All over South Africa yesterday there was a buzz in the air – all because of an extremely special occasion: Nelson Mandela’s 93rd birthday.
In case you didn’t know this, but as a result of the success of the birthday celebrations in London, June 2008, to commemorate Nelson Mandela and his life work, it was set in motion thereafter to acknowledge Mr. Mandela’s birthday each year as “Mandela Day“. What a perfect way to ensure that his legacy endures for a very long time.
The Mandela Day campaign message is simple: “Mr Mandela gave 67 years of his life fighting for the rights of humanity. All we are asking is that everyone gives 67 minutes of their time, whether it’s supporting your chosen charity or serving your local community”.
In a tucked away corner of the Kruger National Park, a group of people decided to take this challenge very seriously – our amazing Singita staff at Singita Lebombo and Sweni Lodges. They came up with some innovative and creative ways for everyone to particpate in order to raise funds to make a difference. Some signed up to shuffle for 6.7 minutes; delicious cupcakes were auctioned off; some chose to cycle 67 kilometres while others opted for running 6.7 kilometres – and even one staff member signed up to hug or kiss 67 girls! All proceeds are planned to support local primary schools in the area. What a day and a great amount of fun had by all – all for an oustanding cause.
If you have been following the updates on the Singita School of Cooking, located at our Staff Village in Singita Kruger National Park, then you will definitely enjoy watching our newest video clip. The clip details the background of the school; some of the success stories; and dreams of what we hope will be coming next. Listen to Oriel Mbowane, previous Sous Chef from Singita Sweni and now Skills Chef Trainer at the School of Cooking, talk about his own inspiring history and dreams for his students in the future.
For more information about Singita School of Cooking, take a look at our website and furthermore a previous blog article about this life-changing community project that has touched our hearts.
This week, Singita staff joined the Happy Homes preschool class and had some stories to tell….written/photography by Singita Guide, Nicky Silberbauer
Happy Homes pre-school offers after-hour classes for children from the community of Justica village, located on the outskirts of the Sabi Sand Reserve. This particular pre-school has just experienced generous, enthusiastic, and hands-on involvement from “Growing up Africa”, a New York based Foundation which provides focused support for preschools. Deborah Terhune, the Foundation Director and a past Singita guest travelled back to the Sabi Sand Reserve to put into action the plan she had been formulating with the school and with Singita, since her last visit. A brand new eco-classroom has been developed and sponsored by Deborah’s foundation and creative classes not only aim to educate children about their environment and how to care for it, but also generate an income for the school. Parents pay a small fee and children learn about different animals through fun activities.
This week it was great to watch the children play ‘pin the tail on the zebra’, a game new to them. After which they coloured in the zebra and the sky; later they placed grass in the foreground. The goal is to introduce the children to a new animal each week.
All of the children are extremely excited to be part of the eco-class. You will see some of the pictures from before the class where they were looking through recent game photos and practicing some of the calls of the wild.
Singita supports a pre-school development programme being conducted in 12 pre-schools in the Sabi Sand region, in collaboration with the South African Education Department. For further information about Singita’s support for pre-school and primary school development, read more on our website, or feel free to contact the Singita HR & Community Development Manager, Pam Richardson, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you know that when guests stay at Singita Pamushana all proceeds are used to fund various projects managed by the reserve’s Malilangwe Trust? A key, joint project that the Malilangwe Trust has embarked upon is to establish irrigation schemes so that nearby villagers and their livestock have a clean supply of water and are able grow their own vegetables. Women and children tend the crops – channeling water into the fields (thanks to a borehole that has been sunk), and keep up with weeding and removing pests. When you are next at Singita Pamushana, pay them a visit and they’ll proudly show you the crops – onions, cabbage and other leafy greens are in season right now, and you’re bound to be treated to an emotive impromptu choir performance!
Approximately 10,000 people located around the Malilangwe Reserve are now assisted daily through the provision of drinkable, clean borehole water.
For further information on this project please liaise with our Singita Pamushana Lodge Manager or with Singita HR & Community Development Manager, Pam Richardson – please contact us.
By Jenny Hishin
Recently Wynand Reiman, Singita Lebombo’s Senior Sous Chef (and Regional Chaine de Rotisseurs, Young Chef of the Year 2010 winner) carried out a teaching session on ‘how to make stocks and sauces’ with the Singita School of Cooking students. The students thoroughly enjoyed Wynand sharing his skill, knowledge and expertise with them.
Enthusiastically taking notes during the session.
Eight students were enrolled in the new cooking course that began on the 15th September 2010. This is an 18 month long program which prepares students selected from the local community, for a career as a professional chef.
