Guest Host:

Ansa Jacobsz

Ansa Jacobsz

Ansa Jacobsz

Sizanani Community Project

My name is Ansa Jacobsz.

In 2003 my husband was appointed at Singita, a 5* Lodge in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, next to the Kruger National Park, where he was the Maintenance Manager.

Sadly, I was unable to find employment at that time, however, I was giving pottery classes in the nearby town of Hazyview. For three days a week I taught 100 students at 7 Pre-schools.

Then the opportunity came for me to start a Community Project in Justicia, just outside the Reserve. It was a small rural area, where most of the workers in the Reserve stay.

I spoke to the General Manager at the Lodge who was very keen for me to work on the project, and I was even able to move one of my workers form my previous pottery business into a house, which was owned by the Lodge! Luckily, he was able to look after my 2 cats and three dogs, as we weren’t allowed any animals on the Reserve.

The GM decided that they were going to build proper bathroom facilities for the guests there. We put a fence up, cleaned the place, and painted the house and on the side wall we wrote our name, Sizanani. In Zulu the word means “Help each other”.

Our first help was given to a few older women, who were responsible for looking after their grandchildren, because the mother or father or both died of HIV.

We decided to organize a proper tour to Justicia, with the first stop at the Pre-school where the little ones sand and performed for the guests. Then, they stopped to listen to the Justicia Men’s Choir. They Performed under a tree, and their voices were magical through the African Bush. The same choir performs at the Lodge during the Boma Dinner, or at weddings or birthday events for the guests.

Then they visited Edour Place. Here they can watch the workers painting beautiful ethic designs with earth colours on tablecloths, placemats, beadwork and Albert, busy to carve little animals out of wood.

There was also a space where we displayed the stuff that was for sale. The guests pay at the Lodge for the products and they make a donation towards the project. We use that to buy more material, paint and other items we need.

At the end of the month we split the sales between the twelve ladies who were involved in the project.

Sadly when the GM resigned, the founder of the Community Tours got greedy and wanted 20% commission and were forced to stop the whole Project.

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