Community Newsletter – December 2019

by | Dec 31, 2019 | Community Blog

In the spirit of Christmas

We hosted a Christmas Party for the children at Tiyimiseleni Home Based Care Centre on the 30th of November, just as schools were about to close for the holidays and Christmas festivities were beginning. The children and carers treated us to a variety of traditional songs and dances, spurred on by a local DJ.


Next came the presents… and lots of them! Each child received a special gift – all made possible by our generous sponsors.

And finally, the children were treated to a tasty lunch, kindly sponsored by KFC Add Hope.

A good day was had by all! A very special thank-you to all our sponsors – we could not have done it without you!

Some days are simply meant for playing!

The maintenance team from Savanna spent some time giving the jungle gyms at Tiyimiseleni a much-needed revamp. The roof, bridge and swing barrel were repaired, and many loose planks and nails were knocked back into place. Now for a fresh coat of paint, and they’ll look as good as new! Luckily for us, we have already received a donation of paint for the jungle gyms and we hope to start painting as soon as the centre opens again in the New Year.

Comrades Marathon

Thelma Nyathi, a carer at Tiyimiseleni, is a passionate runner. She came in 2nd place in the Ladies’ 10km Extra Mile Train Run in September and has just qualified for the Comrades Marathon. Well done, Thelma!

Unfortunately, the costs involved in participating in the Comrades Marathon are quite high, and out of her reach. This includes registration fees, travelling costs and accommodation expenses. Should any fellow runners out there be interested in helping her achieve this dream, please do get in touch with Jen on

Christmas Celebrations

Shoprite Bushbuckridge and Savanna joined forces recently to help Hlayisekani Nursing Home host a Christmas Party for the residents. Shoprite donated everything for a delicious feast AND cooked everything as well! They also kindly donated essential items like cleaning products and food to make sure that Hlayisekani had everything they needed this festive season.

Important members of the Huntington community were also present, and shared kind words with the residents, as well as expressing their thanks to Nyiko Mokoena and his team for everything they do. Lenox Khosa, a carer at the Nursing Home, couldn’t help but get the residents on their feet dancing.

We ended off the party with a dessert buffet of cake, ice cream, custard and fresh watermelon. What a feast!

Hlayisekani Vegetable Garden

October and November were decidedly hot and dry in the Lowveld, and unfortunately did some damage to the vegetable garden at the Nursing Home. However, we purchased seedlings of butternut, beetroot, spinach, cabbage and tomatoes, and the staff planted them just in time for the first real rains. They are doing well, and we look forward to the next harvest.


The vegetables grown in the garden are staple items in the meals for the residents and help reduce food costs at the Nursing Home. The Chief of Huntington has kindly allocated more land to Hlayisekani, and Nyiko is envisaging creating a bigger vegetable garden and possibly investing in chickens. This would mean more food for the residents, less money spent and, best of all, a way to keep the residents occupied and entertained.


As we mentioned in our last Newsletter, there is quite a lot of work to be done at the Nursing Home to fall in line with the requirements set out by the Department of Social Development. Last month, Nyiko was hard at work contacting the families of the residents of Hlayisekani to ask if anyone was in a position to donate the materials needed to build the new office. The families responded immediately and Nyiko received cement, bricks, doors, windows with burglar bars, paint, curtains and funds for labour costs. The walls are up, the windows are in and all that remains to be done is the roof, electrical wiring and plastering.

Once the new office is complete, we will begin converting the current offices into a sluice and mortuary room as Hlayisekani is required by the Department of Health to have these rooms. Should anyone like to hear more about the forthcoming conversions, or would like to donate towards these efforts, please contact Jen at

Justicia Community Initiatives

Brother’s Service Community Development is an initiative in the communities around the Sabi Sand that aims to help schoolgirls find their place in the world. Brother’s Service has a holistic approach and focuses on anything and everything that might affect young women. From family planning to environmental awareness, Rifumo Nonyane and his team work hard to support and educate the young women. Savanna recently supported their fantastic effort to clean up the road leading to Sabi Sand Newington Gate! We filled numerous refuse bags with litter collected from the side of the road and Rifumo arranged for the local municipality to remove the collected waste and dispose of it in an appropriate place. This project highlighted the desperate need we have for better and bigger waste removal services and recycling initiatives in the communities around the Sabi Sand.

Huntington Community Initiatives

Lydia Ngobeni, a member of the Huntington Emmanuel Church, organises food parcels for widows, orphans and vulnerable children twice a year. The Savanna Trust was able to contribute to this initiative in December, and we were invited to attend the handover on Sunday, 22nd of December. Lydia had identified 36 families in need in Huntington village. She arranged food parcels consisting of donated staple food items like maize meal, oil and rice to make sure that the families in need were well-fed and cared for as they approached the end of 2019. Thank you to Lydia and Huntington Emmanuel Church for your kindness!

Wishing all our readers and sponsors a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

With warm wishes
The Savanna Trust Team