Afristar formed a partnership with the Leshiba Community Development trust to design, fund raise, implement and monitor a number of innovative community development projects in the Western Soutpansberg of Northern Limpopo.

These projects included:


  • Applied Permaculture Trainings
  • Skills and Small Enterprise Development Programmes
  • The Vhembe Biosphere EXPO
  • The Light of Mercy Community Care Centre


In partnership with the Leshiba Community Development Trust, Afristar organized and facilitated Applied Permaculture Trainings for local community members from villages in Vhembe district, Limpopo at the Leshiba Permaculture & Indigenous Knowledge Centre.  The trainings aimed to build local capacity in homestead food production and sustainable land management to improve livelihoods, increase food security, and empower communities to lift themselves out of poverty.  One specific outcome of these trainings was for each participant to apply permaculture skills to improve their own homesteads and generate income, acting as living models for sustainability within their communities.  Another main objective was by the end of the training series, for participants to emerge with the skills, knowledge and confidence to become community-based permaculture educators, holding workshops in their own villages and neighbouring communities for lasting, widespread impact.

Since the completion of the training series, several homestead permaculture sites were developed by participants, in Kuthama-Sintumule, Elim and Bodwe communities. In Bodwe, participants from Light of Mercy Community Center went on to develop their center into a Permaculture Demonstration site and Training Venue, in partnership with Afristar and LCDT. Several participants from the training series have gone on to work as community permaculture educators and project assistants in their communities, involved in work with SEED, implementing permaculture programs in local schools.


Afristar collaborated with the Leshiba Community Development Trust to support a community program for training and apprenticeship in traditional Venda woodcarving, as well as in the crafts of textiles and musical instruments. 

The aim of these programmes was to support the local community in retaining their traditional cultural practices and indigenous knowledge systems, and to promote valuation of local knowledge systems as bases for community enterprise and income generation. The program encouraged the apprenticeship of high quality artisans to engage in income generation through effective marketing of their work, and worked to create linkages between rural artists and potential markets in order to support wealth creation from this traditional practice and the continuation of apprenticeship in these highly technical skills.  The program also trained participants in basic organic gardening for homestead food production.

The skills development programme supported Afristar’s key aim of rejuvenating rural economies through valuing of indigenous knowledge systems and culture, as well as sustainable natural resource use.


Afristar designed and developed the Sustainable Livelihoods Exhibition in August 2007 in Vhembe district of northern Limpopo province.
The EXPO aimed to raise awareness, and to communicate and demonstrate stratgeies for rural communities to improve their standard of living and satisfying their basic needs without compromising the quality of life for future generations. 

The exhibition focused on replicable models for sustainable food production, appropriate technologies, and on promoting ways to enhance, restore and utilize indigenous knowledge systems.  

Afristar helped to design, create and install the interactive displays that formed the heart of the EXPO, including a demonstration medicinal garden, a model home nursery, a permaculture homestead food garden, and various types of appropriate technology.  Also demonstrated were ways to incorporate hands-on environmental education into school curriculum. 

All in all, the EXPO succeeded in highlighting economic and entrepreneurial opportunities associated with sustainable development in the area, and served to promote and complement the Vhembe Biosphere initiative’s goal of fostering economic and human development for the attainment of sustainable livelihoods that are socio-culturally and ecologically sensitive.


The Light of Mercy Community Center in Bodwe, Limpopo serves as a hub for community caregivers in the area. Acting as a multipurpose space, the center serves meals to school children, local orphaned and vulnerable children, and provides various types of support to people living with HIV/AIDs. In partnership with Afristar and the Leshiba Community Development Trust, the Centre was supported to implement a permaculture design on their grounds, augmenting local food and fruit production, as well as offering a model of productive, sustainable land use for the community.

Implementations at the Light of Mercy Community Care Center include a nursery, a ferro-cement water tank, water-harvesting swales and tree basins, a composting toilet, a solar cooker and rain-fed perennial systems for fertile and productive landscapes. In the future, the Center intends to host community permaculture trainings on various land use technologies and applications and to use their on-ground gardens to boost local food security and support the Center’s feeding initiatives. Ultimately, Light of Mercy wishes to become a model of best practice for the area.

Let’s build a resilient society together

At Afristar, we understand the complexities of the African environment and specialise in  restoration and resiliency solutions for each unique situation. We have developed cutting-edge and environmentally-focused strategies to help mitigate the effects of poor land use practice.

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