If you would like to consider sponsoring a full scholarship, or be a co-sponsor please email the General Manager of Singita Kruger National Park at email@example.com. To read more about the ambitious efforts of the Singita School of Cooking, please click here.
The Singita School of Cooking is located on site at the Staff Village that serves Singita Kruger National Park (Lebombo and Sweni Lodges). It was established with the aim of encouraging the development of culinary skills amongst local youth from our neighbouring communities. Each year, 8 to10 students are selected – based upon clear criteria including showing a real interest in cooking – to participate in an 18 month long training programme.
It was an incredible undertaking initiated by Kurt Abrahams a Senior Sous Chef at Singita Sweni and Jason Trollip the former General Manager of Singita Kruger National Park. Jason and Kurt took up the challenge of taking on young members of the local community who had little or no understanding of what being a chef is all about and training them to the level where they could find employment as skilled trainee chefs at the end of the year long course. Kurt embraced the project wholeheartedly and became the Head of the school sharing his knowledge, exceptional culinary skills and passion for training people. The programme was practical, with the perfect facilities already in existence at the staff village. The first group of students graduated successfully from The Singita School of Cooking (SSC) at the end of 2007.
Year to date the graduating students have all been employed either at a Singita property or by other organisations.
Since opening the SSC has continued to produce well educated, employable trainee chefs and with its reputation now well established we took a decision in 2010 to extend the course to 18 months. The objective now being to take the students to the next level and equip them with Comis Chef level skills, thereby giving them greater earning capability post graduation.
Oriel Mbowane was promoted from Sous Chef Sweni in September to Skills Chef Trainer for the school of cooking. The new course started on 15th September 2010
If you would like more information about sponsoring a Singita School of Cooking student please refer to our Giving Back section on our website.
Our very own Jaco Ehlers, Singita Sales Manager and charity-superhero, has just completed a 7 day cycle challenge all in the name of a good cause.
Jaco cycled the 330km-long Challenge4aCause challenge through the harsh, dusty terrain of the dramatic Damaraland Desert in Namibia to raise funds for the Save the Rhino Trust.
All the funds raised through the 2010 Challenge4aCause have been donated to an anti-poaching unit. The aim of this unit is to help preserve the highly endangered, and desert-adapted, black rhino.
And we have more cycling superheroes among us – Sabi Sand GM, Jason Trollip, and Singita Sabi Sand Head Ranger, Mark Broodryk, also recently took part in a charitable cycling event: the third and final Tour de Tuli (previously known as the Tour de Kruger). The 2010 Tour de Tuli saw 290 cyclists pedal 350kms to raise an impressive R700 000 for charity.
Every Rand and cent raised through the event will be used to teach rural children about the importance of the environment and the critical role they play in the preservation of our world.
For more photos visit the Singita Facebook page.
At Singita we occasionally have a break between tracking predators, and other wildlife, and pampering our guests. During these pauses in the daily hustle and bustle, members of the Singita team like to do something that adds value to their surrounding communities.
Recently this took the form of a crèche painting initiative in the Welverdiend area.
Spearheaded by Verrity, including a selection of people from the Singita Kruger National Park Community Development team and residents of Welverdiend, this initiative was a huge success.
Through their team effort the crèche was completely transformed in just one day.
Singita Pamushana is situated in the 140 000 acre Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. The Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve operates the Malilangwe Trust, much like the Singita Grumeti Reserves operates the Grumeti Fund. This trust is actively involved in uplifting, among other things, the surrounding communities.
The Malilangwe Trust’s approach to community upliftment is one of community empowerment. In all their initiatives the affected community is responsible for 70% of the project and the Malilangwe Trust is responsible for the remaining 30%.
This forward thinking community ownership approach has been a vital aspect in the long-term success of the Trust community focused programmes. The other vital element, in the long-term success of the various initiatives, has been the involvement of government.
In the school, clinic and irrigation garden projects the Trust has supplied the infrastructure leaving room for government to supply the staff, medication, training, books and other necessary supplies.
This approach – the partnership between the Malilangwe Trust and the communities – and the involvement of government has resulted in effective, sustainable and far-reaching upliftment.
At Singita we don’t stand apart from the environment, we immerse ourselves in it.
We aim to create sustainable experiences; and we believe that in order to do this we need to develop long-term relationships with the communities surrounding our nine lodges and camps. We continually work at empowering these communities in tangible ways.
To date we’ve realised a number of successful projects and these include: building schools, supporting agricultural initiatives, financing small businesses, developing feeding plans and extensive training in the areas of conservation and luxury hospitality.