Pre-Conference Site-Visits (educational fieldtrips/tours)

Pre-Conference Site Visits are scheduled for 5 December 2107.

To attend either a half day or full day Pre-Conference Site Visit, you should arrive in Grahamstown on 4 December. Book your preferred Pre-Conference Site Visit in advance, as numbers will be limited to 24 delegates per excursion. A small additional fee is required to cover your meals and transport, and should be paid at the time of registration. Places are allocated on a first paid, first secured basis. Note that Pre-Conference Workshops will run concurrently with the Pre-Conference Site Visits You can therefore choose either a workshop or an excursion for 5 December, but not both.

Please note that short walking tours will be on offer during the conference programme (6-8 December). These will be free of charge and you can book one at the start of the conference. For the tourist experience of the beaches and game parks of the Eastern Cape and the rest of South Africa, we encourage you to make your own arrangements as soon as possible. Please be advised that our annual summer holiday season starts on 6 December, so if you are lucky enough to have some holiday time, do make those bookings immediately.

Pre-Conference Site Visits:

  1. Amanzi for Food and Fort Hare (full day trip)
  2. Bathurst Art Collective (full day trip) 
  3. Eastcape Midlands College, Volkswagen and Addo Park (full day trip)
  4. Makana Municipality Public Works Programme (half day trip)
  5. Umthathi (half day trip)


Amanzi for Food and University of Fort Hare

Make an early morning start for a full day’s tour of the Amanzi for Food programme and learning network, and Fort Hare, one of South Africa’s oldest universities.

An estimated 59% of 13.7 million households in the country are food insecure. The Amanzi for Food research programme in the Amathole district, 130 km from Grahamstown, takes an action-oriented, expansive learning approach to knowledge co-creation, dissemination and training around water harvesting, conservation and use in homestead and cropland food production. It has over three years successfully mediate across the borders between universities, agricultural colleges, municipality, extension services, farmers and farmers’ associations, and recently received Rhodes University’s Vice Chancellor’s Award for Community Engagement. Amanzi for Food achieved its outcomes through innovation in the development of a ‘change practices’ course activating a learning network, rather than pursuing the research‐develop‐disseminate‐adopt strategy that is popular among scientific experts. Meet farmers and lecturers at Fort Cox Agricultural College, and see their farms and teaching gardens. 

On the way we will stop at the University of Fort Hare, the first higher education institution for black South Africans. Classes began in 1916 with just 20 students. Today, Fort Hare is a multi-campus institution with a student body of over 12,000. The De Beers Centenary Art Gallery houses an exhibition narrating Fort Hare’s turbulent and determined history of ideological uprising, struggles for freedom and the making of great minds and leaders. The Gallery also has a significant collection of South African art including the works of icons such as George Pemba and Gerald Sekoto, and traditional African beadwork, utilitarian objects and costumes.


Bathurst Art Collective

A comfortable one-hour bus drive through the rural Eastern Cape will take us to the village of Bathurst, where artists, academics, and amaXhosa families seek a good quality of life amid the ever present threat of poverty.  From this tranquil haven artist Tori Stowe creates products for national high end chain stores and boutiques, in the process also creating markets for locally produced fabrics and opportunities for others to make a living through arts and crafts. Meet Tori and other artists who seized the opportunity to make a novel kind of living where unemployment is rife. Enjoy the scenery, the creativity and the local produce while contemplating how work and learning can be enhanced through global connections and well used technology in country side pockets. and for examples of the work produced.


Eastcape Midlands College and Volkswagen Training Academy

This full day excursion takes us 135 km south of Grahamstown to the industrial area of Uitenhage, where we will visit the Volkswagen factory and a campus of the Eastcape Midlands College, which serves among other roles as a training academy for the Eastern Cape province’s automobile industry. The students at this vocational college come from the Nelson Mandela metropole, as well as the rural western part of the province. The college is challenged to provide for the needs of an advanced industrial economy on the one hand and a widespread rural area with high rates of unemployment and poverty, as well as the low educational achievement in many of the Eastern Cape’s primary and secondary schools.

We will also visit the Volkswagen manufacturing plant to see skills in action. Volkswagen established five Learning Academies in 2009 to provide advanced training for its employees, and to offer training services to local suppliers and businesses in general. These academies specialise in production, leadership, technical, commercial, and sales and marketing, and are supported by a sophisticated learner management system.

On the way home the excursion may offer (to be confirmed) a drive through the Addo Elephant Park. Addo is the only national park in South Africa that offers the “big 7”: the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, rhinoceros, sharks and whales! Although our excursion will not include the two marine biggies, there is a good chance of seeing at least the ellies!!

Lead Person: Mr Klasie Claassen, Registrar: Institutional Development and Occupational Training


Makana Municipality Expanded Public Works Programme

This excursion within a 7 km radius around Grahamstown will explore the Makana Municipality’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). The EPWP is a nationwide programme involving all spheres of government and state-owned enterprises.  It provides in the short to medium-term an avenue for labour absorption, income transfers, and skills development for poor households who mostly have limited education levels. It is therefore a deliberate attempt by public sector bodies to use expenditure on goods and services to increase the labour intensity of government-funded infrastructure projects under the Infrastructure sector, and create work opportunities through the Non-Profit Organisation,

Programme and Community Work Programmes, in the Environment and Culture sector and Social sector, and to provide participants training and enterprise development support. The Makana municipality in Grahamstown has run a number of EPWP projects, including the development of playgrounds in the high density, low income townships, the Youth in Waste project, the Working for Water project and the cleaning of local streams .

Lead Person: Mr Ndumiso Nongwe, Environmental Manager, Makana Local Municipality



Umthathi is the Xhosa Word for Sneezewood and in the Xhosa culture, it symbolises strength and renewal of life. This is the ideal underlying our vision, which is to reawaken the skills that lie dormant in poor and disadvantaged communities. People need to be reminded that they posses the strength to change their lives and those of others. By gaining more skills they can better their own lives, and ultimately use these skills to train others, thereby not only creating employment for themselves, but also uplifting other lives.

This half-day morning excursion introduces the work and training done by Umthathi, an NGO located 7 km from Rhodes University in the town of Grahamstown. Umthathi, deliberately situated in a high density area, serves the economically marginalized communities in peri-urban and rural settings. The NGO aims to empower individuals, schools, and communities through the Healthy Living Programme. They use an innovative, hands-on approach to training and skills development which takes into account the varied levels of education and the economic circumstances of their beneficiaries. To strengthen individual and group resilience they, along with champions and mentors whom they also train, plant or rekindle the knowledge and skill-sets, based on resources that are readily available locally and also affordable to the beneficiaries – a key fundamental to sustained social change.

Lead Person: Ms Monica Chanca, Director of Operations