Isn’t it amazing what happens when we just get started?

Author: Zanele Majebe, GA Communications

Ikhwezi Lomso senior citizens club in Cape Town, South Africa started a project to help uplift the impoverished Ekuphumleni community. This project consisted of two major initiatives – a soup kitchen that helped to feed the struggling community, and a sewing project that not only helped put food on the table, but upskilled youth with the intention of creating sustainable employment opportunities. Out of these initiatives came the idea to start a community garden. The Club decided to approach a nearby school for a piece of land. The school Principal agreed and the Ekuphumleni community garden was born.

Senior citizens

We were taught about the soil, seeds, plants and how to plant

Pick ‘n Pay noticed the garden and approached the senior citizens Club to assist with training. The training took four months at one of Pick ‘n Pay’s training gardening sites at Endabeni.

“We were taught about the soil, seeds, plants and how to plant. We are still very grateful for the training and the knowledge that we have gained that we are now sharing with the youth that are assisting us in the garden” said Mr Pokomela, a senior founder of the Ekuphumleni community garden.


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Government comes on board

In 2008 the Club approached the Department of Agriculture to sponsor the Ekuphumleni community garden with equipment. The Department gave the Club seeds, wire, a water tank and two pumps – one to help fill the tank with water and the other to help water the garden.

The Department gave the Club seeds, wire, a water tank and two pumps

The Department of Public Works then approached Ekuphumleni community garden facilitator, Mr Jeremy, to form a partnership to train the unemployed youth participating in the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). Mr Jeremy facilitates the gardening training programme, training 10 EPWP community workers for six months each year. He also helps to advise and guide home gardeners and encourages former EPWP community workers to start their own garden.

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Infertile soil

Mr Pokomane and Mr Jeremy describe their garden as an organic garden and highlighted climate change and poor soil as some of the challenges.

Getting the land properly fertilised is a major challenge because of the fact that it is sand – also the fact that we are always running short of manure

Growing surplus to sell to the market

They then describe how in winter the sand separates itself from the manure, affecting the size of the potatoes.

This is one of the reasons that we have not yet established a market. We are only selling what we have manged to produce from the garden to the community. Apart from that we are not getting money from the garden, most of the time using our own money to buy seeds and manure.

Mr Jeremy’s Appeal

I asked then in conclusion what the Ekuphumleni community garden would ask for from any Donor?

Funding for water, electricity and toilets – this will help to increase the surplus production and create jobs. That on its own will help us to establish the market and form partnerships with other organisations or companies whereby we can sell to them and be able to sustain the project and create ten jobs for the unemployed youth

Why does Gondwana Alive support project’s like these?

This project demonstrates what is possible when we take initiative, and it is why Gondwana Alive is supporting the Ekuphumleni community garden by helping to raise awareness of the project, and the people and organizations behind the project.

If you liked this blog you may enjoy this one and be interested in our GrowGreen Programme.

Visit the GrowGreen page on our website ( if you would like to learn more about our programme and projects to build capacity to heal our planet.

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What you can do #1

Take initiative and start your own garden project – contact Nolo for support on

What you can do #2

Donate to GreenGrow and projects like Ekuphumleni community garden

What you can do #3

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