Sustaining the Wild Coast (SWC)

News Update    

Pondoland Cultural Heritage Fair at Port St Johns

SWC Info

Our Sponsor 

tourismZA are sponsors of our newsletter and online communication capabilities.  tourismZA - Connecting you to tourism in South Africa.

Hello from the Wild Coast

The Pondoland villages of Noqhekwana (Poenskop) and Mthambalala are holding an amaMpondo Cultural Heritage Fair at Poenskop beach near Port St. John's on Friday 22 February, starting at 10h00. The day is intended to generate an interest and awareness of amaMpondo heritage amongst youth, locals, tourists and the media by highlighting local customs, culture, dance and traditional and wild foods.

Spokesperson Sinegugu Zukulu says "Local people have realized that they are losing a lot of their culture and customs that would be of great value if preserved, so these communities have undertaken to host a cultural heritage day in order to revive and rescue the dwindling cultural heritage of amaMpondo. The event is targeting young people and tourists from the town of Port St John's. These two villages are joining hands to revive the heritage of amaMpondo by hosting a cultural day during which they will showcase traditional food varieties, traditional dances, traditional attire, etc.  Elders are very excited about the event as they see is as a way to educate the young ones about their heritage."

The event will be held at Noqhekwana also known as Poenskop, overlooking the beach. Holiday makers and visitors to Port St John's are encouraged to attend. The attendance fee is R10, which also covers a fee for food tastings. Local groups of traditional dancers will be on hand to entertain people.

Amongst other things the following will be on display:

Dancers will showcase the following styles of traditional dance:- Iindlavini, Isijadu, Iqubulo, Ibhundela, Imbongi

Traditional Food dishes that will be on display and available for tasting include:-

  • Isigwampa - green pap
  • Isigwampa sikagcamche- a mixture of maize-meal with wild vegetables that are gathered from the indigenous forest
  • Iguluda /isigwaqani -mixture of beans and maize-meal
  • Umqa /isidudu - mixture of pumpkin and maize-meal
  • Umqhavunyeko wombona omtsha - mixture of fresh maize and beans
  • Iphalitshi yontshuku- mordica foetida porridge
  • Ilaxa- Wild spinach
  • Inkobe - boiled dry maize
  • Inxoxha yethanga- boiled insides of a pumpkin
  • Amabholo- small pumpkin
  • Isonka sombona omtsha- bread made of fresh maize
  • Ibhanqa- boiled fresh maize
  • Amarhewu - sour porridge
  • Umxhaxha- mixture of fresh maize, small pumpkin and green veggies
  • Incasha/ugcado- grilled maize
  • Umkhupha- homemade bread
  • Ikaluka- samp
  • Isicukwana- mixture of sour porridge and papa
  • Umqombothi- traditional beer
  • Amadumbe- yams

School groups, tourists, media and anyone else is welcome to attend. For more information please contact the following:

Sinegugu Zukulu: 072 4285 109

Nokwanda Langazana: 082 0673 861

Thembi (Poenskop): 073 5529 457

Nosiniko (Mthambalala) 076 3613 551



Sustaining the Wild Coast website  




News report on the death of King Sigcau

The late King Thandizulu Sigcau helped protect the wild coast from "greedy foreigners" who wanted to mine there, President Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday.

"Sigcau was known for taking a stand against the mining of the Wild Coast, saying that it would destroy endangered species for the short-term commercial profit of greedy foreigners," said Zuma in a statement.

King Thandizulu Sigcau, of the AmaMpondo ase Qaukeni, in the Eastern Cape died in the Nelson Mandela Academic hospital, in Mthatha on Monday night after suffering a stroke.

He had served the amaMpondo since December 1978.

In 2011, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu withdrew the Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources' (TEMR) mining rights at Xolobeni, on the Pondoland Coast.

However, in May last year, the company re-applied for a prospecting licence.

