MRP Highlights

  • Posted on: 19 November 2009
  • By: MRP

For the past 3 years DEAT SRPP (Social Responsibility, Policy & Projects) has funded the Mussel Rehabilitation Project (MRP) which has been implemented by Walter Sisulu University along the Wild Coast between Umtata Mouth and Hole in the Wall. Download the video: Mussel Harvest The initiative has, without a doubt, been one of the most successful and effective social responsibility projects in the Eastern Cape. It has not only proven that rehabilitation and controlled harvesting of mussel beds is sustainable, but has literally produced tons of protein rich mussels for the benefit of the local community, while also contributing employment, skills training, environmental awareness, resource monitoring, catch-data collation, and many other vital linkages and benefits. Operating since 2000 under the care and guidance of Zoology lecturer, Dr. Calvo-Ugarteburu (affectionately known by all as “Gugu”), the Mussel Rehabilitation & Food Production Project has been funded variously by Marine & Coastal Management (MCM), WWF, and DEAT SRPP. To provide sustainable food security, the project has also created a vegetable seedling nursery,KSD Municipality L.E.D. councilor visiting on Open Day 9 community gardens, and a home gardening programme which conducted training workshops and provided vegetable seedlings and fruit trees for a thousand households in the area. Over the years extensive Household Livelihood Security Assessments (HLSA) have been conducted by WSU throughout the 15 marginalized villages along this rugged 20km stretch of coastline (one of the poorest and most disenfranchised regions of South Africa), support relationships have been forged with government departments and municipal LED (Local Economic Development) departments; and vital linkages between the community and relevant NGOs, including WWF, Masifundise & WESSA have been created. Gugu has been a relentless campaigner for subsistence fishers’ rights and legislative reform, and the community members who have contributed to the rehabilitated sites have, through her efforts, been issued with exemption permits which allow them to legally harvest up to 5 liters of mussels per day, instead of the impractical and unrealistic bag-limit of 30 mussels per subsistence or recreational permit holder. (Imagine feeding your entire family, which depends on them as a primary protein source, on only 30 mussels.) The issuing of permits was accompanied by a mandatory workshop on sustainable harvesting techniques. The Mussel Rehabilitation Project provides food security and essential socio-economic development, while ensuring sustainable use through ongoing monitoring and management of the natural resources. It can clearly be seen, in fact, to be nurturing the natural environment for the benefit of everyone. Furthermore, MRP and the local management committee (comprised of representatives from each village who have freely contributed their time and energy over many years) play an invaluable role between government and the community vis-à-vis subsistence level coastal livelihoods; and lobby for vital changes to impractical or discriminatory sections of the Marine Living Resources Act of 1998 (MLRA). In May 2008 the project celebrated its first official harvest at the successfully rehabilitated Nqutheni site illegally, as the exemption permit had not been processed in time. Despite the lacking formality, the harvest went ahead with the tacit blessings of MCM, and was attended by officials from several sectors of government who all enjoyed a great mussel meal, provided by the 60 or so harvesters, afterwards. tons of beautiful musselsproud field manager the largest employer in the area Community members are employed as:
  • environmental trainers to teach harvesters how to rehabilitate mussel beds and the principles of sustainable utilization,
  • drillers who facilitate the rehabilitation process (the technique was pioneered by Professor Arthur Dye and some of his students in the 1990's),
  • and monitors who record information on ALL subsistence fishery activities in the area. The catch data is recorded into a database and used for long term sustainability research, and also for the local management committee to lobby for TURF (Territorial Use Rights in Fisheries) quotas and provide the basis for co-management as set forth in the MLRA. . . .. . .
    Other community members have been trained in agricultural practices and are employed by the Project as:
  • agricultural trainers who deliver fruit trees and seedlings to the household gardens and conduct training workshops,
  • agricultural monitors who inspect the household gardens periodically and provide further assistance and intervention where necessary;
  • and some received further seedling nurturing and small business operations training, including introductory computer courses, to manage the nursery as an independent business.


  • The participants built the nursery and office themselvesNursery staff preparing 50,000 cabbage seedlings


    ? Garden Competition: To incentivize local gardeners and promote the nursery, a home vegetable garden competition was held in 2009. Over 130 entries were received and individually judged. Representatives from the Department of Agriculture (Mqanduli) selected and judged the top 10 gardens.Judging the top 10Receiving R1,000 from Gugu 1'st Place won R1,000 2'nd won R750 3'rd won R500 7 Runners up each received R250 20 more each received R100

    ?
    Community Gardens: Many others benefit from communal gardens which have been established with efficient drip-irrigation and foot-treadle pump systems.

