Welcome to the Centre for Appropriate Rural Technology's monthly newsletter where we aim to keep you up to date and informed about the ever evolving developments and learning’s in the Sicambeni Village.

With all best wishes for a calm, productive, peaceful - and enjoyable - year ahead.

C.A.R.T. Team Members:

Opportunities at CART

Drama Students:
We are on the look out for drama students and teachers wishing to make an impact on a grass roots level.

If you love to cook from the garden, have green fingers and want to make a difference, please contact us.


Building of Sisonke School


Background: The Sisonke School is a place where children enjoy learning, celebrate their culture and are guided to find their inner individual nature within the context of their environment. Community involvement is encouraged and since opening in January 2008, numbers have increased from 70 – 120 learners.

The issue: The current school facilities have become too small and the land on which it stands has been re-zoned as a residential area. A new (and better) piece of land has been identified and is available for rent. However classrooms and ablutions urgently need to be built and furnished before the start of the new school year. 6 hexagonal classrooms and one ablution facility are required.

What’s being done: The co-coordinators of the Sisonke School and C.A.R.T are currently preparing the land, securing an energy supply and a safe water source. The building design and layout has been agreed upon and the production of raw earth compacted bricks has begun. Teachers, parents and volunteers are all involved and there is much to be done.

The new site is located in Port St Johns, behind the Hub coffee shop, it has a lot of shade and there is enough space to start the nutrition gardens, after all good nutrition is the basis of a healthy mind.



The ACON Connection
Honeycomb homes have come on board and have agreed to supply at extremely discounted rates the galvanized steel structures for the classrooms as well as the support beams and roof.


The hexagonally shaped steel structures are held together with brackets and have a total floor area of26m².The walls are filled in with raw earth bricks with windows intermittently fitted. The finish of the outside walls will be clay, as per the traditional huts in the area.


Children and parents will be involved in this stage of the process. One of the interior walls will be painted with black board paint, forming the focal point of learning. This low cost structure is storm proof and most importantly, removable should the lease discontinue after the specified 2 year period.

From all of us at CART we thank Patrick of honeycomb homes for his commitment to the vision.



Theatre in Sicambe

CART recognises the overwhelming benefits theatre has in conveying sensitive messages to a cross section of people. In the past we have used theatre to address; the hygiene issues associated with this year’s cholera outbreak, improved awareness on HIV and aids as well as animal welfare issues in the area. Due to these successes we have put together a proposal to build an amphitheatre right in the heart of the village. Theater acts as a tool in:

Education, opening up a communication between cultures through physical bodily expression and thus stressing the importance of our African heritage.

Bringing people together in a positive way - Funerals, government grant days, church meetings and drinking venues are reasons for community gatherings, most are ineffective in stimulating personal growth. A theatre offers a forum and place of gathering for people to share ideas and openly express themselves in a non threatening manner.

Volunteer involvement - A volunteer at Sisonke School, who is a theatre student, took an interest in this idea and executed a program during her stay. She worked with the children at Sisonke School as well as with the boys from the local orphanage in creating awareness about issues that arise out of a rural lifestyle. For example, the students at Sisonke School created a skit about the effects of hunting and eating monkeys. They were able to evoke a feeling within the audience as to how such acts on monkeys are. The teachers at the school were enthusiastic about the play and the children were very receptive.She has also left behind a sustainable program for which the future volunteers of Sisonke can use.




Helping the PSJ Animal Welfare Initiative

The beginning of a well structured animal clinic emerged under the trees behind the museum in PSJ under the guidance of Richard and his partner. They identified the following basic requirements:


A sterile, mobile environment, converted from a trailer, for operations such as sterilizations, inoculations, amputations and cleaning and stitching deep wounds.
Temporary dog holding facilities such as a kennel with a roof and a small deck off the kennel for the dogs to have a spot to relax in the sun.
Humane dog traps in order to catch feral dogs that are potentially carrying rabies.
A renovated caravan to be used as on site accommodation for an animal care giver.

C.A.R.T. intends to create something similar for Sicambeni.


11 November 2009: Animal Welfare
C.A.R.T. joined in the initiative along with Sicambeni locals, Notha, Bobobo, Mabiki, Chase and Abongile. They gathered up all the electrical tools they could get their hands on and went right to work on the clinic. This was a physical and practical learning experience for all and it was fantastic! What was amazing was the education regarding animals and animal diseases is now deeper imbedded within those who participated. They will take their new skills to their community to share.



Rural Wildlife Operations

The mentality on wildlife here in Sicambeni seems to be this “We have been hunting and eating things that come out of the forest for so many years and its okay.”

C.A.R.T. has began to build a relationship with Monkey Helpline, an organization dedicated to keeping the monkey and wildlife population in South Africa safe from its human predators. C.A.R.T and Steven and Carol of Monkey Helpline will be assisting each other with drafting tailored, educational strategies appropriate to rural life.


Transkei Coffee Company (Transkei Gold)

We are well on our way to establishing a thriving coffee industry right here at C.A.R.T and are already selling bags of the coffee throughout South Africa.


P.S.J. Bee Keeping Association
Through the work of the TCC, C.A.R.T met Enoch, the leader of the Port St. Johns bee keeping association, a group of 12 local entrepreneurs hoping to create a business producing and selling honey. 


We will keep you informed on this story as it unfolds.