Nov 2023 1st Edition

Beekeeper defies odds to keep dream alive

Written by Nosihle Shelembe

In a tale of resilience and entrepreneurial spirit, a 26-year-old Gontse Hlongwane  from Hammanskraal in Pretoria refused to let setbacks crush his honey production dream.

After his initial venture failed, Hlongwane recommitted to his training in beekeeping with Elephants, Rhinos & People (ERP), a community upliftment initiative that not only mentors fledgling beekeepers but also guarantees a market for their honey.

This second stint at training was in 2018 and he is now the proud founder of Dinokasi Bees and Honey cooperative.

The six-member cooperative was registered in 2020 and it operates a shop at the Dinokeng Game Reserve where honey, pollen and wax is sold to tourists and locals. Its services also include bee removal, honey bottling and beehive inspection.

Thanks to support from the ERP, Dinokeng Game Reserve, Gauteng Department of Economic Development (GDED) and Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), the cooperative has managed to build a sustainable business that sells up to 100 bottles of honey in a good month.

Seda supplied the cooperative with 250 bottles and stickers, while the GDED provided equipment, storage for the equipment and a container for the business.

While the cooperative made gains it also faced serious challenges.

“Some of our beehives got vandalised and 32 beehives got flushed away by the floods. This was disheartening. We started with 12 members but when we were going through difficulties, six of them decided to quit and found jobs that provided them with security,” he said.Beekeeper

Hlongwane said he enjoys working with bees and interacting with clients from different parts of the world.

“In beekeeping, it is not always about producing honey. I also enjoy educating people about the dangers of bees,” he said.

His company also conducts awareness campaigns at schools about beekeeping as a career choice.

 “I enjoy being around bees. It is a wonderful experience because bees are loyal. They are always there for each other and protect their queen. I also enjoy taking out the honey out of the beehive and processing it. I appreciate tasting the honey as it has a different taste and smell,” Hlongwane said.

Contact Dinokasi Bees and Honey on 079 334 4053 / 081552 2322


Gauteng Department of Economic Development: 011 355 8000 or email:

Seda: 0860 663 7867 or visit:

Share this page