Township community's veggie co-operative funds new toilets, masks

Township community's veggie co-operative funds new toilets, masks

- The community of Khenana informal settlement in Durban have started two vegetable gardens

- They sell spinach and cabbage to buy masks, gloves and sanitisers for everyone during the Covid-19 pandemic

- The first communal garden was stared in June last year and was initially utilised to raise money for toilets

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A community in Durban has decided to take matters into their own hands and to protect themselves during this lockdown.

Two communal vegetable gardens have been a major help in the Khenana informal settlement during these difficult times.

The gardens are used to grow veggies that the shack dwellers sell to buy necessities to protect themselves against the coronavirus.

According to GroundUp, residents sell spinach and cabbage to raise money for masks, gloves and sanitisers for the community.

The first garden was started in the settlement in Cato Crest in June last year. It has since enabled to buy three chemical toilets, which are priced at R1 500 each, to replace pit toilets.

The garden also helped maintain a tuckshop and to help residents with transport money.

Township community's veggie co-operative funds new toilets, masks

Yongama Nonkula in the Khenana co-operative veggie garden. Photo: Nokulunga Majola/GroundUp.
Source: UGC

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The community consists of about 450 people and according to the leader, Lindokuhle Mnguni, only 40% of them have jobs.

Mnguni said:

“After seeing how many people are struggling to find jobs, we thought it would be best if we started something as a community. We didn’t have any experience or knowledge of running a food garden."

They were able to start one garden with the help from Abahlali baseMjondolo, Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra in Brazil and Potere al Popolo in Italy, and have now branched out to a second garden.

Both gardens are on municipal ground and are close together without fences separating them. Mnguni revealed an initial struggle was to find seeds and the lack of knowledge about planting and growing veggies.

But, as a community they managed to overcome the obstacles. He said:

"We put our heads together and came up with an idea that worked. We planted spinach and after some time we harvested it and started selling it. People would come to the garden to purchase our produce."

Mnguni added that they hope with the eased lockdown regulations that they would be able to supply supermarkets with their produce.

According to the leader, a good harvest can generate about R14 000 while a bad one brings in only R8 000.

With strict lockdown regulations and the desire to protect the community, about R4 000 was used to purchase masks, sanitiser and gloves for all residents.

"If we hadn’t had money saved up for emergencies, I don’t know what we could have done. Many of our residents are unemployed, they can’t afford to buy these things,” Ngcobo said.

Meanwhile, previously reported that a man, Themba Malume, inspired South Africans with photos of an agri-park in a community.

He revealed he transformed a dumping site into a large garden to plant veggies. The agri-park will help feed families during the lockdown period.

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