Abelusi - News

Shepherding Others for the Magic of Their Success

golden shepherd

2022 in Summary

Posted on WhatsApp 22/11/16 – John Allen

Recently back in Switzerland having been in SA since February. May I take a couple of posts to tell a success story please. In Nov 2020 a French colleague Henry Vergnaud, retired from the hotel industry, and I established a non-profit Association we call Abelusi Global. (https://abelusi.world). Abelusi is Zulu and Xhosa for shepherds and as the name implies is targeted for Elders to work together for their benefit and the benefit of their communities. Two chapters were started, one in Switzerland also in Nov 2020 and one in KZN headquartered in Pietermaritzburg in Feb 21 after a fairly lengthy process of putting formal structures together. The start-ups were obviously influenced by the Plandemic. Unfortunately, the CH Chapter, which was on the way to creating a Centre of Expertise for the Hospitality industry, is in sabbatical due to illness. The KZN Chapter started slowly with some colleagues who I knew in my time as the Director of the local Chamber of Commerce and Industries willingly joining as members. At the same time, I approached the CEO of Project Gateway, a faith-based association based in the old Pietermaritzburg prison since 1992. I knew them as I had done some leadership training and mentoring for their leadership. I asked Pastor Jabu Mnculwane if he would accept some ‘khehlas’ to help with some of their projects. He agreed so we had some members and something to do. One project concerned the 25 Zulu Kings (Amakhosi) and the other a small gardens project which supported two community gardens in the townships around the City. The later project we advised to change the name to Community Feeding Community and it is that project I would like to pick up on starting in February this year 2022 – in the next post.

In February, upon arrival in SA, Project Gateway (PG) were supporting two community gardens and some gardens at several creches. I asked the PG COO, Di Milford, why she was involved in this project. She replied that in going into the townships she had experienced children who had not eaten for 3 days. That was enough motivation for us. Also, PG, having a footprint in all 40 wards surrounding Pietermaritzburg, had a long-term vision to have similar gardens in a lot more Wards. To help with this vision and to feed more people obviously the pace needed to be picked up. So, we did all the leadership things and had a project management shepherd join us. We started by getting the 2 gardens improving their output and security from the goats. I asked them about security from the two-legged versions and was advised that nobody steals from a community garden – somebody tried once but it never happened again. We got the people from the two gardens championed by Sibongiseni Mdlalose and Dr Liz Thomson together with some other experts. The improvement in output started overnight also keeping in mind that the gardens were all organic. Our way forward included creating two greenfield gardens for us to all learn together. One large garden was identified in another ward together with a training garden in the prison grounds together with some helpers knowledgeable in permaculture techniques from nearby institutions.


Now we were involved in 4 Wards – 36 to go. We trained 40 people in leadership positions from the 4 wards in leadership and commitment. We trained entrepreneurship to 20 people. Mamas were coming from their homes to ask for seedlings, ‘home & garden’ set ups appeared nearby, other gardens started without any support from us. One garden was supporting 70 child-headed households 3 times a week. Gardens also appeared outside more creches, outside libraries and clinics. We were told that an energy had been created by us and people were getting involved. Remember this area had previously been torn apart by riots, burning malls followed by heavy destructive storms which communities have not recovered – even today.

Today there are now over 30 gardens being supported. With the recent heavy rains one community garden provided 1000 cabbages to their neighbourhood. Being brief, our strategy to get to all wards is to look for business partners to help in a Ward or group of Wards (Divisions). Outreaches to a large industry and one of the major banks have been made and a function is being arranged inviting major local business and financial institutions to introduce them to the project and possible involvement. The bank visited and they were impressed – with their end-of-year kitty they are funding the establishment of 5 new gardens in new Wards – one of them will potentially feed 400 kids. Their leadership are being trained as I write. The neighbouring town of Howick has approached Project Gateway and Abelusi to help them. Interactions have started there to establish 3 new gardens. The Project is called Community feeding Community and the emphasis is on Community. We have learned and are passing on the methodology. You cannot go into an area and just put in a garden if you want the initiative to be sustained. Champions need to be found, relationships built and the community must make the decisions with support. The motto started as “Reducing Poverty and Hunger”. A police commissioner from the South Coast interacted with us saying that the community gardens in their experience reduced crime. Now the motto is “Reducing Poverty, Hunger, Fear and Crime”.