    Khululeka Retreat

    Self catering lodge in Port St Johns area, offering rooms or whole lodge rental.

    Rates, facilities, property images, and location map included in website.

    Web: www.khululeka.co.za
    Email: stay@khululeka.co.za
    Mobile: +27 (0)60 6786443
    Fax: +27 (0)86 6724096

    Paradise. Right Here, Right Now.

    If you want to get off the beaten track to a place that is unique for its beauty and unspoilt surroundings, you will love Khululeka Retreat.

    Set in an Indigenous State Forest high on a hill with an awesome 180-degree view of the sea and estuary, Khululeka Retreat is just that. Peaceful, private and remote.

    The Fisherman

    by Trevor Gothan 14 October 2009 The Fisherman As a teenager we often spent the holidays on the Wild Coast, where my father loved fishing for steenbras off his favourite rocks. On one blustery day, I chose not to fish alongside him in the cold salt spray and rather joined a Xhosa fisherman at a more sheltered spot, some distance away. Both hoping for a few bream for lunch, we stared at our lines in fruitless expectation for the first hour. Thereafter, we engaged in a more interesting, but somewhat difficult conversation, for his mastery of English was about as limited as my abilities in isiXhosa. After some formalities about weather, bait and fish, our conversation turned to our lives. Zamuxolo pointed out his kraal on a green hill across the bay, and then asked where I was from and what I did. I enthusiastically explained that I was studying to be an engineer at Wits and finding it quite tough. "Why are you doing that?" he responded. "To get a good qualification and hopefully a well paying job," I replied. "What for?" he queried. This required some thought.

    Experience the spectacular Wild Coast by air

    Port Elizabeth – 2 October 2009 Sheltam Aviation (www.sheltamaviation.com), one of the country's leading air charter providers with offices in Port Elizabeth and Durban, has launched a dynamic new website, with a special focus on promoting tourism in the remote yet spectacular Wild Coast. The Wild Coast is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations, offering unspoilt natural beauty set in a tropical adventure paradise – and is best experienced from the air in a scenic low-level flight with Sheltam Aviation, from our Port Elizabeth or Durban branches, or from anywhere in South Africa.

    Xhosa Dictionaries and Resources

     

    NEW: Xhosa Live Dictionary  Best online Xhosa - English dictionary. Translates individual words from/to English or Xhosa.

    Xhosa Translator For translating whole sentences. Doesn't work well with individual words.

    English/Xhosa/English Dictionary Large database and easy to use search engine. No grammatical explanations, and some entries are inaccurate. Better suited for Xhosa speakers learning English, as many entries contain one English word with long Xhosa descriptions.

    Webster's Online Dictionary A list of Xhosa words (and some random phrases) that have been translated from English. Not very extensive. And these resources:

    Our Shoreline on SABC2

    • Posted on: 8 September 2009
    • By: JB
    A spectacular glimpse of the Wild Coast. Available from http://www.impactvideo.co.za/prod_det.asp?ID=1520 Shoreline is a South African documentary series commissioned by SABC 2. It is a multidisciplinary showcase of all the unique and diverse features along our coastline – geology, paleontology, history, settlement patterns, marine biology, ecology etc. One of the main features of this series is that it is presented by a team of specialist presenters – archaeologist Gavin Whitelaw, historian Nomalanga Mkhize and marine biologist Eleanor Yeld. Anchor presenter Peter Butler and his dog Nujack guide our experts on the journey around the coast. Shoreline consists of 13 episodes and in each episode we visit a stretch of coastline to get a sense of its character and stories to help build a picture of our unique coastline. We reveal how natural wonders and historic events have shaped the lives of coastal communities.’ The Shoreline DVD box set will be available after the series ends on 12 October 2009. SABC will also be giving away several DVD box sets of the series. See www.ourshoreline.co.za for competition details. Episode Ten of Shoreline, on Monday the 14'th, features the Wild Coast from Cove Rock (East London) to Port Grosvenor. Click here: Episode Ten for an overview. "This untamed wilderness is filled with rolling green hills and unspoilt beaches, secluded bays fringed with wild banana trees, tranquil lagoons and dense coastal forests, deeply carved valleys and precipitous cliffs where waterfalls plummet into the sea. Violent storms and monstrous waves sometimes batter the coast, and many ships have met an untimely end here. Ancient myths and legends are rife, and the diverse peoples represent a rich cultural heritage. This is a shoreline truly deserving of its name – the Wild Coast." Episode Eleven, On Monday the 21'st, will explore Mkambati to Amanzimtoti, including the Pondoland Centre of Endemism and the threatened Xolobeni area. See Episode Eleven for more info. "A recent study of the flora of four sites in the PC has revealed 2253 different species, of which 196 were endemic to the PC. This level of floral diversity is truly impressive, considering that the whole of Great Britain contains only about 1400 species. Species density in the PC is also exceptionally high, with about 2500 species in 1900 km2 – compared to about 9 000 species in 90 000 km2 in the Cape Flora. Scientifically, the PC has been comparatively poorly surveyed, and new plant species are continually being discovered. The region is particularly rich in woody endemics, and contains more than 30 endemic species of robust creepers, shrubs and trees – the highest count for endemic tree species in South Africa. The PC contains many rare and unusual plants, and some are so rare that no local names are known, such as the so-called Pondo Bushman’s tea (Lydenburgia abbottii). This is the rarest forest tree endemic to South Africa, with only about 200-500 specimens in existence. The entire population occurs between the Amphitheatre in the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve and the Msikaba River – a total range of only 40 kilometres. It is estimated that many of the trees could be as old as 1000 years."

