Hleketani Community Garden in N’wamitwa, South Africa – the farm that inspired the award-winning film The Thinking Garden – was founded in 1992. It was a year of severe drought in Southern Africa and a time of widespread hunger. Now approaching its 30th anniversary, this women’s farm is still going strong. The garden supplies sustainably produced, nutritious vegetables to farmers’ households, AIDS-affected community members, and the wider community; generates dignified local livelihoods (farming, vegetable sales, manure sales); and nurtures resilience. When the farm was founded the country was in the midst of the tumultuous transition from apartheid to non-racial democracy. Under apartheid rural areas had long been impoverished and treated mainly as a source of labour for industry and the cities. Even today, the project to build food security and prosperity in rural areas is in its infancy. This community enterprise is making a substantial contribution.
For information about the inspiring farmers at Hleketani, please visit ‘The Farmers’ page.
For information on funding priorities in 2019, please visit the ‘Donate’ page.
This website is managed by Elizabeth Vibert of the History Department at the University of Victoria, Canada, with the help of a team of student research assistants. Elizabeth has been working on a ‘biography of a farm’ oral history research project with the women of Hleketani Community Garden since 2012. The documentary film The Thinking Garden (dir. Christine Welsh) was released in March 2017. Articles based in this research have been published in the Journal of Contemporary African Studies, Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Politikon, and other venues.
Hleketani Community Garden is one of the community partners in the SSHRC-funded transnational research project Four Stories About Food Sovereignty.