According to, Sigcau said at the time that he was "alarmed that the traditional leaders of the affected area have not been correctly approached in terms of custom and tradition and that we are only learning about this latest application through other sources".

On Wednesday, Zuma said Sicgau was "a great and admired leader, who worked tirelessly for his people, building traditional institutions and preserving the Mpondo heritage".

Zuma is currently hosting the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China at the Fifth Brics Summit in Durban.

The leaders of the five countries had been expected to sign a number of agreements, such as the formation of the Brics Business Council, an agreement to establish a think-tank, and an agreement on the proposed

Brics Bank. - Sapa

Wild Coast Capacity Building by SWC
SWC continues to invest in capacity building amongst rural communities along the Pondoland Wild Coast, with the belief that it is only by empowering people with suitable resources, networks and the capacity to make informed decisions about their future, that equitable human development can take place.

Read more here


Being studied bt SWC and the Amadiba Crisis Committee.

Read more here

Sustaining the Wild Coast (SWC)

News Update    

Wild Coast Faces New Mining Threat 

SWC Info

Our Sponsor 

tourismZA are sponsors of our newsletter and online communication capabilities.  tourismZA - Connecting you to tourism in South Africa.

Hello from the Wild Coast

SWC are highly concerned that the Department of Mineral Resources is entertaining new attempts by MRC, the Australian company with an interest in mining the Wild Coast, and their South African subsidiary TEM, to renew their prospecting licence for the Kwanyana block at Xolobeni along Pondoland's Wild Coast.

MRC/ TEM's prospecting licence relapsed after their application for a mining licence was turned down for a failure to comply with necessary regulations.  A renewal of the prospecting licence would open the way for a renewal of their mining right application.  A report by John Clarke, "Co-option, subversion and offensive exploitation: The failure of co-operative governance for the Amadiba community of the Eastern Cape"  highlights extensive evidence of violations and abuses of human rights and the undermining of democratic and legislative procedures by MRC and TEM in their pursuit of mining in the Wild Coast region. Given the nature of the allegations in Clarke's report, SWC strongly questions how DMR could possibly consider renewing MRC /TEM's prospecting licence before the concerns and issues highlighted in Clarke's report are fully investigated and satisfactorily resolved?

The following report by Fiona MaCleod, Mail and Guardian, summarizes reasons for our concerns.

The full report by John Clarke can be accessed from the SWC website under the archives tab.

For more information:

John GI Clarke ,, or 083 608 0944

Sustaining the Wild Coast website  



Wild Coast faces new mining threat  


15 JUN 2012 08:40 - FIONA MACLEOD  


President Jacob Zuma's office has been drawn into the fight to halt the proposed mining of the Wild Coast dunes, writes Fiona Macleod.  

