Sustainable Coffee Bay is based in Coffee Bay, a beautiful rural village nestled on the coast of the former Transkei, South Africa. The area around Coffee Bay has stunning scenery that is rich in natural resources. Traditional rondavels dot the rolling hills and smiling faces welcome visitors.

Coffee Bay surrounding area
Surroundings of Coffee Bay | © Stu

The traditional Xhosa lifestyle in Coffee Bay is one of the aspects that draw tourists to the area. However, as home to a small community of about 15000 people, Coffee Bay and the surrounding villages we serve are not without serious social problems that stem from its history. People’s lives are severely impacted by poverty, hardship and ill-health and a lack of access to essential services. All this impacts not only on a child’s development but on the time children spend learning in the home.

Coffee Bay is part of the Tshezi Traditional Authority, led by Chief Ngwenyati Pali. It falls within the King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) district of the O.R Tambo District Municipality which encompasses most of the former “Republic of the Transkei” (an independent homeland during apartheid years).

As little more than a puppet-state of the apartheid government, the area suffered from a lack of economic and social investment. The result can still be seen today through a lack of opportunities, poor infrastructure and other social and environmental problems associated with poverty. There has been much progress in recent years including bringing water and electricity to the area, but despite this, our area remains one of the poorest in South Africa.

Local girls performing a traditional dance
Local girls performing a traditional Xhosa dance
Coffee Bay from above
Coffee Bay’s beauty from above | © Isabelle Fabre

More about the area

While stats are rarely descriptive, these numbers of the region to which Coffee Bay belongs, tell a tragic story in which communities lives are dominated by poverty, hardship and ill-health.

  • 91% have no access to electricity
  • 57.8% are illiterate
  • 29% are living with HIV
  • 93.3% have no formal sanitation services
  • 88% live below the poverty line
  • 78.3% have no access to standard water supply
  • 71.5% of the economically active population is unemployed
  • Food security – malnutrition
  • High unemployment levels
  • Infrastructure backlogs
  • Housing shortage
  • Low levels of education
  • Low levels of health facilities
  • Environmental degradation
  • Reliant on social grants and odd jobs
  • Young males leave the area to work in the mines
  • No refuse disposal
  • Expectations of existing government schools in the area are very low and many adults in the community are illiterate impacting the after school help children get from their parents
  • Poor infrastructure resulting in water shortages, sporadic and unpredictable electricity supply, poor driving conditions into Coffee Bay, loss of cell network coverage and limited internet access