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Mulambwane land claimants now sucessful game farmers

written by Albert Pule
The community of Mulwambane is successfully practising game farming and game breeding on land returned to it after a long wait for the land claim to be finalised.

An African buffalo takes refuge from the hot sun at one of the farms owned by the Mulambwane CPA.For years, the community of Mulambwane outside Makhado, Limpopo, waited patiently for the conclusion of its land claim.

The predominantly Tshivenda-speaking community was forcibly removed from its ancestral land during the apartheid regime, on two separate occasions.

The first removal happened between 1915 and 1945 and the second occurred between 1967 and 1974. After the removal, the community members were scattered and lived in different parts of Limpopo until they came together to lodge a claim in 1998.

Once the land had been returned to them the community launched a Communal Property Association (CPA) in 2008.

The Mulambwane CPA has established a successful game farm and game breeding facility, 30 km north of Makhado.

CPA Chairperson Sam Mulaudzi says at one point the community thought of giving up given the amount of time it took for the claim to be processed.

Patience and persistence pay off

“At some stage we thought this was not going to work and nothing was going to come out of it, but we didn’t give up. It was a matter of patience and having meetings as the community and making follow-ups with government.” 

The CPA represents over a thousand beneficiaries from over 200 households who are all legitimate members of the community. Mulaudzi says that after lodging the claim, the land was returned to them “in bits and pieces.”

“We started getting the land in 2008. That year we got six farms and the following year we got three farms and the last batch we got last year, in 2016.”

The 17 farms comprise over 15 000 hectares.

Mulaudzi was an ordinary committee member when the first farms were handed over to the community representatives. He says there was a lot of excitement in the community.

“We were excited and we had a community meeting to tell the people that we got six farms and we had some of the meetings on the farm and we took pictures and videos and most people wanted to go back and stay on those farms.”

Mulaudzi adds that it was difficult for people to settle on the farms because they had been turned into game farms.

After lengthy consultations with the provincial department of Cooperative Governance and the Musina local municipality, government agreed to rezone the land and develop it by building some low cost houses.

“They both agreed that they would take one of our farms and develop it into low cost housing of 600 stands and we were very excited and we’ve informed the community about it.” They went into a strategic plan to guide them in the business of game farming.

“We are game farming on eight of the farms. We’ve got buffaloes, sable, impala, kudu, giraffe, zebra and eland.”

Mulaudzi says the CPA has bigger plans to increase its game and spoken to the Kruger National Park to acquire some more game. “They are keen and they’ve promised to give us some animals that don’t have hooves.” Mulaudzi says the park is popular and they’ve had local and international visitors.

The CPA employs seven people from the Mulambwane community. The aim is to expand and train young people from the community who would like to get into the field of agriculture and game farming. 

“We have approached the AgriSeta for it to take some of the young people in the community for training in animal production, plant production, farming, horticulture and veterinary and crop science.”

Mulaudzi says with the help of the strategic partner, he is confident that the CPA will make a difference in the lives of the people of Mulambwane.”