The presidency was this week drawn into the heated debate over mining the Wild Coast, after Australian company Mineral Commodities launched a new application for prospecting rights in the mineral-rich protected area. 
John Clarke, a social worker representing local communities and environmental organisations, sent a detailed report on the ongoing mining debacle to Collins Chabane, the minister in the president's office responsible for performance monitoring and evaluation, asking him to intervene. 
The report, documenting how several government officials had thwarted the Amadiba community in their fight against plans to mine heavy minerals in the dunes of the Wild Coast over the past decade, was also sent to six other Cabinet ministers. 
"These ministers have collectively failed in their constitutional obligation of co-operative government by allowing a disgraceful situation to develop on the Wild Coast with respect to the Xolobeni mining versus ecotourism issue," Clarke said. 
"The report is a stinging indictment of the ANC's ambivalence over mining policy due to vested interests, the erosion of the rule of law and the emasculation of the traditional leadership system because it has been the only governance system that has served local land rights." 
It asked Chabane to investigate alleged corruption involving high-level officials, the deaths of at least two local community members and the beating of schoolchildren by police. The report also alleged the intimidation of anti-mining residents and the deliberate sabotage of a closely knit community to further commercial goals. 
Presidency chief of staff Kgomotso Maaroganye said Chabane had received the report, but spokesperson Harold Maloka was unable to comment on its contents. Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Richard Baloyi also confirmed receipt of the report. 
Xolobeni residents have put up a united front against the new prospecting application in the wake of public consultations convened late last month by Mineral Commodities' South African subsidiary, Transworld Energy & Mineral Resources, and its empowerment partner, Xolco. According to the companies, Xolobeni contains the 10th largest heavy mineral deposit in the world. 
"The whole community is against mining. Out of the 300 people at our meeting maybe 10 would have supported it because of jobs, but they were silent," said Mzamo Dlamini, chairperson of the Amadiba crisis committee, a conflict resolution structure set up under the traditional leadership system. 
The mining companies held public consultations as part of the process stipulated by the mineral affairs department for prospecting rights to be granted. The companies applied for new rights after Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu last July revoked a mining licence granted to Mineral Commodities in 2008. 
Economic activity 
The amaMpondo royal house said mining was a short-term economic activity with long-term negative impacts, whereas ecotourism could have an unlimited lifespan. 
"Mining the Wild Coast is simply absurd. It can be likened to the slaughter of rhino for their horns: the destruction of endangered species of life for the short-term commercial profit of greedy foreigners," said amaMpondo King Justice Mpondombini Sigcau.  
Once thriving ecotourism ventures had suffered badly with the prospect of mining hanging over their heads, said Val Payn, spokesperson for non-governmental organisation Sustaining the Wild Coast. "Mining totally undermines the lifestyles communities live here and the kind of development they want," she said.  
"Reports that the communities are divided over this issue are a misrepresentation. The only people who support mining are those who live outside the areas that will be affected and who want jobs." 
Xolobeni in the second-most species-rich floristic region in Southern Africa. It is part of a protected area and commercial mining or prospecting can only take place with the written permission of both the ministers of environmental affairs and mineral resources. 
Co-operative governance 
The two ministers this week received copies of Clarke's report, titled "Co-option, subversion and offensive exploitation: The failure of co-operative governance for the Amadiba community of the Eastern Cape". It was also sent to the ministers of transport, police, tourism, rural development, and co-operative governance and traditional affairs. 
It documented several alleged violations committed since mining became a serious option in the area, including the murder of a subheadman, Mandoda Ndovela, in 2003 and the suspicious death of anti-mining resident Scorpion Dimane in January 2008.  
Other allegations included collusion between the mining companies and high-level officials in the departments of minerals and trade and industry; the suppression of crucial environmental information by a corrupt official in the environmental department; and the submission of false and fraudulent information by the mining companies to the mineral resources department. 
Pupils at a junior school in Xolobeni were beaten by police in September 2008 in apparent frustration over Shabangu's withdrawal of the mining rights, Clarke said. Three policemen allegedly lined them up and hit them with sjamboks. 
"Each and every child in the school was beaten. The majority of the learners were from homesteads in the affected area and knew that their parents were overwhelmingly opposed to the award of the mining rights, and felt obliged to obey their parents," he said. 
Underlying problems 
Clarke said these incidents had been reported to the Human Rights Commission, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, the public protector and the Cape Law Society, with mixed results but scant progress. 
"The community and civil society can only do so much. Unless government co-operates with them to uphold the rule of law and restore a climate of peace, the underlying problems will continue to fester and undermine their efforts to promote sustainable livelihoods and revive the community-based ecotourism initiatives that once thrived," he said. 
Transworld spokesperson Andrew Lashbrooke said, although he had not seen the report, Clarke's allegations had not gone anywhere because they had no substance. 
"He has made complaints and laid charges against us, but all the officials have come back to him and said there is no case to answer," he said. 
Lashbrooke said most people who had attended the recent public consultations were in favour of mining, "but some people are more vocal than others. History has shown that the opponents are in the minority."