About the Vanwyksdorp Development Institute

Vanwyksdorp Development Institute (VDI) is a not-for-profit company aimed at socio-economic upliftment of poor rural communities, primarily in Vanwyksdorp and the surrounding Klein Karoo. The means to achieve the Vision and Mission is the establishment of a learning campus that provides the environment and opportunity to learn skills and incubate entrepreneurial activities.

Our Core

Mission & Vision

The VDI vision is a community, especially the children and the youth, that is healthy and employable with better opportunities for their lives.

The VDI mission is:

  • to serve as a catalyst and agent for change
  • to provide inspiration and motivation
  • to nurture harmony and respect, and
  • to harness the resources required

for the improvement of the lives of the local and extended community.


The VDI ascribes to the values of honesty, trust and loyalty and we will strive to develop a culture of respect, discipline, friendliness and good manners amongst the communities with whom we work.

Business principles

VDI will not tolerate theft, fraud, corruption or nepotism. We will plan carefully and use our resources as effectively as is possible, remaining ever thrifty, focussed on our purpose and providing value for money.

VDI aims to be collaborative, open-minded and always prepared to learn from others.


The VDI Memorandum of Incorporation has five Strategic Objectives. Each of these objectives has supporting operational strategies.

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Centre of Operation

The aim is to establish a physical presence in Vanwyksdorp, initially primarily for the benefit of the residents of the town and its immediate surrounds. The next phase will be to extend the service capacity to communities in the Klein Karoo, Gouritz Cluster Biosphere and further afield.

A substantial portion of land has been donated in Vanwyksdorp itself, on which improvements can be made and infrastructure erected for the purpose of pursuing the Institute’s goals and objectives.

An initial layout for a possible centre/campus was drafted several years ago. A new process is under way to establish the need more accurately and to draft a new schedule of accommodation. It is anticipated that a multi-phase VDI Master Plan will be the most practical approach to development of the VDI.

The Board has decided that all building must be eco- and environment friendly. Best use will be made of natural light, solar power, natural building materials, insulation, etc. Water will be conserved and grey water used on the campus (e.g. sports fields).

There will be as much integration with the town and key partner institutions and the community as is possible. Accommodation for visitors (staff and students) will be in the already available private guest accommodation until it is unavoidable to erect a form of dedicated lodgings. There will be a reception area with good access to visitors and community users of the Institute. Workshops, tutorial rooms and other infrastructure will aid the implementation of the VDI strategies and will be planned into a masterplan for implementation in phases as the Institute’s activities grow.

There is a small hill (kopje) on the campus, which will be developed as a bio-reserve for visitors to walk on to observe the indigenous plants. As far as is possible this hill will be integrated with the campus to facilitate movement in all spaces.


The red line indicates the boundary of the land marked for development with the VDI as situated in the hamlet of Vanwyksdorp.


Community to Benefit

The immediate population is the town of Vanwyksdorp is variously reported to be between 750 and 1000 residents. There is a sparse population on the farms surrounding town. The municipal IDP (2016) reports that Kannaland “has a relatively young population with the highest number of unemployment between the ages of 15-30 years.” There is a significant number of elderly pensioners living in Vanwyksdorp. There is no apparent deviation from the norm of 50:50 in the gender distribution. Clearly the Institute described will be far too big for such a small community. The aim is to be a campus that is so reputable that people from other communities travel to Vanwyksdorp as a destination to participate in the available programmes.

The Phase 1 target is therefore the residents in the Vanwyksdorp community, followed by residents in Kannaland and adjacent towns and the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR). Once the centre has established its presence it is hoped that students will come from far and wide to learn at the VDI campus.

Other towns and settlements in Kannaland include: Ladismith, Zoar, Amalienstein, Calitzdorp, and those most accessible in Hessequa municipal area is Riversdale and in the Mossel Bay municipal area, Herbertsdale.