The Qobo Qobo Essential Oils Incubator is a social enterprise which was formed in 2014 by the Siyakholwa Group.

Nestled at the foot of the Amathole Mountains, Qobo Qobo creates an enabling environment for the local farming community to get into the lucrative essential oils agriculture and production markets, utilising the incubator as a vehicle for economic and social upliftment.

The high cost of entry into the essential oils market is the largest barrier to entry for rural farmers; this was the motivating factor for Qobo Qobo to integrate small-scale farmers into the programme.  The returns which essential oils production is yielding through our incubator, has significant benefits for the farmers, the community, and the Eastern Cape Province as a whole.

The incubator model means that the project incorporates agricultural specialists to provide mentorship and coaching support in the areas of land clearing, installations, planting, maintenance, and harvesting techniques to the local farmers to ensure that they can farm sustainably.


A new and innovative approach to rural development, built on excellent products & services, and underpinned by practical support that empowers communities to use their land and resources sustainably and efficiently – for the benefit of all stakeholders.


To enable rural farmers to become sustainable growers of essential oils plants.

Management Team

Dr Rejoice Shumba-Mtisi
Group Director

Rejoice is passionate about social enterprises, community development and early childhood development. She is a motivated, resourceful, and results-driven leader with proven ability to efficiently manage multiple projects and support C-level executives in fast-paced, high-pressure environments.

Rejoice is an astute, qualified, and internationally experienced PhD Sociology holder with solid expertise covering strategic management, team leadership, organisational management, socio economic development research, entrepreneurship, academic lecturing, writing and publishing.

As the Group Director, Rejoice is strongly focused on helping communities and people become independent and realise their skills and potential.  She has led teams of various sizes and has gained experience in strategic management of non-profit organisations and social enterprises.

She has invaluable experience in project coordination, project management, human resources management and organisational development.

Tafara Shuro

Tafara has been involved in rural community development in the Eastern Cape for the past 12 years.  He has a wealth of experience from different industries ranging from construction, agriculture, and training. He has been involved in the Siyakholwa Group as an executive for the past 7 years.

His strengths are in project management and in creating and maintaining teams that conduct effective community engagement processes which ensure that the organisation is empowered to utilise available resources.

In his current role, he is working with a team that is involved in transitioning community-based farmers to profitable essential oils producers, utilising a hub social enterprise model.  His work in the social enterprise hub involves shaping and evolving Qobo Qobo essential oils from a donor-funded business to becoming a profitable enterprise.

Tafara also serves on the board of the South African Essential Oils Producers’ Association (SAEOPA).

Jessica Zietsman
Finance Manager, Siyakholwa Group

Jessica joined the Qobo Qobo team in 2019 and manages the finance department.  Jessica has more than 10 years’ experience in finance.  She is responsible for overseeing the financial health of the organisation and helps to ensure its continued sustainability.

Bulelwa Matshikiza
Farm Manager

Bulelwa has worked with Siyakholwa for the past 17 years, and has more than 10 years of experience in management and bookkeeping.  She leads a team that is involved with the daily activities of the hub, ensuring all projects are completed and delivered on time.  She is also responsible for ensuring that community engagement and facilitation is managed well between local stakeholders and the Qobo Qobo Essential Oils Incubator.  Bulelwa has strong capabilities in quality management in our production processes.

Nkosana Zonke
Site Supervisor

Nkosana has been involved in the company for the past 12 years in different positions. His current role involves managing all the technical activities related to the project.  He is responsible for ensuring that all workstreams related to his role happen efficiently and are delivered on time.

Mike Horn
Farming Consultant

Mike brings a wealth of experience in farming best practice – he has been involved in agriculture for over 20 years. He has played a key role in training and mentoring our farmers and has shaped the quality of the farmers in the incubator.

Meet our Farmers

The Qobo Qobo Essential Oils Incubator uses an out-grower model where the rural farmers farm independently, growing and supplying biomass to the hub.

