The Oribi Village Food System Incubation Programme and a representative from the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) visited the Mhani Gingi Centre of Social Entrepreneurial Excellence in Athlone in October 2021, to showcase Mhani Gingi’s partnership in the programme and the impact of the organisation’s work in Cape Town communities.

Mhani Gingi participated in the pilot Oribi Village Food System Incubation Programme in 2019,  which was aimed at supporting social entrepreneurs, organisations and innovators working towards a sustainable, collaborative and equitable food system. Oribi Village is an impact incubator which supports entrepreneurs working towards social, economic and environmental justice.

The growing tunnel at Mhani Gingi Centre of Social Entrepreneurial Excellence photographed during the visit. PICTURE CREDIT: Oribi Village

The visit was led by Oribi Village Managing Director, Louis Prevost, and included Luana Malan, Corporate Social Investment Specialist at the IDC.  The remainder of the Oribi Village team were Nthakoana Maema, Programme Manager; Delicia Govender, Business Development and Partnerships Manager; and Kaylon Koeries, Communications Manager.

Women-led social enterprise

“Mhani Gingi is a women-led social enterprise and not only a great example of a systems-based or holistic approach to solving local community issues, but also one with high potential to replicate in other communities and marginalised contexts. Through their activities, they have managed to find an impactful model of solving complex problems such as food security, disability and inactivity of young people and women,” Prevost said after the visit.

“It was amazing to see how Mhani Gingi has evolved as a social project,” he added. “From the days when it was nascent ground, holding potential to a big vision, to arriving at a setup of beautiful community gardens, on its way to a full food value chain solution.

“Seeing our entrepreneurs collaborating to solve big problems and impact more people, was a transformational learning and inspiring moment. It has been a privilege to be a part of this much needed process of change,” Prevost said.

The African Grower food system developed by Fresh Life Produce planted with herbs at Mhani Gingi. The compact urban grower is placed in vulnerable households to boost food security. PICTURE CREDIT: Oribi Village


Nthakoana Maema, Programme Manager at Oribi Village, in a gardening tunnel at Mhani Gingi. PICTURE CREDIT: Oribi Village

Inspiring process of change

The visitors toured the Mhani Gingi vegetable garden and growing tunnels at the Centre of Social Entrepreneurial Excellence as well as the state-of-the-art Mhani Gingi Agri-Processing Hub acquired in mid-2021 for processing and packaging produce from the garden and from 10 community food gardens managed by Mhani Gingi. These activities promote food security and income generation among marginalised communities supported by Mhani Gingi.

The new Mhani Gingi Agri-Processing Hub.


Foodstuffs can now be processed and packaged in the Mhani Gingi Agri-Processing Hub. PICTURE CREDIT: Oribi Village


Basil seedlings propagated at Mhani Gingi Organic Herb and Vegetable Seedling Nursery. PICTURE CREDIT: Oribi Village



Luana Malan, Corporate Social Investment Specialist at the Industrial Development Corporation, admires cultivation in The African Growers. PICTURE CREDIT: Oribi Village


Mhani Gingi Trustee, Dr Earl Starr, explains the Mhani Gingi model. PICTURE CREDIT: Oribi Village


Louis Prevost, Managing Director of Oribi Village, left, with Louis Janse van Rensburg, Director of Fresh Life Produce, centre, and Lillian Masebenza, Founding Director of Mhani Gingi. PICTURE CREDIT: Oribi Village