Cultural Experience at Grootbos

Posted under Eco-Tourism Blog by Grootbos on 14th February 2011

The Grootbos Foundation, in collaboration with Grootbos Private Nature Reserve are very exited about the development of the 'Cultural Experience at Grootbos'!

Here is a little more information about Yolisa who has initiated the project!

About myself

I am Yolisa Gaqela .I was born at Mount Ayliff in the Eastern Cape, in 1981-04–10. I am married and the mother to a 4 years old girl.I have one brother and four sisters .I did my primary education at Zweledinga JSS and I passed Grade 10 at Senyukele SSS.

While I grew up I was clever and talkative, I liked to work and play. But sometimes I did not get the chance to play because my mother always wanted us to be in the garden, to teach us how we can have food from the soil. Because I am a grown up, my hobbies have changed when compared to my childhood. Now I like to spend some of my time in veggie plot, reading and watching television. 

My parents raised me very hard because we were five children and my father had to leave his job sometimes because of health. So those time were very difficult for us to live and grow up like other children, but my parents tell me to pray everyday, if I do so will get what I want in life. 

Now I am living at Masakhane. I am living with good and bad people because it is a township. Some of the people earn a living by working on farms and others have other skills like dressmaking, shoemaking and most of youth get better skills and jobs because of Green Futures College. Anyway, it is a good place to live. 

Now I am employed at Grootbos. I am going to sell vegetables that comes from Growing the Future and I am the leader of the tourist site, which is going to be opened as soon as possible. I am proud of myself now because as my parents told me I pray to God everyday to be where I am and the growth that Green Futures has been provided has made me very proud of them, and myself too. 

Where the idea comes from

The idea for the spaza started when I was in England at Eden Project. At that time it was me and my two classmates. We were inspired by the way the Eden Project looks and the way that it explore different cultures and regions in one place. We thought and we decided that we like it and we can do it for Grootbos - as a thank you for what has been done for us, and to add something to the existing tourism site. So we came with ideas. We thought that we can first start with our culture, where we come from.  We thought of the kinds of medicines we use and we thought of all the uses for Fynbos that we studied.  We thought of everything that you can make from Fynbos, paintings that we could sell to tourists etc. We came back with our idea and we told our lecturers and everybody was interested in this idea. 

Spaza Shop

A Spaza shop is a small,  informal shop in a Township, which is usually run from home. The spaza shop also serves the purpose of supplementing household incomes of the owners, who sell everyday small household items such as vegetables, drinks, sweets etc. These shops grew as a result of the sprawling townships and because it was expensive or difficult to travel to formal shopping places. 

The purpose of opening the Spaza Shop as the “Cultural Experience at Grootbos” is that Grootbos is far away from the town, so the Spaza will help staff to buy lunch box items and drinks. Furthermore, fresh vegetables and eggs will be picked up at Growing the Future every morning to encourage Grootbos staff to buy and eat healthy food everyday. 

On the other hand there will be 100% homemade products such as soap which will smell of our Fynbos, as well as painting and gift bags to sell to Grootbos guests. 

Wish list

In order to make Yolisa's dream possible, we need the following items:

•    Refridgerator

•    Sewing machine & overlock machine 

•    Metal table 

•    2x 1 glass jar

•    3 set of pots

•    Fabric material

•    Hard paper material

•    Perfume oil 

•    Fabric paint

•    Plastic film

•    Glycerine

If you can assist, please contact us at 028 384 8048 or

We look forward to giving you updates and we wish Yolisa all the best!  We know you will make a success of it!  We plan to open the Spaza shop by the end of February!

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