Sustainable Livelihoods Through Beekeeping

Problem Statement

Final Presentation Gathering of Cape Flats Honey, City of Cape Town, The Honeybee Foundation, Our Group and Advisors

Two major crises affecting a large portion of the South African population are unemployment and lack of education. These problems have arisen for a few reasons that are seeded in South Africa’s history yet still have effects that reach into the present.

The unemployment problem in South Africa exists heavily because of relatively recent urbanization and labor shifting. On one hand, the urbanization trend brought people from rural areas into the cities seeking opportunity, as there was little of it in the countryside (Aliber, 2003). On the other hand, the labor shifting left city-dwellers with far less job opportunity. This was the result of employers shifting to productivity-centered systems that employed smaller amounts of skilled workers that could earn higher wages rather than the larger amounts of unskilled workers that could earn modest wages, as it was prior (Nattrass, 2004). The result was an increasing city population with even fewer jobs to compete for.

The problem of the lack of education in South Africa stems heavily from Apartheid, during which whites and non-white were separated physically, socially, and economically. Non-whites were forced into a series of disadvantages, including poorly funded and low quality schools, being distanced from the more prosperous economy, and having less access to job opportunities (Wilkinson, 2000). The disadvantages reinforced each other: no jobs meant no way of earning money for a better education, and poor educations meant no way to get a better job. Thus many of the Apartheid-oppressed were left in a vicious cycle of no opportunity.

The Urban Beekeeping Project was introduced by the City of Cape Town as an effort to produce a sustainable livelihood through beekeeping.  Seven individuals from the Cape Flats were trained in the field of beekeeping. The City encouraged the beekeepers to establish a cooperative which would provide them with continuous income; but the new apiculturists lacked the necessary business skills. Different organizations involved in the project assisted the beekeepers in obtaining these skills, however some issues arose that hindered their progression. This situation caused a loss of motivation for the beekeepers and the project decelerated to a stagnant state.

Want More Background?

For a look at our Partner Acknowledgments.

The Cape Flats Honey Group


The goal of this project is to aid seven beekeepers of the Cape Flats in the establishment of a cooperative, a business plan that encompasses future cooperative membership and services growth, and an education program that secures the sustainability of the beekeepers and the importance of environment conservation and to provide a guide to other low income residents aspiring to be successful in micro enterprise ventures.


  1. Establish a relationship with the seven beekeepers.
  2. Determine the status of the Urban Beekeeping Project.
  3. Facilitate progress towards the formation of a registered and productive cooperative.
  4. Develop the beekeepers’ business knowledge and skills.
  5. Develop sustainability and a support structure for the seven beekeepers and other aspiring beekeepers in South Africa.

In helping to develop skills, encour-age, and be utilized throughout our project, we spent our time learning the process with the beekeepers. We do not know everything about busi-ness; however, we do know how to research and utilize resources. This knowledge we shared with the bee-keepers to assist them through the process.

For More Methodology.

Working on Business Plan at The Honeybee Foundation's Eco-Theater


To our pleasant surprise, we finished our project having accomplished a great deal more than we had initially anticipated.  We are leaving the seven individuals at a state of pending form approval to then file the next set of completed forms with all appropriate attached works, including business plan, constitution, and Founder’s Meeting agenda and minutes.  We suspect that they will be completely filed for cooperative recognition in one month’s time and officially recognized by the end of March.  At our project’s start, the beekeepers were in no state to purchase from suppliers and prepare a product for sale.  Nearing the end of this seven week project, the beekeepers are fully prepared to start business, are ready to start their first production of honey product, and have had their first sales.  We also helped organize the beekeepers’ initial hive site which included their first business networking and first signed legal document.  Additionally, the beekeepers have bicycles for easier travel, completed portfolios for official beekeeping certification, improved business knowledge and skills, and a plan for future sustainability.  Though we have accomplished many measurable things, we feel that our most important accomplishments included reigniting the beekeeper’s confidence and drive for the project and instilling a momentum that will continue the beekeepers’ success after our departure.

Cape Flats Honey Taking the Floor at the Final Presentation

Additionally, we have provided a list of important findings throughout the Urban Beekeeping Project, a how-to instruction manual for setting up small scale cooperatives in South Africa, and examples of the constitution and business plan work for future use by the City of Cape Town or other aspiring beekeepers.

For further Results.

Take a look at our Accomplishments.

Meet the Bee Team!

Final Documents:

CT11Bees Executive Summary [PDF, 2.78 MB]

CT11 Bees Final Report [PDF, 2.56 MB]

Useful Documents:

Establishing a Co-operative_Important Things to Know [PDF, 352 KB]

Example Constitution_Cape Flats Honey [PDF, 501 KB]

Example Business Plan_Cape Flats Honey [PDF, 713 KB]

Documents Left for the Beekeepers Specifically:

Annual General Meeting [PDF, 110 KB]

Email, Facebook, Website Basics [PDF, 217 KB]

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