    Scientists discover 18 new spider, snail and worm species in the Mkambathi Nature Reserve

    Scientists in South Africa discover 18 new spider, snail and worm species From www.guardian.co.uk By David Smith in Johannesburg Tuesday 18 August 2009 Scientists surveying a nature reserve in South Africa have discovered 18 previously unrecorded species of invertebrates, including spiders, snails, millipedes, earthworms and centipedes. The trove of creatures was uncovered in eight days by researchers and volunteers working for the environmental charity Earthwatch at the Mkhambathi nature reserve on the spectacular Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape. However, scientists warned that planned developments in the area could threaten the ecosystem and deny them the chance to identify further species. Jan Venter, an ecologist working for Eastern Cape Parks, which manages the reserve, said that the 29 square mile area had previously attracted only ad hoc surveys and butterfly collectors. "To get so many species in one survey shows the importance of the reserve. It's a very special area, conservation-wise. If we do another survey, we'll find just as many." The team suspects that another 18 species might be discovered.

    Row brews as minister mulls go-ahead

    From www.iol.co.za August 16 2009 at 06:51PM The dispute over community consent for Xolobeni Mineral Sands Project is hotting up as Minerals and Energy Minister Susan Shabangu considers granting the final go-ahead. The plans are to excavate 346 million tons of titanium and other heavy minerals along a 22m stretch of the Wild Coast below Port Edward. Mining it will generate R560-million yearly, with R42m to be spent on local salaries each year and R2,9-billion going to the government. But conservationists are protesting because the mineral area lies in a vast, unspoilt wilderness region that offers considerable ecotourism potential. This article was originally published on page 6 of Cape Argus on August 16, 2009 Comment: Important to note that not just environmentalists, but hundreds of members of the community attended the protest march last year, including many elders, the headman, and other prominent community leaders. As if more proof was needed, even King Mpondomise and the Royal House are against the proposed strip mining.

    100 years since SS Waratah disappeared off the Wild Coast

    The Waratah 1908 - 29 July 1909 The SS Waratah, sometimes referred to as "Australia's Titanic", was a 500 foot steamer. In July 1909, the ship, en route from Durban to Cape Town, disappeared with 211 passengers and crew aboard. The disappearance of the ship remains one of the most baffling nautical mysteries of all time. To this day no trace of the ship has ever been found. According to Dispatch archives, the 10 000 ton ship passed along the Transkei coast on July 28, 1909 after stopping off in Durban the previous day. It was heading to London and would have stopped over in Cape Town before setting sail on the high seas. A Dispatch report from July 1971 said: “Two people had disembarked in Durban – one to find a job and the other after he dreamt that the ship would sink – and after being spotted by two other ships along the Transkei coast, the Waratah disappeared in what was to become ‘one of the most baffling nautical mysteries of all time’.”

    History and folklore of Hole in the Wall

    Photo (c) Neels BotmaHole-in-the-Wall is one of the most impressive landmarks along the entire South African coastine. Second only to Table Mountain, most likely, though only a fraction of the size. Standing at the mouth of the Mpako River, the cliff consists of dark-blue shales, mudstones and sandstones of the Ecca Group, dating back some 260 million years. These rocks were subsequently intruded by a dolerite sheet, and the ‘hole’ was created over millions of years by the buffeting waves, which eroded away the softer rocks underneath the dolerite to form an arch. The same process also eventually separated the cliff from the mainland.

    UNLESS

    • Posted on: 16 July 2009
    • By: JB

    The Lorax was written and illustrated by Theodore (Dr. Seuss) Giesel in 1971 as a colorful childrens book, with a biting satirical message - for adults and children alike - about man's tendency to invade and destroy his natural environment. It is a pointed commentary on the expansion of the logging industry in the early 70s that is even more relevant today than it was 38 years ago when he created it.

