Joseph Matimba, 48, a pioneer of permaculture in South Africa, was killed in a tragic bus accident in Zimbabwe on 5 April 2017. After weeks of trying to find out what had become of Mr Matimba, the terrible news that he was travelling on a Johannesburg-bound Proliner Bus that had crashed and burned was confirmed on 26 April when Mr Matimba’s name appeared in the official list of the 31 victims of the fatal accident.
Joe, or Mr Permaculture as he was known by many, was born in Chimanimane and lived the first stage of his life in this remote mountainous area. As a young man in Zimbabwe, he was one of the first Africans to be trained by the father of permaculture, Mr Bill Mollison. Joe’s subsequent passion for permaculture as an important development tool, as the solution to food insecurity and hunger, drove him throughout his life. He became the lead permaculture consultant for Food & Trees for Africa in the early 1990’s and through the next decades taught thousands to grow natural, organic food, plant trees and create healthy environments, whilst using natural resources sustainably. Joe embodied permaculture’s dynamic principals and applied them to his life. Serving poor communities across the country through his committed, almost evangelistic work, he rejuvenated people’s attitudes towards the environment. He was kind and cheerful and had a unique ability to capture people’s attention with his joyful laughter and passionate permaculture stories. He was a loyal co-worker and colleague, a man of integrity. Joe leaves behind his wife Miriam and three sons, Junior, Amogelang and the youngest, Joysen. Chris Wild (Director), Jeunesse Park (Founder) and the Food & Trees for Africa teams, past and present, send heartfelt condolences to Joe’s family and all the people he has worked with and helped. He will be sorely missed.