Location and Purpose of the Donald Woods Centre



The Donald Woods Centre is one hour from Mvezo, where Nelson Mandela was born and Qunu, where he has been laid to rest.

It is in Hobeni, in the Xhora area of Mbashe sub-district, Eastern Cape, which is 700 kms south of Johannesburg and 1000 kms east of Cape Town. It is 90 minutes drive from Mthatha Airport and 3.5 hours drive from East London.

The Centre is 10 kms inland from the Mbashe River Mouth, in the heart of Bomvanaland. It is just a few kilometres from the second largest single forest in South Africa: Dwesa-Cwebe Forest Nature Reserve, which includes stunning beaches, fishing, hiking, bird watching and waterfalls. The entire Eastern Cape is malaria free.

Purpose and Rationale

The DWC is located in this area because the trustees and management believe in the principle that rural development programmes need to be run from the rural areas in which they operate. DWF is one of the very few NGO’s to have it’s HQ where it actually works.  This is very rare for such a rural based programme.

The DWC is a living memorial to Donald and Wendy Woods serving some of the poorest and least developed communities of the Eastern Cape. The main purpose of the Centre includes a base or headquarters of the Donald Woods Foundation, situated in the heart of our programme area. It also includes a Training Centre, Community and Resource Centre for nodal development, and can be used by NGOs, universities, companies and other bodies for conferencing, training and meeting facilities.

It was designed as a node, platform and catalyst for project start-up as well as a node for small business start-up in a deeply rural area as well as a facility for education, training and professional development, which are integral to DWF’s approach to growth and development in an area where 89%  of the population are unemployed.

Rather than delivering services for the local community, the aim of DWF in the area is to enable local people, schools and clinics to achieve their maximum potential, whether in health, education, small business start-ups as well as individual development. Getting jobs and career development is integral in the design of DWF’s work in the area.

Therefore, in order to attract good quality staff and professionals into the area, the creation of a safe, reliable, functional base with constant power, ample and high quality water, security and good quality accommodation is essential to achieving this.