    The cute, furry Lorax is believed to be a representation of the great northern owl of the Pacific Northwest, which makes its home in the coastal redwoods and Douglas fir trees.

    Read http://chokingplanet.wordpress.com/2009/02/26/dr-seuss-had-it-right/ about the controversy The Lorax stirred up in America.

    “Aren’t you ashamed?” Asks the Lorax. “The things you are doing are completely ungood”

    “But if I didn’t do it, then someone else would,” says the Once-ler.

    "Mister!", he said with a sawdusty sneeze,
    "I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees.
    I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues,
    And I'm asking you, sir, at the top of my lungs" --
    He was very upset as he shouted and puffed --
    "What's that THING you've made out of my Truffula tuft?"

    I am the Lorax! I speak for the trees,
    Which you seem to be chopping down as fast as you please;
    But I also speak for the brown Barbaloots,
    Who frolicked and played in their Barbaloot suits,
    Happily eating Truffula fruits.
    Now, since you've chopped the trees to the ground
    There's not enough Truffula fruit to go 'round!
    And my poor Barbaloots are all feeling the crummies
    Because they have gas, and no food, in their tummies.

    Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
    nothing is going to get better. It's not.

    Catch! calls the Once-ler.
    He lets something fall.
    It's a Truffula Seed.
    It's the last one of all!
    You're in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds.
    And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs.
    Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.
    Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
    Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.
    Then the Lorax
    and all of his friends
    may come back.

    Now all that was left 'neath the bad-smelling sky
    was my big empty factory...
    the Lorax...
    and I.
    The Lorax said nothing
    just gave me a glance. Just gave me a very sad, sad backward glance.
    He lifted himself by the seat of his pants and i'll never forget the grim look on his face
    as he hoisted himself and took leave of this place through a hole in the smog without   
    leaving a trace
    and all that the Lorax left here in this mess was a small pile of rocks with one word.
    UNLESS

     

     

    Wild Coast Hiking (Guided hikes from Port St Johns to Coffee Bay)

    The Best way to experience the beauty of the Wild Coast is to take the 5 day hiking trail run by Jimmy and Mbuyi. Please visit their site for more information, rates and details  at www.wildcoasthikes.com.

    The Port St. Johns to Coffee Bay Hiking Trail goes through some of the most beautiful hiking landscape in South Africa. The trail hugs a stretch of coastline along the former Transkei homeland, and is unspoilt and barely touched by development. You will walk along rolling grassy hills dotted with colourful huts, idyllic beaches, estuaries flanked by thick coastal forest and cliffs with stunning sea views. Hikers sleep in hikers’ huts and village accommodation. You will also learn a little bit of Xhosa Language and experience the Xhosa food. If you’re hiking at the right time of the year, you will most likely see dolphins and whales.

    Reports of Wild Coast toll road approval “abuse public trust”

    Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

    By Hilary Venables

    Radio reports that the controversial Wild Coast toll road has been approved are not only premature, but part of a deliberate campaign of disinformation by certain members of government, according to opponents of the scheme.

    The SABC carried the claim in a succession of both English and Xhosa bulletins last Sunday, basing it on comments made by the Minister of Co-Operative Governance, Sicelo Shiceka. It’s the second time in a month that the national broadcaster has reported Shiceka as saying the toll road has been given the official go-ahead.

    In fact, no decision has yet been made. A spokesperson for the Department of Water and the Environment, which has yet to consider the application, confirmed that they were still waiting for the report on the Environmental Impact Assessment.

    Social worker John Clarke, a spokesperson for Sustain the Wild Coast and the Amadiba Crisis Committee, said certain politicians were deliberately spreading misinformation.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions?

    2009/06/08

    GOVERNMENT has approved plans for the construction of a toll route through the Wild Coast in the face of fierce opposition from environmentalists and the royal house of AmaMpondo.

    The project, initially intended to take off some 10 years ago, has been stalled by objections from Pondoland communities whose homes the road will cut through, and from environmentalists who fear the ecological impact.

    Environmentalists are also concerned a portion of the road between Lusikisiki and Port Edward will bisect the Pondoland Centre of Endemism (PCE) sections of the proposed Wild Coast/Pondoland National Park.

    The approval of the project, by Minister for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sicelo Shiceka, was justified by the economic spin-offs in an area of severe poverty and disease.

