CARBON OFFSET INITIATIVE – GREENING THE COMMUNITY
Bringing Nature back to a township of KwaNobhule
Greening the Community is a project that has brought together Indalo Nursery, Wilderness Foundation Africa and CCFA to create a green landscape in the township of KwaNobhule in the Eastern Cape, through the planting of indigenous trees and plants. It aims to combat carbon emissions while also alleviating poverty, growing food, driving social change, uplifting the community and creating a sustainable future.
Indalo Nursery is based in the 3100 hectare Hopewell Nature Reserve and Estate, which lies to the south of KwaNobuhle. The team’s exposure to working on beautiful, luscious conservation estates reinforced the positive impact of green spaces for sustainability of both people and the planet. This sparked the idea to create a greener environment within the township.
John Witbooi, founder of Indalo, was saddened by the state of the township with its lack of trees, plants and green spaces. KwaNobhule is under-resourced, brown and barren. Greening the Community is the response to his observation, passion for the environment and a desire to make a change.
But the project is set to expand beyond greening. It seeks to tackle the unemployment challenge head-on, while instilling a passion for conservation. Unemployment is rife in South Africa and the project aims to empower young people with skills to start up their own businesses.
The project is being introduced in three phases. The short term goal includes enlisting 20 local students to enrol on the Siyazenzela Life Skills and Employability Course. The course focusses on indigenous horticulture, plant handling, growing food, traditional medicine and general conservation awareness and practices.
As part of the Siyazenzela training students will plant trees throughout the community – these will include fruit trees to ‘put something on the table’ as well as the traditional Wild Olive or Umnquma – used to make the Xhosa hunting and fighting stick or the Intonga, a traditional wild olive walking stick. The Spekboom will also be planted as it acts as a carbon sponge, produces oxygen and improves the quality of the air.
The trees will be planted in various gardens of community members who are prepared to look after them and will become the property of those home owners. Medium term goals include identifying relatively secure schools, churches and community gardens in which to begin tree planting and education. The final goal is to build and set up a retail nursery where the community can purchase their own plants. The nursery will also house a coffee shop, a safe space in which to socialise and relax.
Indalo is currently producing handmade pots with succulents, used as décor in the Mantis properties and sold at local markets. All proceeds going to the project.
Greening the Community is an empowerment project that encourages people to take responsibility for the space in which they live, their community and ultimately their planet.