Get fresh and plant veg, say Ghetto gardeners

Founder of the Ghetto Gardeners, Imifuno iFresh eKasi Ludwe Qamata is urging people to use their spaces to plant vegetables.

Sick and tired of seeing piles of dirt along their streets and littering yards, the young people of Site C have called on their neighbours to do something to clean their area.

Going by the name of Ghetto Gardeners, Imifuno iFresh eKasi, the youth called on the local people to help clean up their hood and yards by planting veggie gardens.

The youngsers said they had noticed a trend of dirty yards and streets and they wanted to encourage people to clean up and recycle more.

“Recently there was an article in Vukani about the dirty streets in our area. That does not go down well with us as young people. That is why we started this movement years ago to encourage people to gain more control over their lives. We have been to schools to teach young people about cleanliness and gardening.

“We are of the belief that should we start gardening, things will change for the better. The aim is to encourage people to become valued members of their community,” said Ludwe Qamata, a founding member.

He said the group was not only encouraging the people of Site C to clean up but had also been to Kuyasa, Mandela Park, Harare, Makhaza and other areas of Khayelitsha.

“We visit communities and show them how to clean their spaces and to make a garden. We want to use young people’s energy for bettering our communities. We want them to redirect their energy to better things. We have a problem of drugs and gangs and the only way to end such ills is by using young people. We want to create a healthy environment,” he said.

While their project had not been all smooth sailing, he said, there is hope in Khayelitsha.

He said they had reached more than 100 households and people are now realising the importance of their yards. Mr Qamata said the onus was now on young people to be more responsible.

“We do not have a place for storage but there are people who are willing to keep the seedlings at their homes.

“The good thing is that we have been around giving out pamphlets and some of amapharaphara are buying the idea.

“I have said that these thugs have gotten out of hand so they should be the target for change so that people can feel safe in their areas. These young people have talent and skills. That is why they are a target to be in the forefront of this campaign,” he told Vukani.

The group was praised by those who are reaping the fruits of their toil. Norah Tshamlambo has a garden at home. She said thanks, the group, she had managed to grow a garden.

“I am benefiting from their knowledge. I love the work they do. They made me love agriculture, big time.

“I was saying to them I would love to have a bigger space where I can plant whatever I want to plant. It would be great if the agriculture department could visit our gardens and see if they could not help with the bigger spaces,” she said.

Ms Tshamlambo said she was inspired and hoped to lure other community members to follow in her footsteps.

She encouraged people to clean their yards and create gardens. 

“There are times when I do not buy veggies. This is something we can all do. It is good when young people are taking the lead for our environment. I am encouraged. I would be pleased to see all of us planting even in tyres and on small pellets,” she said.

The Ghetto Gardeners, Imifuno iFresh eKasi, consists of the following members: Nokuthula Tinzi, Thandiswa Mdizela, Lwando Mnyama, Lunga Ngqanyana and Mr Qamata.