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Our Origins

One of our founding members, named Peter Phefo, dreamt of a porcupine lying in the bush. The next day he went to the place he had seen in his dream and found the quills. 


He gathered them up and later handed them out to a research group that was studying the Groot Marico River.

He gave the thick and sturdy quills to the men, like assegais to warriors. He handed the long, thin and delicate quills to the women, to represent their beauty. Then he told the group the Tswana name for the quills – ‘Mmutlwa wa Noko’ which literally means the ‘thorn of the porcupine’. Peter emphasized that the porcupine is a peace loving creature but it will defend itself vigorously when threatened.

A group of dedicated volunteers, including Peter, has been working together since 2010 to preserve the sensitive Groot Marico environment and its precious peoples and 
established an association in January 2011.


Since its members are multi-cultural, the black and white quill is the guiding symbol of all cultures working together for a common goal. The black and white on the quill also represent man and nature's interdependence.
And so Mmutlwa wa Noko was born.

  Our Goals

PROTECT the Groot Marico River, its catchment, aquifer system and unique biodiversity - a strategically significant and vital water resource to South Africa and its neighbouring countries:

Create awareness of the  Groot Marico's unique ecological significance and natural beauty, as well as its cultural, spiritual and ancestral importance.

Support  development of the area  in an economically viable and sustainable way,  in harmony with the environment, to provide job security in tourism, farming and environmental activities to ensure a future for all.       

ASSIST individuals and communities who are affected by decisions made regarding their environment, especially the river, upon which many are totally dependent for their existence, livelihood and wellbeing  by INFORMING them of their rights  and by providing them with the knowledge, tools, opportunity and courage to make vital inputs to the relevant authorities.


In line with this to ensure that proper procedures contained in the law are followed.

Chairman of MWN Brian Sheer and Deputy Chairman Peter Phefo, community leader of the traditional community of Koffiekraal, pose with their dream car after the Regional Mining, Development and Environmental Committee (REMDEC) meeting at the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) in Klerksdorp, where MWN objected to a mining application by Samrec (Pty) Ltd  in the sensitive Groot Marico River Catchment.

  Our Team

Did you know?


The Groot Marico River forms the headwaters  of the Limpopo River Basin  which  provides water to 4 countries - South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

The Upper Groot Marico is one of the few remaining stretches of free flowing river in South Africa

with water that is so pure that you can drink directly from the river.

The Groot Marico River is the only surface flowing source of fresh water in this area.

The Groot Marico River river has become a flagship river of national importance due to its good condition, high biodiversity and cultural value.

​We are  a completely voluntary association motivated by our love for this extraordinary part of Africa .

We  are committed to its protection and preservation.  

While we are environmentally based our focus is on the humanitarian consequences of environmental degradation. 

We  have excellent contacts in the national media and with environmental and legal groups and with scientific experts in various fields.





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