OK, time for a new series: in praise of random things we stumble across and like (online or in the real world) during our journey through Africa.
Written by a collective (Robert Berold et al) “to give people in the rural areas of South Africa some of the information they need to help organise their communities and improve their lives,” it was published in 1981 by South Africa’s Environmental and Development Agency, an organisation working with small village groups on agriculture, water supply and other projects.
The book is wonderfully written (in plain English) and beautifully illustrated. Even more impressive is its encyclopaedic scope – from breeding geese, making hand pumps and organising seed-buying groups to making a will, dealing with police and starting a library.
While it focuses on South Africa in the 1980s, it’s probably still interesting reading for English-speaking smallholders – and people working to change their communities – anywhere in the world. Alternatively, an updated edition – The People’s Farming Workbook – is available from Practical Action via Stylus Publishing. Meanwhile, I’m off to find out how to build a flyproof pit.