Back in 2021 Indifly and African Waters helped villagers along the Bokong river to access electricity for the first time with the Makhangoa Solar Power Project. When we as fly fishers think about the Bokong and the Makhangoa Community Camp, what comes to mind is a crystal-clear river in the Lesotho Highlands teeming with dry fly eating yellowfish and trout, but there’s more to this camp.
The community camp was established by African Waters in an attempt to create a sustainable fishery that is looked after by the local people of Makhangoa. They did this by building the project on the basis of educating and empowering the people of Makhangoa village.
American non-profit organisation Indifly have invested in similar community-driven eco-tourism projects in Guyana. When they noticed the work done in Lesotho they wanted to get involved. Indifly uses fly fishing as a tool to conserve fisheries, empower indigenous people and create sustainable business for people from rural backgrounds. The biggest issue faced by the villagers has been the lack of electricity.
Indifly Executive Director Matt Shilling said, “We are honoured to partner with African Waters to provide what many consider a basic human need (electricity) to the Makhangoa community. Now more than ever, we all need to think about how we can support and empower the custodians of 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity.”
With Indifly as a financial springboard, African Waters approached renewables supplier Rubicon SA to source and install solar power for the entire village. Rubicon found an elegant solution that would provide light and enough power to charge small appliances. Sixty-five units were donated and now an entire village of Makhangoa can live an easier and safer life.
Keith Clover, director of African Waters, said, “The Makhangoa solar project has not only added significant improvements to the daily lives of Makhangoa villagers. The timing of the project has also bolstered morale in the village as we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Makhangoa Council Member Elias Ntlele said, “Really this project is of high benefit to us. The villagers were very happy about this. They also said that if Mr. Keith was a politician, we would elect him as Prime Minister of this country. What he says he implements.”
Amen Elias! If Prime Minister Keith campaigned on a ticket of subsidised fly fishing travel, he might just get our vote too.
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