The farmers are on an incubation programme which gives them access to farming tools and resources, and they are supported through continuous training, mentoring, and coaching.

Nokulunga Quma

Nokulunga is passionate about farming.  Her dream is to become a successful commercial farmer.  She wants to learn as much as she can about essential oils agriculture so that in future, she can even venture into other essential oils plants.  She wants to become more involved in the business and to understand the whole value chain.  She is working closely with the business development manager and the agricultural consultant to learn and understand the business.  She is coming to grips with understanding income statements, value chains, cost breakdowns, etc.  For Nokulunga, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and she is grateful to the Qobo Qobo Essential Oils Incubator for affording her this opportunity that is already changing her life.

Nosimphiwe Manentsa

Nosimphiwe is passionate about agriculture and has a good understanding of essential oils and herbs.  Her natural drive to succeed made her a good fit for the programme.  She is a single mother of three and has a dream to succeed in this business so that she can provide for her children.

Thandeka Mkoko

Thandeka is a single mother of three.  She is from a farming family who taught her to work the land from an early age.  When she joined Siyakholwa, she requested to work in the nursery where she was promoted to supervisor over time.  Her leadership skills and her passion for her work were evident in everything she did, and when the opportunity arose for another farmer unit, she was selected. She believes in direct supervision and each day; she goes to her field and works hand in hand with her team.  Currently, she has four hectares of Rosemary and one hectare of Rose Geranium, and she would like to expand and double this to ten hectares.

Sifundo Sebetha

Sifundo had been trying for several years to start a farming business; his major challenge was getting capital for all the farming inputs needed. He soon discovered that starting a farming business without capital was not easy. He had brilliant ideas but could not get a funder to turn his ideas into reality.  Joining the Qobo Qobo Essential Oils Incubator has therefore been a breakthrough to realising his dreams.

He says that he could never have made the level of progress that he has made in such a short time were it not for the hub.  He is now a proud farmer who is progressively gaining new farming skills.

Siyabonga Gamnca

From the time that Siyabonga left school he has always had a heart and a passion for becoming an entrepreneur.  His biggest challenge was that he could not acquire enough capital to start and see a business to profitability.  When he joined the Qobo Qobo Essential Oils Incubator as an incubatee, he was thrilled by the opportunity to join a funded business.  This has been a dream come true for him and he intends to fully utilise this opportunity. He is farming on family land, and is excited to be learning about Rosemary and the distillation process.  Siyabonga is highly motivated to succeed. He is often found in his field, working diligently with the hired casual labour.

Nosipho Gamnca

Before joining the Qobo Qobo Essential Oils Incubator, Nosipho’s family land was lying fallow for over 25 years.  She did not have money to invest in a farming business and had almost given up on ever utilising the land.  Participation in the incubator has given her renewed hope.  Before joining the programme, she knew very little about essential oils and never thought that she would ever be involved in essential oils agriculture.  She is amazed by the progress that she has made in the fields.

Thulani Gamnca

Thulani is a family man who found himself in a very difficult financial situation because he had been unemployed for a long time and could not afford to provide for his family. Before joining the project, he had been relying on handouts from his extended family. When he was presented with the opportunity to join the Qobo Qobo Essential Oils Incubator, he grabbed the opportunity to finally become involved in a project with the potential to change his life. He is currently farming on family land, and aims to one day own his own tract of land so that he can expand the project. His desire is to fully understand Rosemary so that he can become one of the biggest growers of Rosemary in the region.

Lindiwe Ntsila

Lindiwe is a middle-aged woman who was born and bred in Keiskammahoek. Her grandfather was a farmer and left the farm to Lindiwe’s family. Lindiwe became involved with the Qobo Qobo Essential Oils Incubator in order to make the land more productive and profitable. Each day she sees the progress on her farm and is convinced that this is a project that will lift her and her family out of poverty. She is still new in the programme and is learning about essential oils. She would like to understand the essential oils value chain and would also like to venture into other essential oil plants.