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History | Umthathi Training Project


Umthathi Training Project, is an NGO, based in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape Province and was founded in 1992 to provide skills training to craft producers from the Grahamstown townships. Its services rapidly expanded and by mid 1993, Umthathi was being directed towards self-sufficiency training through research into the training needs in the Eastern Cape, coupled with requests from local communities.

The Community and Home Food Gardening Programme was initiated in 1993 with members of the Grahamstown Township. Participants came from a cross-section of impoverished communities including several informal settlements. In 1998, the 3-year School Gardens Programme was started in 4 township schools and now services 40 township and rural schools. Umthathi was registered as a Non Profit Organisation with the Department of Social Development in October 2000.

In 2001, the organisation began working with rural communities and townships in a 150 km radius from Grahamstown, which extended to a 200 km radius from 2004. Work on the concept of the Africulture Programme began in late 2003 in response to increasing scarcity of wild indigenous medicinal plants and the development of draft legislation affecting traditional healthcare and biodiversity conservation in South Africa.


... and in the Xhosa culture, it symbolises strength and renewal of life. This is the ideal underlying of our vision, which is to reawaken the skills that lie dormant in poor and disadvantaged communities. People need to be reminded that they posses the strength to change their lives and those of others. By gaining more skills they can better their own lives, and ultimately use these skills to train others, thereby not only creating employment for themselves, but also uplifting other lives.