An Indigenous Haven
Our beautiful iThemba Campus is situated in Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal, with a breath-taking view of the Valley of 1000 Hills. Since the inception of Focus on iThemba in 2003, founders Danie and Judy van den Heever have poured love and intention into stewarding this ‘Place of hope’ and creating a Campus filled with indigenous flora and fauna that is cherished and respected by all those who enjoy the Campus.
41 acres in size, this piece of land boasts a richness in biodiversity and pays attention to the unique beauty of the KwaZulu-Natal landscape. It hosts a profusion of endemic plants, a protected wetland area, indigenous grasslands and an abundance of birds, insects and reptiles. Raptors, colourful butterflies, bees and blooming African irises can be spotted almost every day by those who stop to look. As we appreciate the beauty around us, we honour our founders, Danie and Judy van den Heever, who inspired a deep love for our land, and whose very own hands were part of the planting, sowing, toiling and transforming of the Campus grounds.
A Symbiotic Relationship: Focus on iThemba and Waterfall Schools
Key to understanding the nature of our relationship with Waterfall Schools is the extraordinary piece of land that we call the iThemba Campus. Our densely biodiverse and eco-conscious Campus has been a refuge to many over the years, providing a ‘Place of Hope’ to the Valley of 1000 Hills Community and a home to Focus on iThemba for nearly two decades. Today, we have the privilege of seeing our Campus serve as an educational hub to a trio of schools incorporating Waterfall Pre-Primary, Waterfall Preparatory and Waterfall College, collectively known as Waterfall Schools.
As co-habitants of the Campus, Waterfall Schools play an integral role in supporting our goal of striving for continued sustainability and longevity. Our Campus sustainability model could be described as a value exchange, whereby the Schools benefit from the facilities on Campus, and through their growth and occupation, we receive the benefit of organisational sustainability, thus allowing us to direct 100% of our donor funding to our life-changing iThemba Programmes.
For both Focus on iThemba and Waterfall Schools, the importance of ensuring that our overlapping philosophies of investing in and prioritising growth through education is paramount. To ensure that these are kept in focus, we co-share three Board Members and work closely together in our iThemba Educare and iThemba Scholars Programmes.
Conservation on Campus
Recognising that we have a responsibility to conserve and protect the unique and diverse ecosystem around us, our landscaping philosophy seeks to cultivate a sense of ‘Biodiversity Stewardship’ both on and off Campus, and foster an attitude of respect and responsibility towards leaving this land as a legacy for those who follow. Conservation efforts have been seen across Campus through the addition of solar panels on Waterfall Pre-Primary’s roof in 2019 and most recently, installation of four hydration stations, located at the Campus Cafe, Waterfall Pre-Primary kitchen and the Jacob House office. A fourth will soon follow for Waterfall Preparatory staff to enjoy. These stations offer delicious tasting filtered borehole water for staff, children, parents and visitors to drink and is a positive move towards eliminating the need for plastic water bottles on Campus, also reducing the transport of these components to and from Campus.
These conservation efforts form part of a Campus wide initiative to create a sustainable future in which we are all aware of our interdependency and relationship with nature.