    Red Dunes of Xolobeni - the curse of the black dirt

    • Posted on: 3 June 2009
    • By: JB

    Simon Max Bannister has compiled a brilliant photo essay of his hike around Mzamba and Xolobeni.

    Do yourself a favor and follow this link: simontothemax.blogspot.com and see for yourself the unspoilt beauty of the threatened area.

    Better yet, contact Benny Mbotho on 079-1985 975 / or through Sonya on 074-336 7862 - for a guided day-trip, or longer hike.

    Also do check the rest of Simon's Blog which features some of his fascinating "recycled" artwork.

    How to create a web page on www.wildcoast.co.za

    Instructions:

    Step 1: Create your page by clicking on "Web Page" below the "Create Content" menu.

    Step 2: Add a relevant subject/title for your page (E.g. your business name).

    Step 3: Select your town or area from the drop down menu (E.g. Port St Johns). This step ensures that your page will appear on top of the relevant page. It's last come first served, so newest additions will always appear at the top of the page.

    Step 4: Select the relevant categories from the Tourism entry box (E.g. Accommodation, Cottages, Self catered). You can select multiple categories by holding down the [Ctrl] key on your keyboard.

    Step 5: Optionally enter additional (comma separated keyword tags. (E.g. surf, horse riding, adventure).

    Opinion piece

    • Posted on: 20 May 2009
    • By: JB

    I commented recently about the cabinet ministry changes, and made a similar comment about Buyelwa Sonjica (who is now Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs) and her obvious pro-industrialization inclinations, so I think it's fairly appropriate to post  Tonie Carnie's article published in The Mercury on 13 May 2009.

     

    White Rhino

    Gamekeepers versus poachers in new cabinet May 13, 2009 Edition 1 By Tony Carnie

    President Jacob Zuma's decision to separate some of the "poacher" and "gamekeeper" cabinet ministries seems to make a lot of sense at the structural level, but the proof of the pudding remains in the eating.

    It can be argued that environmental affairs and tourism belong in one ministry because they are closely linked, but there has always been inherent tension between regulating and protecting the environment on one hand and the simultaneous promotion of the commercial imperatives of the tourism sector.

    The same goes for the former union between water affairs and forestry. Protecting our precious water resources also sits uncomfortably with promoting commercial timber plantations, which suck up scarce water and land.

    A somewhat similar scenario of lumping poachers and gamekeepers in one ministry was also apparent in the traditional union between minerals and energy affairs - now separated into two ministries.

    For too long, the minerals sector (often representing the interests of mining giants such as Anglo American, Kumba and BHP Billiton, or the powerful oil and fossil fuel lobby) has been the senior partner in the incestuous marriage with energy affairs.

    Hopefully, the separation will open up the space for the development of cleaner, renewable energy options such as wind, solar and wave energy in the new era of global climate change - though it is unlikely that the "poachers" will fail to guard their strategic turf any less assiduously under the new alignment of cabinet ministries.

    Yet it seems rather ominous that water seems to have assumed senior partner status in the new Ministry of Water and Environmental Affairs.

    It may be a matter of semantics as to which function gets top billing in the title, but elevating "water" above "environment" seems to be an indication that the protection of the environment continues to play second fiddle to economic growth and the utilitarian value of water.  Clean water, clean air and unpolluted soil are all children of the broader environmental parent - not the other way around. It's a bit like creating a ministry of catholic and religious Affairs, which deliberately assumes dominance by the Catholics and relegates the Islamic, Hindu or Anglican faith branches into positions of subservience.

    And what, if anything, can be read into the choice of personalities to head the realigned ministries and departments?

    Marthinus van Schalkwyk certainly seems to have been booted into the sidelines with his appointment as tourism minister. No longer will he enjoy centre stage at the forthcoming world climate change talks in Copenhagen, despite exceeding the expectations of several observers during his tenure as environment minister.

    In his place, Buyelwa Sonjica has been named Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs. Some observers have commented disparagingly about Sonjica's previous position as minerals and energy minister, particularly in relation to the Wild Coast dune mining saga. Sonjica blotted her copybook in the eyes of several environmentalists with her vocal support for the Xolobeni dune mining venture, and worsened this with her crass, racial attack on human rights and labour attorney Richard Spoor, who has acted on behalf of several (black) Xolobeni residents opposed to the mining plan.

    Racial identity should not play any role in raising awareness about the crucial need to protect our deteriorating life-support system - but hopefully Sonjica will now contribute to breaking down some of the abiding perceptions that environmental protection remains the domain of "rich whiteys".

    More to the point, however, it remains to be seen whether Zuma's cabinet will elevate the profile of environmental custodianship or continue to deepen the ruts in the narrow and well-trodden pathway towards economic "progress".

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