About Hlekweni : Valindre Farm

In region 5, altitude of 1425m
annual rainfall of 250-400mm
slight frost incidence
Acacia tree species are dominant
Prominent grass species include
- Hereropogon (spear grass)
- Aristida (bristle grass)
- Hypariphenia (thatching grass)
- Panicums (buffalo grass)
Predominantly black clay
some shallow red soils
Undulating, main slope westwards towards the Khami river
15km from Bulawayo post office
2.5km off Plumtree Botswana road
past Insukamini ZESA sub-station

Hlekweni is built on Valindre Farm A, 1,800 acres in size and mainly concentrating on cattle.

Poultry are reared and sold as part of the agriculture training course. There is an orchard and vegetables are grown and sold using bio-intensive methods and drip-irrigation. There is a herd of 60 Nguni cattle, over 60 goats, 50 indiginous chickens and around 20 rabbits.

A large pigsty is available to rent to an experienced farmer with high standards of animal care.

For further information contact Phillemon Chirimambowa on:
  - (09) 497888/465720
  - 09 15 188 876 (cell), or
  - [email protected]

There are numerous challenges on the farm. Eight kilometers of perimeter fencing was stolen during the farm invasions, and the encroachment of Bulawayo township has led to many people stealing wood for fuel, amounting to several tons per month. Fire breaks have been re-established but grading around the perimeter fence is needed to help the staff and trainees to provide supervision of the site and reduce removal of wood.

Hlekweni is also a victim of cattle theft. 4 cows (3 in calf) have disappeared without trace during Sept-Oct 2004. Snares are found all over the bush and numbers of game have declined considerably over the past three years. Four other cattle were slaughtered at Hlekweni having been stolen from a neighbouring farm in October 2004, but the police presence in 2006 is improving the situation.

Gold prospectors also have easy access to the farm as little control is exercised by the mining licensing authorities.

As Hlekweni is within a 20km radius of Bulawayo it is possible that the city may require part of the farm for residential or other purposes in the future.

Update - 2008's farm invasions and fires destroyed and burnt the grass of 8of 9 paddocks, destroyed fences, pumps & transformers, leaving the farm and training centre with inadequate water supply.  Further burning took place in 2009 at an estimated cost of $7,500 US. Power is currently being restored (November 2009).

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