Mandla’s resourcefulness is a great example for us all.
Mandla’s work on the Garden Project began around 10 years ago. He and a group of woman, including his wife Nokuthula, began to clean up an Illegal Dumping area in the East of Johannesburg, South Africa. The land, which used to belong to the Mines, had fallen into dereliction after the mine shut in the 1980s. Using nothing more than their bare hands, Mandla and his team, painstakingly sifted through the rubbish, collecting and recycling all the plastics and then began to till and rejuvenate the Land. Over time and with huge amounts of hard work, they have managed to create a garden oasis, which supports the community with not only fresh produce but with education and employment as well.
Mandla now runs numerous garden location, where he trains others to grow their own food. He still has to pay for the expenses like the water, seeds, the garden equipment and gasoline, from his own pocket. He subsidises his income by running another good cause: a plastic’s Recycling business. He collects rubbish from the wasteland, processes it and takes it the recycling centres in the area. He also teaches others the best way to recycle and make the most use of plastics. He also runs a library from his Garden: he collects books that are donated to SPCA in Johannesburg. They generously let him take the items they do not need. With these, he educates and supports for over 50 children.
Mandla, who himself received no formal education, was born in the Eastern Cape and grew up as a cattle herder. But he believes in the power of Education and as is a supporter of the Internet as an Educator. He maintains if he can manage to offer Free Wifi to his community, he is giving the many disadvantaged children and adults he supports, the chance of a better life. Mandla says that the Covid-19 Lockdown has been bad for the children of South Africa. The schools have been shut, the Teachers have gone unpaid and everyone is having to work for free. But he remains very positive and believes that by providing food and in teaching others to provide their own food, he is part of the solution. He even hopes to use the Internet to formally educate himself one day…
Mandla is a true Cauz Hero in our eyes. (He has also received some formal recognition for his work. See below from the Mayor of Ekurhluni)
- We would like to help him raise the money for a Container, which he plans to turn it into a Library and place of Education.
- We would also like to help him raise money for a Container so he can expand his plastics business as well bulk store the garden equipment and the seeds he needs to survive.
(Thanks to Carl & Jacques Mulder from the ‘Common Ground Initiative’ for bringing Mandla’s work to our attention)