Abelusi promotes opportunities for retirees. Extract from ’The BizNews Insider’ 21 Sept 2021

Full article on The Biz News Insider

Abelusi (Zulu for Shepherds) currently has two Chapters with its major operational pilot being Abelusi KZN NPC, legally constituted and currently based in Pietermaritzburg. It was started nearly a year ago and, whilst things in current operational conditions take a while to get going, they are now involved in providing “extra hands” in two major projects with Project Gateway. One is involved with the history of the 25 Amakhosi whilst the other is the Community Feeding the Community Project (CfC). The latter now has a detailed strategic plan which involves up to 39 wards and will impact +/- 600,000 people. It currently has two pilot gardens, 17 creches with gardens and has had the first operational meeting with funding to deploy 2 Greenfield sites. It has been a small start but other outreaches include negotiating some minor projects, exploring synergies with women in Business, offering training and mentoring, planning to approach local government structures and starting new Chapters – discussions currently being held in Cape Town. Internationally we have a partnership with United Nations seniors (GreyCells), are involved with Hotel Associations to compile a Centre of Expertise for the Hospitality Industry and have reached out to establish Chapters in other countries. Our vision is for an International integrated network.

The background is provided to advise about our existence. We have made the first steps and are now looking for more clients and more people with leadership, farming, entrepreneurial, support and subject matter expertise to join us and/or to establish a Chapter in their regions.

To concur with your Eleanor – opportunities do exist and we have established a framework for it by gradually increasing credibility. To Mark we agree that it is not easy and expectations have to be met but energy levels do rise when included in a supportive group and with initial small wins.

We welcome any contact and will soon need a new leader and farming expertise for the ‘maxi’ phase of the CfC Project next year.


Abelusi Activity Update – 15 Feb 2021

Our website has been upgraded and ‘fitter’ for purpose combined with email facilities. Abelusi KZN NPC, our South African Chapter, is now a registered company as of 12 Feb 2021. Both Abelusi Global and KZN are approved by their respective banks for financial accounts. Our first Project Request Form has been completed together with a draft Fund Raising Form. It involves assisting with the refurbishment of a building which was struck by lightning with the eventual hosting of a museum display involving 25 Zulu Kings. Another project is being drafted involving 50 communities feeding themselves. 16 Draft Operational documents designed covering Admin, Fund-Raising, Marketing, Membership, Projects – not to mention all the Legal documents, Systems and Process Flow Overview and even a document on How to Start a New Chapter. Abelusi (CH) is well advanced in the preparations to create a Centre of Expertise for the Hospitality Industry. Outreach for new members in both Chapters and at Global about to commence and outreaches for new Chapters in two new countries initiated.


18 November 2020 Formal launch of Abelusi Global

Abelusi was conceived during the later months of 2019 during concept discussions between John Allen and Henry Vergnaud. Henry wanted to know if there was anything to keep us occupied in our ‘golden years’. John responded that, whilst Director of a Chamber of Commerce and Industry he had set up and successfully engaged a ‘Senior Executive Club’. That initiated the vision of forming a global networked organisation for retired ‘elders’, executives and leaders from all walks of life. Following guidance from CAGI on establishing a Global NGO based in Geneva and John’s colleagues volunteering to set up the primary signature Chapter in KZN, South Africa, Abelusi Global took form and was formally launched with 7 signatories (Founding Members) on 18 Nov 2020.


October-November 2020 launching of Abelusi KZN in South Africa

February 2020, following discussions with Dumile Cele, saw the commitment of initial Core Development Team members to forming the initial signature Chapter of Abelusi based out of the Province of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. Tony Hesp agreed to chair the process; Andrew Layman to formalize the structure with founding members included Terry Strachan, Jeff Jafta, Di Milford, Peter Allen and Sue Waterworth A long COVID related lockdown intervened between March 2020 until the initial meeting on 25 Aug 2020. This was followed by interactions culminating in a meeting that ratified both the Global Statutes and the local Memorandum of Incorporation of a Not for Profit Company on 27 October. Registration of the Company is to be finalised.