with many years of non-profit experience and valued advice and guidance organized funds.

Harry, Smilling, and Andi spent a week in the village with various contractors and helpers from the village putting up the windmill and tank stands. Conditions were tough with most days reaching into the high thirties and Smilling and Harry outdid themselves organizing for things to be fetched and carried, digging trenches and laying pipes, adding muscle to the lifting and a friendly smile to the visitors and youngsters in the village. On the 27th January 2012 at 16h47 the first drops of water splashed into the water tanks – Kunavelela Community Project vegetable garden now has access to year round water.

With Rotary funding, Kunavelela also managed to contribute some much needed medical equipment and supplies for the local clinic with which Niah is involved in assisting needy families.  Erick, one of the village Nduna’s (headman), accompanied us to the clinic to show his support of the project when we delivered the goods and gave us some time afterwards to speak about the goals for the community.

With left over funding from the Rotary donation we were able to purchase a laptop for Harry, an important project asset that will allow Harry to be directly involved with communications.

Our appreciation goes to all Rotary members who in any way assisted and supported the project logistically and financially and to Dean Rohrs for making the time to come and inspect the completed project on a recent visit to South Africa.

Thanks go to Marina Muller from Marina Boreholes, Tintsi and Moses who spent long hours up high in the heat putting the windmill together.  Thanks also to Chris Hanekom and his team from Hoedspruit Steel who, despite flooding of their workshop the week before installation managed to get things ready for construction and assembly on schedule.

Thanks go once again to Corey Mah, for allowing us to use the veg garden logo.

Granny’s Assa, Nora, Violet, and Eva for assisting with site clearance, water carrying and general support.  Life and Patrick for the creativity you brought to the signboard, Manyike for accepting responsibility to maintain and watch over the equipment and secure the windmill.

Kunavulela Community Project goes online

Harry and Smiling Ubisi founded the Kunavulela Community Project in 1997, and have been making major strides since then! Recently, a number of things have come together and all of a sudden the Project has a web presence. Donations can be made online at There are currently two specific fundraising projects on the go:
raising money to buy 12 pairs of soccer boots for the senior Hluvukani Blackbirds
and raising money to buy live hens for the goggo’s veggie garden. You can read about Kunavulela here, more about the goggos here, and more about the soccer team here