The new intimate connection between people and food is known as Farm to Table. Before urbanisation people lived close to, and knew the people who grew their food.  People purchased their food directly from the farmer or from their local market−they knew who to compliment if the food was tasty and ripe. 

Mr Shadreck Ndlovu (senior grower) left and Mr William Mpuso right

In the modern world we have become accustomed to eating food that is mass produced and moved around the country and the world by interconnecting highways and flight paths.  We seem to have erased the connection with our food which often arrives in packaging and rarely in its  raw natural state. 

In South Africa we are blessed with an ideal climate, a diverse landscape and fertile soil. Soil is a collective terms for all the organisms living within it. Soil has been described as life itself, its miraculous structure is the balance of a source of nutrients and water, which provides the source of life for humans and all other living creatures. 

The EMS Foundation and Shambala Private Game Reserve rolled out the delivery of emergency food parcels during the COVID-19 global pandemic.  These were delivered in the provinces of Limpopo, Gauteng, and the Western Cape in South Africa. 

Realising that providing food for a large amount of school children and their families was unsustainable, the EMS Foundation and the management of Shambala Private Game Reserve decided to expand upon the success of their own vegetable garden. 

The Shambala Private Game Reserve has been reconnecting people with the rich soil of the Limpopo Province. The vegetable garden at Shambala is so successful that they not only supplied organic fresh vegetables to the guests at Shambala but also to the guests of the   Saxon Hotel and the excess vegetables are gifted to members of the local communities situated closest to Shambala. 

Shambala and the EMS Foundation have established highly productive and organic food gardens at three local schools that are situated in the same district as Shambala. The schools are Boschdraai Primary School in Vaalwater, EA Davidson Primary School in Vaalwater and Moshia Secondary School in Alma. A fourth school, in Leseding in Limpopo will be added in 2022. 

The establishment of these food gardens has not only provided much needed local employment but importantly these gardens are providing food security and highly nutritious meals to the children on a daily basis.  

The children and the community members are benefitting from organically grown vegetables, this method of farming promotes ecological balance and biodiversity, enhances soil and water quality and conserves ecosystems and wildlife. The concentration of antioxidants is substantially higher in organic produce compared with conventionally grown vegetables. 

Nelson Mandela, the South African anti-apartheid icon, and the first president of the new democratic South Africa lived at the home of the Steyn family before he became President. This home now forms part of the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg−the Presidential suite is named and decorated in his honour.  Nelson Mandela also spent time relaxing and reconnecting with nature at Shambala, in a house that was built especially for his private use.  

In 2002 Nelson Mandela said, “Giving children a healthy start in life, no matter where they are born or the circumstances of their birth, is the moral obligation of every one of us”. It is therefore entirely fitting that his legacy to end hunger is living on in these vegetable gardens. 

Images: Shambala Private Game Reserve

©The EMS Foundation 2021. All Rights Reserved.




Most humans are spoilt for choice when they walk into stores and take their pick, often without hesitation, from a selection of hundreds of different styles, colours and brands of shoes. However, this privilege that is so often taken for granted is not available to everyone.  Millions of people do not own a single pair of shoes. 

The importance of shoes should not be overlooked.  Shoes provide vital protection and comfort. Many children in rural Southern Africa do not have shoes, it is difficult and dangerous for them to walk to school through rough terrain especially in the cold winter months. 

Whilst no child chooses to be born into poverty, the high rate of unemployment which has been exacerbated by the COVID_19 global pandemic has led to increased poverty in many parts of South Africa. 

Footwear improves the quality of life, provides protection, prevents injury and disease. Not all feet are perfect, so properly fitting shoes can help align feet, ankles, knees, hips and back to correct and improve posture. 

In most cultures shoes are representative of social status or an extension of one’s self, shoes can effect perception of others as well as ourselves. 

In September 2021, the EMS Foundation and the Shambala Private Reserve donated 600 pairs of shoes to children in the Vaalwater district of Limpopo. Through our partnership we are committed to an on-going support of the children in that area.

The Mayor and the Limpopo Department of Education identified the children in most need of a pair of shoes, and together with management of Shambala Private Game Reserve were on hand to assist with the delivery of the shoes.

©The EMS Foundation 2021. All Rights Reserved.




“There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river.  We need to go upstream and find out why they are falling in.” Desmond Tutu

A brilliant academic, accepted into the Witwatersrand Medical School but unable to afford the tuition, Desmond Tutu enrolled at the Bantu Normal College and elected to study teaching. In 1955 Desmond Tutu started his career as a high school teacher after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Teacher’s Diploma. 

Disillusioned with the Bantu Education Act which offered black students only a rudimentary education he enrolled at St Peter’s Theological College where he studied Anglican doctrine and Christian Ethics.  He studied further at King’s College, London and obtained a Bachelor of Divinity Honours and a Masters of Theology.    Desmond Tutu was the first black African man to be appointed as Dean of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg.  He will always be most remembered for his contribution towards the peaceful liberation in South Africa, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. After serving as Bishop of Johannesburg in 1985 and Archbishop of Cape Town in 1986, he was elected as President of All African Conference of Churches in 1987. He played a pivotal role in South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In recognition of his love of literature and education Tutu has been awarded numerous honory degrees and many schools and scholarships have been named after him. 

The Shambala Private Reserve in Limpopo has played a positive role in the lives of many young people living in the surrounding rural communities. Shambala and the EMS Foundation have, together, concentrated on educational and food security initiatives in order to bring about positive and tangible change. 

Education is the key to success. Shambala and the EMS Foundation know that increased access to education can contribute to reducing poverty.  Acquiring basic skills such as reading, writing and numeracy have a documented positive effect on marginalized population incomes. 

The aptly named, Tutudesk, is a Proudly South African product that is locally produced, supporting local employment and the development of the South African economy.   Made from a blend of materials the portable desk is child-friendly weighing less than 1 kilogram, the desks are certainly robust.

It is impossible to work hard at school if you do not have the correct tools.  Having a school desk is of the upmost importance. Shambala Private Game Reserve and the EMS Foundation have donated thousands of Tutudesks to learners in Limpopo Province. 

These images were taken by Shambala Private Game Reserve in September 2021. The desks are well loved and are serving an important purpose.

Happy 90th Birthday Desmond Tutu from everyone at Shambala and the EMS Foundation.  May you continue to inspire all young South Africans. 

©The EMS Foundation 2021. All Rights Reserved.



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