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Updates Queenstown, South Africa, September-December 2006

Hilde Marie is back in South Africa for eight new months as volunteer for UBUNTU.

5th of September – 20th of October
The first week went by getting more raw-material for soaps from PASCaP. The store was almost empty and we wanted to expand the assortment with three new types of soap (Ylang Ylang, Eucalyptus and Rosemary). We therefore needed new supply of essential oils.

An evaluation was also held during the first week where all the UBUNTU members filled out a seven-page questionnaire about the work. Following this took place several individual conversations between the participants and Hilde Marie to evaluate how things have worked out the last four months, and to map the level of motivation of the participants. This week we also emphasized improvement of the system for bookkeeping in the UBUNTU store, in addition to improve the general attitude towards how the day-to-day management of a store should be.

Four sales outlets for UBUNTU soaps in Queenstown
The Health Nut (Health foods store) and Magers Pharmacy wished to make new orders and continue the sale of soaps. Unfortunately have the stores; Spectra and Sign & Copy not been selling enough soaps so to wish for more orders from UBUNTU. The following weeks the participants produced 25gram soaps in great numbers and we have visited 35 Bed and Breakfast hotels in the Queenstown area. Thirteen of them wished to make orders for soap the coming month, and seven of them are still not negative but clear answers are awaited. We are very pleased with this development of the sale possibilities!

Network building
The next weeks we continued the process of network building, this time with different authorities in the public sector. We held a meeting with Mr Mbebe from the Department of Public Works, and he has promised to help UBUNTU get a registration within public works so to open possibilities of selling soaps to e.g. hospitals, prisons etc. Mr Mbebe has also received our business plan which he forwarded to the Deputy Minister of the Department of Public Works to check out the possibilities for seeking any public means for the UBUNTU project. A “Business Week” will be held here in Queenstown in November arranged by the Department of Public Works, and the participants in UBUNTU will be there to sell soaps and children from Ikewzi After School Project has promised to come and dance.

28th -30th of September – Agricultural show in Ezibilini
We had a stand at the show from 09:00 am to 09.30 pm every day and sold soaps for a total of R 1800. We also made new business contacts which have offered to help us make a market inquiry in the city Blumfontain.


7th of October – UBUNTU at the handicraft-market at the St.Michaels Church
A beautiful and sunny day with a lot of curious customers.

16th of October – Our soaps has reached the National Minister of the Department of Art and Culture
The minister visited Queenstown, and the participants in UBUNTU was of course present to charm the minister of her feet. Miss Nomamtombazana Botha was very positive and bought soaps which will be delivered the Department of Art and Culture. She also asked Hilde Marie to send her an estimate of how much an industrial sewing machine costs so that the participants in UBUNTU can make their own decorated t-shirts, bags and other things. She actually said: “Send me an estimate of this, and I will invest in it!” So, another amazing day for UBUNTU!!

Our associate ECMAC have changed name to SEDA (Small Enterprise Development Agency)
Mark Adams is Industrial Advisor in the old ECMAC (Eastern Cape Manufacturing Advisory Centre) where he works to help new projects be sustainable and locally rooted. The new SEDA plan to assist a development an entrepreneurial culture in the area and give business advice to newly started cooperatives. UBUNTU started cooperating with SEDA in November 2005, and they assisted us creating our business plan. They have also held about 12 workshops about accounting and computer skills for four of the participants in UBUNTU. We have not paid anything for this help yet, but if we get rewarded funding from the Lukandij Municipality (of R 80 000 as we have requested) and an additional R 80 000 from a EU Trust fund we have applied for we have to pay back 10 % of the expenses SEDA has covered for us until now. The feedback on the local application we will receive during the month of December, but the answer on the EU application is not published until the start of 2007.

In November we have had main focus on producing new products in the UBUNTU shop in Queenstown, South Africa (address: 2 Owen Street). We have started producing body lotion (Tea tree, Lavender, Geranium, Sweet Orange, Rosemary, Ylang Ylang and Eucalyptus), Body Butter (Tea tree, Lavender, Geranium, Sweet Orange, Rosemary, Ylang Ylang and Eucalyptus), Skin Protector (Geranium), Lip Balm (Peppermint, Geranium and Sweet Orange) and shower gel (Peach and Mango). In our store in Queenstown you can also buy sweat-shirts, t-shirts, towels, bags and caps with the UBUNTU logo.

We have also added three extra types of the “traditional” UBUNTU soap (Eucalyptus, Ylang Ylang and Rosemary). These new soaps will be found in the Norwegian sales outlets from February 2007.

13 -18 November
This week we participated with UBUNTU- stand at the Queenstown Art & Crafts Centre. The Deputy Minister, Nomamtombazaba Botha, was back in Queenstown in relation to the planning of the 2010 Football World Cup which will be arranged in South Africa. With this happening there will be put emphasis on the promotion of historical and local art and handicraft.

The UBUNTU crew has also held a stand at the Growth and Development Summit, arranged by the Chrishani Municipality. We participated as part of the ECDC, Eastern Cape Development Corporation. ECDC wish to grant UBUNTU a loan to improve the methods of soap production and for marketing. We will reply this offer during the first months of 2007.

UBUNTU have this week contacted the ECSECC, Eastern Cape Socio Economic Consultative Council. We will have a new meeting with them again when Hilde Marie is back in South Africa in January 2007.

The last three weeks we have been glad to have Tinie Theblanch visiting us, and he arranged workshops about marketing which we really needed. Tinie has earlier been a teacher at the University and is preoccupied with topics like Black Empowerment. We have been very satisfied with the workshops he has held and everything we have learnt and he will be back to teach us more in the beginning of next year.

25th of November
Thumeka Mshweswe and Hilde Marie participated at the ”Graduation from Pre- to Primary School” at Nonesi Pimary School. We wished to use the occasion to promote Thumeka´s project for youth and children. We also brought ten children who entertained with various local dances.