Oude Molen Village

The Oude Molen Village is located on the site known as Valkenberg East, near the suburb of Pinelands.  The site comprises numerous buildings and large park-like gardens and is bordered by sensitive wetlands alongside the Black River.  The village was created with the aim of establishing a working model of a sustainable eco-village and to encourage an environment of respect and consideration for people, nature and diversity. 

Oude Molen is a micro-enterprise village comprised of approximately 70 tenants representing a diverse range of businesses such as artists, woodworkers, music studios, photographers, a training centre and a frail-care centre.  All together, the tenants provide employment for approximately 300 people.

The aim of the village is to demonstrate how under-utilised public assets can be used in an integrated way to provide business and employment opportunities, thereby addressing poverty.  Hence, the village has been developed with the synergies between small businesses in mind.  For example, some of the wood from a tree-felling business is used by another business to make garden furniture. 

There are a number of buildings that are of historic interest – a vegetarian restaurant is located in one that has been renovated.  Other buildings are vacant and have become rundown, with future plans being to restore and revive historical Oude Molen.  The letting of office space, fairs and festivals, the farmstall sales and other activities in the area supply the funding for the project to make it self-sustainable.

Future plans involve the upgrading of the Black River and of the wetland area, which is located on the Oude Molen Village site.  At present, horse riding and nature walks can be arranged.  Recycling initiatives and the development of alternative energy sources are also projects in their early stages.

The project also demonstrates a working farm in the urban environment. Particular items of interest are:

  • Organic farming – with the vegetables grown being transported by horse and cart into neighbouring suburbs.  Permaculture techniques are used for some of the gardens; and
  • Bee-keeping – visitors can observe the bees and the honey-making process and hear the social behaviour of the bees explained.

The ultimate aim is to establish an economically sustainable micro-enterprise eco-village that is able to showcase how government / community / business partnerships are able to address a wide range of national priorities such as job creation, youth development, occupational therapy, environmental education, arts and cultural interaction, micro-enterprise development, and the demonstration of eco-friendly energy and technology.

The history of Oude Molen:

The area was originally used by Khoi pastoralists for cattle grazing before colonial occupation in 1652, with the confluence of the Black and Liesbeck Rivers playing an important role in Khoi ceremonies.  The area was then used as military barracks until the 1920’s, when a psychiatric hospital was built.

The east side of the hospital was closed in the late 1990’s and the land was transferred to the Department of Property Management.  The buildings had been heavily vandalised and gutted while under the custodianship of the Department of Health.  A private company was then given a mandate to optimise the use of the buildings and land.  The short-term leasing of the buildings to tenants involved in micro-enterprises, was one of the steps that contributed towards the exploration and creation of an inclusive and holistic vision for the premises.

The company, Project Development Services, was committed to the alleviation of poverty through sustainable social, economic and environmental developments and initiated a vision that sought to integrate the aspirations of the key role-players at the time, including the city council and the tenants.  This vision remains the focus of the Oude Molen Village.


My wife and I visited Oude molen yesterday. We have not been there for a few years and we were shocked at the condition it is in. Reading Jenny Ball"s comment from 4 years ago, nothing seems to have changed. This is such a wonderful place with so much potential, I wish that we could get a group together to run it efficiently. I feel as if it is being allowed to fall into complete disrepair so that there is a good excuse to shut it down. This is prime property with the most amazing views. Imagine if we could establish it as a village that only consisted of the creative arts and organic market type places. At present, it looks pretty dodgy. Who decides who. Can reside there? Parts look like a squatter camp. I was trying to find historical info on the village and it is very scant. The reviews are very old and inaccurate. Who is keen to get this initiative going properly? Who do we contact?

Andrew Autagavaia on 27th of April, 2014 at 09:43.

I was @ the Park on the 16-02-2014. There is a huge improvement to the place, especially the pool and gazebos. The officials on duty as well as the Life Guards did an excellent job. Good control was kept all day. Will recommend it as a family orientated venue. Really enjoyed the atmosphere.

Jacqui Topass on 26th of February, 2014 at 23:00.

I have ridden at Oude Molen for many years, and regularly go to the Millstone cafe with my family. It is a wonderful place, and one thing about it that makes me happy to know it that all the horses there have been rescued from previous owners who abused them.I wish we could do something to help save the farm...

Hannah Wolpe on 28th of April, 2011 at 13:31.

For the latest info, please visit, join and leave your comments on the official Oude Molen Eco Village Face Book Group Page- Thank you. www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=134052249049

Bruno on 23rd of December, 2010 at 10:32.

For the latest info, please visit, join and leave your comments on the official Oude Molen Eco Village Face Book Group Page- Thank you.

bruno on 23rd of December, 2010 at 09:41.

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