Tunnel farm gets set for big things 


Dear Friend of Philippi,

We are proud to announce that we have embarked on an exciting new project that will see the opening of the PEDI Urban Agriculture Academy in a couple of months time.

On land adjacent to the Philippi Fresh Produce Market, our emerging farmer training academy, the PEDI Academy, will develop skills for a new generation that is hungry to work the land in an area which has been described as having one of the poorest levels of food security in our city.

The PEDI Academy is a departure from PEDI’s previous role in local development. Now investing directly into a project, PEDI has attracted a range of other partners whose involvement is turning the plan into one of the most exciting initiatives the area has seen.  Recent agreement by the City of Cape Town to co-contribute to the investment will greatly help to operationalise the academy.

Already the skeleton of the PEDI Academy is rising – a multi-span farming tunnel and a seedling tunnel, with four 10 000-litre storage tanks for irrigation, have been donated by the Dhladhla Foundation. Inside the 2500 square metres of tunnel, workers have been constructing growing beds that are now being planted as part of the Academy’s first training programme.

The programme for Academy trainees is currently being drawn up in consultation with Maryna Booysen, a highly experienced organic agriculture trainer who is drawing up a pilot training phase. We have identified initial beneficiaries for leadership training and successful candidates Thulani Mangwengwe and Mlulami Maseti are  already working on site.

Future candidate selection will be facilitated by our partner, Business Accelerator, led by Egbert Wessels. This NGO based at Philippi Village, has long experience in entrepreneurial skills development. This part of the programme will see candidates receive business and entrepreneurship training and leadership skills from Business Accelerator, in addition to the hands-on farmer training.

Discussions have also been held with staff from the Department of Agriculture’s Elsenberg training facility and from the School of Agriculture at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, and PEDI is hopeful that this interaction with experts in the field will allow us to ultimately achieve full NQF accreditation of the training programme. There are also hopes that the model might be replicated in other training locations.

We are confident that the appointment of new PEDI dIrector Babalwa Jama (SEE BELOW), who has significant experience in youth development work, will facilitate our outreach to the community and help us find candidates for the programme who can succeed and become our ambassadors.

PEDI believes this initiative will do many things for Philippi. By giving young people the opportunity to become farmers, we are making a difference to this community. We are giving our candidates skills that will allow them to seek dignified work. We are training people who will be trained to train others. We will be reaching community gardeners, and those running school or ECD gardens. The project will have a significant multiplier effect.

We are excited to be working with the remarkable people who have come forward to help us make this happen. Their support has been heart-warming.

We hope that many more funders will see the value of what we are doing and will enable us to make this project grow to reach the many, many people of the area who can benefit. We are hoping to demonstrate that it can be replicated to bring hope to other areas too. 

– Thomas Swana, CEO


We are pleased to announce that Balalwa Jama, pictured at left, has joined the PEDI board as a Director and Volunteer Board member.
Jama has a background in Youth Development and is passionate about the empowerment of youth in Philippi. She previously worked as Project Coordinator at Bridges of Hope, and her training in Community Development there set her on her current path.
Jama runs her own NGO, SALT (Sisters Abiding in Truth and Light), which operates a schools programme with girls in the areas of Personal Development, Leadership Skills, Fighting against Domestic Violence & Peer Education.
Jama is an active member of the Philippi Youth Development Council. 

We welcome Babalwa on board, and hope that her experience and knowledge of the challenges facing the youth in Philippi will make a valuable contribution to our work.

If you would like to be involved in our work,
please contact Paul Stohrer on 083 281 8318
or via email at


   Unit 14, 1st floor
        Philippi Village 
        1 Cwangco Crescent 
        (Cnr. Govan Mbeki and New Eisleben Roads)

 021 371 9824 (office)
       083 281 8318 (Precinct Management)

View Previous Newsletters here 
CEO - Thomas Swana

Philippi Economic Development Initiative
                Thomas Swana
Thomas Swana was appointed to lead the Philippi Economic Development Initiative in 2011 and now devotes most of his time to finding ways to renew the economy of Philippi.
                                 Paul Stohrer
Project Manager:
Paul Stohrer has a background in Project Management, Operations and Logistics, with expertise in building business systems, client service operations and streamlining delivery of services.

          The Board
                                  Anthea Serritslev
 Anthea Serritslev,
formerly the Chief Whip in the
City of Cape Town, who has been
a key driver of the promotion of
Philippi as an economic hub.

Director: Xolile Gwangxu –Councillor, City of Cape Town
Director: Brett Herron –Councillor and Mayoral Committee member, City of Cape Town
Director: Mthobeli Clarence January – Council member, Cape Town Chamber of Commerce  
Director: Babalwa Jama – NGO, SALT (Sisters Abiding in Truth and Light)  

Philippi Police:
021 690 1500
Broken water pipes:
0860 103 054
Electricity theft:
0860 103 089
Sub Council 13:
021 630 1618
083 281 8318

021 371 9824 | 083 281 8318

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PEDI · Unit 14 Philippi Village · 1 Cwangco Crescent Philippi · Philippi, Cape Town, Western Cape 7781 · South Africa

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