Growing up at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, Michaela Wyndham (daughter to Managing Director – Rod Wyndham, and Bush Lodge Manager – Lauren Wyndham) is not only passionate about her bushveld home, but she is young girl that is delightful, thoughtful and empathetic. While falling asleep one night during one of the family’s camping trips, Michaela had a wonderful idea. The soothing comfort provided from the Consol Solar Jar night light her family used in their tents, inspired this 9-year-old to campaign for night lights for children in the rural communities bordering Sabi Sabi.
Having grown up witnessing children in these villages living largely without electricity, and seeing their ongoing struggle to study effectively after hours, she decided to try and make a difference. Michaela realised that renewable energy night lights would not only be able to safely replace candles and lanterns, but would also allow children to study at night – a vital ingredient for success at school. And thus began her “nightjar” campaign – cleverly dubbed by Michaela, as the nightjar is a nocturnal resident bird on the reserve, and one of her favourites. The principle of the Consol Solar Jar is simple and clever: solar-powered LED lights are safely housed in a 1-litre Consol glass jar – a classic jam jar, which is placed in sunlight to store energy during the day, in order to create light at night. The glass jars are safe to use, 100% recyclable and have won many innovation awards.
Consol was approached and immediately responded to Michaela’s appeal by providing 400 children in the nearby communities of Huntington, Lillydale and Justicia – children who are assisted by the Swa Vana project – with solar jar lights. Swa Vana is a Sabi Sabi supported initiative and is predominantly a care centre for children, providing them with meals, educational activities and a safe after-school environment.
With the stage set for a hand over of the jars, Sabi Sabi hosted a spectacular party for the children from the three villages. It was the first time these children have had a shared get-together, and the excitement of meeting and getting to know each other was as thrilling as receiving the brand new Consol Solar Jar.
Working together with and supporting local communities is an integral part of the Sabi Sabi philosophy and Michaela’s wonderful community spirit epitomises everything that the company stands for.
Meet one of Sabi Sabi’s intrepid and highly skilled Shangaan Trackers – Mike Ndlovu, who has just celebrated an amazing 30 years of service. We salute you Mike.
Being a Tracker isn’t simply a case of spotting tracks…these skills are honed over decades of being in the bushveld and it takes dedication, commitment and a brave spirit which Mike certainly represents.