Banana Bike Village

A. Background

Zandspruit is one of the largest informal settlements in South Africa, about 20km from the centre of Johannesburg. Most families have limited access to water and there is generally no electricity.

The community we are involved in consists of about 15 families with an average of about 2 children per family. About 70 percent of the parents/guardians are unemployed. The children attend various schools within a 20km radius but receive a limited education with no after school support and difficult study conditions.

B. Initiatives

Current initiatives within the community include the informal supply of food packages and clothing, support with education and medical expenses, and general involvement with the youth to encourage positive values and a culture of entrepreneurship.

bike shack with donated California bikes

Figure 1 — Bike Shack with donated California bikes

C. Bicycles

Bicycles are seen as a key element of youth upliftment:

  • Getting to school regularly
  • Getting to local community centres for extra—murals, extra lessons and computer access
  • Saving costs on transport
  • Having fun and keeping fit
  • Developing a sense of ownership and responsibility
  • Developing entrepreneurial skills

Joshua painting the bike shack

Figure 2 — Joshua painting the Bike Shack

D. Banana Bike Village

Our goal is to develop a bicycle village as a central place for youth — and adults — to bring their bicycles for repairs, spare parts, and training; and a future mini—MTB track.


First five bicycles delivered to Tebogo, Solomon, Lena, Joshua, Sfiso

Figure 3 —First five bicycles delivered to Tebogo, Solomon, Lena, Joshua, Sfiso

Bike Shack construction

Figure 4 — Bike Shack construction

 Thanks to the sponsors

Figure 5 — Thanks to the sponsors!

Five bicycles were delivered on Saturday 17 November ’07 as part of Phase 1 of the Banana Bike Village.

Phase 1 includes the building of a bicycle spare part and repairs workshop (“bike shack”), stocking the workshop with startup tools and spare parts, and the delivery of five more bicycles. Three youths (Sfiso, Joshua, Solomon) have been appointed to the bike village management team with oversight from two parents.

Phase 2 will include development of the bike shack, training on bicycle repairs, defining the repairs/ spare parts business.

Phase 3 will include development of a mini— MTB track, and other areas that look viable for expansion.

Many thanks to Wheels4Life, ITDP, and Axiz (Qhubeka) for sponsorship and transport of the bicycles.

Project Contact

Paul Plantinga Email: [email protected] Tel.: +27 (0)72-643-3669


Posted on

January 2, 2018