Rainbow Commons and sustainability centre

Last updated: December 2, 2012 (2 years ago)
Listing created on: July 7, 2012

Rainbow Commons and sustainability centre

(Howick, South Africa)

  • Status: Re-forming
  • Formed: 2004  Established: 2006
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Website address:
  • Contact Name: Samantha Rose
  • Phone: 27835994792
  • Address:
    P.O. Box 98
    Howick, 3290
    South Africa
  • This Community is Re-forming


  • Visitor Process

    Visitors accepted: Yes
    The Rainbow Sustainability Commons is a non-profit organisation that teachers sustainable living and permaculture. We are crowd-funding our projects (organic gardens, tree planting, adding more appropriate technology) at the Commons so visitors become part of the financial sustainability of the Commons by being here. In turn, we offer skills & knowledge in permaculture to all visitors. 50% of the daily donation goes to the organisation with the other 50% covering accommodation in the yurt and 3 meals/day. First week of visiting is R100/day, second week is R75/day. Visitors also contribute 4 hours of help at the Commons–permaculture work. Visiting for one day falls into the 1st week donation amount.

  • Membership Process

    Open to new Members: Yes

Mission Statement:

Sustainable, cooperative

Community Description:

The Rainbow Commons is an off-grid living and learning centre for sustainability. We host individuals and groups to experience appropriate technology, cooperative living, and permaculture design.

Zuvuya is 1000 acres of land located at the foot of a mountain in the Midlands of KwaZulu Natal South Africa. The land is blessed with abundant spring water, rivers, wattle for building and firewood, arable land, clay for building, temperate climate and betweeen a vibrant locally-focused area called the Dargle where neighbors grow and exchange home-made products and also Impendle–a culturally-rich Zulu community.

We are in the process of re-visioning and co-creating our community which was formed in 2004. There are currently a few permanent members and a few people renting space on the land. There are many opportunities to make businesses on the land such as agricultural (ie berry farm, aquaculture) or teaching & transformational work (ie camps and workshops).

Individuals and families are welcome to experience this community by coming to stay for a while while doing work-exchange. Room & board in exchange for 6 hours work/day. We are re-developing our constitution and welcoming policies.


  • Adult Members: 11
  • Non-member Residents: 5
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Additional Comments: We enjoy sharing our personal spirituality together but nothing dogmatic

    Spirituality is up to the individual but we enjoy sharing our own spiritual practices with each other

    We would like a teacher to join us!

Social Factors

  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Native American, Buddhist, Paganism/Earth Religions, Unitarian Universalist, Ecumenical (includes “all religions”), Eclectic (integrates pieces from many religions)
  • Education Style(s): Home Schooling


  • Decision Making: Consensus (everyone agrees)
  • Identified Leader: Yes
  • Leadership Core Group: Yes
  • Additional Comments: The Rainbow Commons is managed by Samantha Rose & her partner and the land of Zuvuya is owned by Jill but we hope to have a more shared leadership as we re-create our community

    Those who have lived on the land for the last 6 years are a core group

    The land is owned by one woman who makes decisions about the land but we hope the land will be put into a trust to land & community matters can be more consensus-based.

Land and Buildings

  • Housing Provided: Yes, for all or most members.
  • Location: Rural, Rural
  • Area: 1000 acres
  • Land owned by: Individual community member(s)
  • Current number of residences: 7
  • Additional Comments: Much of the land is natural (mountain, etc)

    We really hope that the land-owner puts the land into a trust–she is looking into it at the moment

    Some are pre-existing, some built by members

Labor and Money

  • Shared Income: Members have completely independent finances
  • Shared Expenses: Little or no share of expenses
  • Regular Fee: 0
  • Additional Comments: We hope to have some cooperative businesses on the land

    Not at this point unless it’s work-exchange of 6 hrs/day for room & board

    There was a fee for

    R200/month for community funds


  • Shared meals: 1-3 times per month
  • Current food produced: Up to 25%
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: Not at all important – people may eat however they individually choose.
  • Dietary Practice: Mostly Vegetarian
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used seldomly, or ceremoniously.
  • Tobacco Use: Yes, used seldomly, or ceremoniously.
  • Additional comments: We would like to get-together more regularly.

    Our personal food gardens

    Mostly people are vegetarian

    We do not promote alcohol but a bottle of wine is sometimes served with a meal

    People are to smoke away from common areas

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

Global Ecovillage Network (GEN)


South Africa, sustainability, appropriate technology, yurts, permaculture, family

We happily link to the following organizations, all of whom share our strong commitment to promoting community and a more cooperative world:
Cohousing The Federation of Egalitarian Communities - Communes Coop Community Cooperative Sustainable Intentional North American Students of Cooperation Global Ecovillage Network
Special thanks to the sponsors of our Art of Community Events.
Bryan Bowan Architects California Cohousing International Communes Desk ICSA NICA Wolf Creek Lodge