The internet age in which we live makes sharing experiences and our life journeys a relatively easy exercise. Self-sufficient living and homesteading is a passion of mine and, I guess, I have been practicing that way of life to some degree all my life! Even before it became a buzzword!
Self Sufficient Living and Homesteading: A South African Perspective
Before I go any further, let me introduce myself. My name is Frank and I live in South Africa. My wife Nikki and I are on a journey to a self-sufficient lifestyle. Currently, we are both employed in the corporate sector but are working towards a lifestyle where we can support ourselves with food, water, and power. Eventually being able to give up our “day jobs” so to speak and have our land provide for us.
I maintain a blog called MyGreenTerra.com where I write about things I have learned, products I find useful and bushcraft skills which every aspiring homesteader should master. I have an advantage in this regard as I grew up in the African bush in Zimbabwe where I learned much of my bushcraft. Living and working as a safari guide in South Africa for a time, allowed me to enhance my knowledge and bush skills. I aspire to live a “Lifestyle that heals the planet!”
The Challenges All Homesteaders Face
A question that has intrigued me is do we face the same challenges in our homesteading endeavors around the world? Are the challenges I face the same, or similar, as someone in the USA, UK, Australia, or anywhere else in the world?
From reading about the experiences of others around the globe, the bigger issues seem to be the same for all of us.
By these I mean the following to name a few:
- The acquisition of land
- Dealing with legislation that restricts the way we want to live
- Political uncertainty or unrest in our respective countries (in some cases this should be a motivation to live a self-sufficient lifestyle!)
- How to make a living from our homesteads to leave the 9 to 5 grind
- The challenge of changing climate patterns
- Alternative energy power generation
- Water storage solutions
- Homestead security
Homesteading Challenges From A South African Perspective
Living in Africa is challenging in certain aspects, but I am proudly African and would find it difficult to live in any other part of the world. If Africa is in your blood, it calls to you and it is a call that cannot be ignored!
The wildness of the continent from a fauna and flora point of view is unrivaled anywhere else in the world. The climate, in most areas, is warm most of the year, and the winters are short which gives us a relatively long growing season!
We do, however, have our own challenges while trying to homestead on this continent. And here are a few that I feel may be different from other places around the world.
- Political unrest – this is always a challenge in Africa, with constant political maneuverings that often make security and peace of mind a challenge.
- Water – Africa, particularly South Africa is a relatively dry area. Our rain season is summer time and falls in the form of thunderstorms. Our winters are dry. The low rainfall means that we need to be water wise with our vegetable gardens. From a self-sufficiency point of view, we also need to store some of the summer rainfall to get us through the dry winter. Over recent years our summer rains have not been good due to drought conditions. This makes water storage even more important, even to cater for poor summer rains.
- Vandalism and theft – this is a significant problem here. As an example, I am a beekeeper, and I have to take measures to protect my beehives from vandalism and thievery in order to secure my harvest of honey.
- Scarce resources – Being at the bottom end of Africa, buying equipment, tools and supplies is often difficult and in most cases expensive. This is particularly true of imported products! We are so far away from the rest of the developed world that transport costs drive up the prices of imported goods! Buying goods online and expecting deliveries in the short term, if at all, is a big challenge. An example of this is, most alternative energy equipment is manufactured abroad. To get solar power equipment such as solar panels is an expensive undertaking.
- As a developing country, cultural differences and mindset differences can be a challenge. Most of the population is centered about cities or want to move from rural areas to the cities. The mindset of protecting land, nature and the environment is not prevalent or seen as a priority.
Despite the challenges, we love living here. Most of our ancestors were pioneers and as such were resourceful, resilient people. They managed to rise to the challenges and find ways to succeed in spite of them. We face our current challenges, the same way our ancestors did – with a pioneering spirit. The challenges make us more resourceful and innovative to use what we have and make it work!
Our Goals and Resources
Our goal in homesteading here in Africa is much the same as those of homesteaders around the world. We strive to be self-sufficient which is a journey in itself. At the same time reduce our negative impact on the environment.
The internet is a fantastic resource for us, as we can be part of a global community of homesteaders. We can learn from each other as we progress on our journey towards independence and self-sufficiency. We love reading the blogs of other homesteaders and hope our website can similarly add value to others in the community!
A Final Word
We hope that we can motivate others towards a healthier, self-sufficient more independent lifestyle through sharing our experiences. So to all you other homesteaders out there, keep sharing your ideas and the lessons learned on your journey. You never know who it may help along the way!
So keep homesteading, keep sharing and most of all continue living a lifestyle that will heal the planet!
The following post is a guest post from a friend of mine, Frank, in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has written a wonderful post about homesteading from a South African perspective. I hope you enjoy it! Frank can be found at his website: MyGreenTerra, or on Facebook, on Pinterest, on Instagram, and on Twitter. Frank is also a part of the current Self-Reliance Challenge that 15 Acre Homestead is a part of. Make sure you check out his link in our weekly blog post.