Creating a rural development hub

The community of Naledi Village currently resides on a portion of land within the extents of Rustlers Valley Farm. Whilst the village is relatively small, it serves as a central support and is very connected to many other farm villages in the surrounding areas, providing access to a shop, farm school and recreational facilities. The village has almost no electricity and a water supply that is under contest from a nearby game farm. Sanitation is rudimentary and without adequate ventilation. Growing organically, Naledi village does not follow a preconceived layout, which presents challenges for the in situ installation of servitudes.

When the Earthrise Trust acquired Rustlers Valley Farm, the trustees pledged to assist the community of Naledi in developing a self-determining and sustainable community. The Trust will take forward its commitment in the deed of sale to transfer a 40 hectare portion of the farm to residents of Naledi Village to achieve land rights for residence and subsistence purposes. Intended for the people, this will finally give ownership and management of good land to labourers who for many years worked on Rustlers Valley and surrounding farms.

Based on the status quo of Naledi, an appropriate development course would be to see the infrastructure in the village upgraded to provide basic services, and for the community to be able to maximise its leverage on the land to create agrarian-based productivity and sustainability.

The Trust will encourage the use of participatory community mapping tools for the community to raise awareness and develop their own collective knowledge of the land and natural resource related issues and to use this knowledge to promote social cohesion and lays the groundwork for long term sustainable rural development model.

To emphasise the people dimensions of development, the Trust has enlisted the support of an experienced skills development specialist who has volunteered to investigate opportunities and facilitate the development of a skills profile of residents to assist in future skills research, planning and development.

In principle, agreement has also been reached on the education with production model for the creation of small enterprises for farm maintenance contracts, tourism hospitality services and the building of a creative arts production and marketing centre.  Similarly, discussions are underway with a neighbouring farm regarding a potential nursery school. Finally, the Trust has initiated a partnership with the Franshoek Primary School and village residents, on a school building improvement plan.