The training centre is a revolving unit for good practice in sustainable systems. The design layout demonstrates the successful integration of various permaculture components such as water management (rain water harvesting, grey and black water treatment, buffer zones), soil management (erosion control, composting, mulching, earthworm farming, agro-forestry), agronomy (fruit & veg), plant propagation (plant nursery, seed saving), herbs and medicinal plants, renewable energy, waste management, crafts, horticulture, apiculture, aquaculture, small livestock (sheep, goats, poultry), food processing.
To complement the units at the Centre, John Nzira provides Education and Training for communities, Schools and individuals in the following areas: Basic primary health care (nutrition, HIV/AIDS, herbs & medicinal), Biodiversity conservation, Climate change adaptation & mitigation, Appropriate natural energy, Waste management and recycling, Entrepreneurship.
About Mr John Nzira
John Nzira is a specialist in Permaculture and urban farming. He has two decades of experience working for government and NGOs in community development teaching and practicing Permaculture.
He received his Permaculture training in Zimbabwe at Fambidzanai Permaculture Institute and further training with Bill Mollison the founder of Permaculture in the late 1980s. John was instrumental in bringing Permaculture to Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland Mozambique and South Africa. In South Africa he introduced Permaculture to the Mpumalanga Province through his work with the Mpumalanga Parks Board. The Mpumalanga Department of Environmental Affairs adapted Permaculture for Environmental Education Centres and introduced it to surrounding communities within the province.
John has authored and co-authored a number of books and has received international sponsorship for training in Environmental Education and Ecological Agriculture in Canada, USA and Israel and has won the following awards;
- MTK Award GDARD First prize, Ambassador for Community Projects 2011
- MTK Award GDARD First prize, Water and Environmental Management 2011
- Post Bank Community Sector: Climate Change Leadership Award First prize 2010
- MTK Award Department of Agriculture Gauteng First prize 2009
- Landcare Nation Champion category first prize 2009
- MTK Award Department of Agriculture Gauteng first prize 2006
- Silver Gilt medal Chelsea Flower Show – UK Royal Horticultural Society 2006
- DEAT Conserva individual award 1996
Before and after images of Ukuvuna Training Center
Rainwater harvesting and storage at Ukuvuna centre
Natural method of grey water treatment towards creating a wetland.
Rain tanks collect the run-off water from the roof of the buildings. The tanks feed each other with the run-off water. Use the tanks to store water and keep fish in water. The fish fertilize the water which we use to irrigate our crops. The fish is also source of protein for the family. The fish are fed by the vegetables from the garden.
Greywater from the house is carefully channelled into the water plants / reed bed. It is filtered and cleaned then its used to water fruit trees and indigenous tree gardens. Water plants include Cyperus, Papryrus, Iris, Pseudacorus, Artemisia Afra, Willow, Koko Tree, Pelargonium sidiodes, Rue, Herb of grace. These multi-purpose plants are good for providing materials for making baskets, hats, mats, roof ceiling etc. They are non-invasive indigenous plants and they attract wild life.
Greater Kyalami Conservancy – GARDENERS TRAINING by JOHN NZIRA
In October 2011 John Nzira started a gardener’s projects in the Kyalami area of Midrand in conjunction with the Conservancy to up-skill local gardeners.
The project consisted of 8 units, 1 day a month for 8 months. 23 learners attended the training. Below is the success of one of the learners – Maxwell Khumalo
Maxwell had done a little training with Ukuvuna previously and attended the GEKCO gardener’s project. He implemented the Permaculture design showing good water saving, mulching and composting. He did very good companion planting and as a result he had a very healthy and successful crop of wonderful nutritious organic food. He started picking veggies from his garden on the 1st December. Below are examples of Maxwell’s intensive mulching and water saving which helps to create an abundant harvesting. Maxwell continues to use his knowledge, training others in Permaculture design. He is the assistant trainer for Future Seed.
Below are examples of intensive mulching and water saving, hence the abundant harvesting.