Solar collectors in Suid Bokkeveld, South Africa

South Africa is the home of our rooibos tea. Many people in the Suid Bokkeveld region have had to manage without electricity for a long time. Lemonaid & ChariTea Foundation has helped with solar energy units.

In the years of the apartheid regime, only white farmers were allowed to cultivate and market rooibos tea in any quantity. In the year 2001, fourteen smallholders from Suid Bokkelveld founded the Heiveld cooperative, and thus made history. To this day, Heiveld, along with a neighbouring cooperative, is the only collaboration between those from population groups formerly designated as “coloured”. Their work together therefore is a great piece of symbolism. But in spite of the new perspectives offered, there are a lot of unsolved problems in Suid Bokkeveld. For example, the region still isn’t connected to the national grid. The inhabitants manage with generators, or just use candlelight and fire.

The role of Lemonaid & ChariTea Foundation

So, the Lemonaid & ChariTea Foundation, working with the NGO „Indigo Development & Change“, developed a solar energy system that is not only easy to use but which can be maintained and repaired without any great technical knowledge. Energy can be used more safely, ecologically and cheaply. The risk of fire, generally very high in that dry area, is minimised. The smallholders, and particularly their children, are not only provided with light but also, thanks to the electricity, have access to vital communication media. In the first step, solar systems for 20 households were installed and the residents trained in their use. Additionally, the Lemonaid & ChariTea Foundation helped to train up local “solar engineers” that could help out in the community with their know-how.

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