Yandiswa Mazwane – affectionately known as Mamma Yandi – is one of those incredible women who works tirelessly for their community. Based in Masiphumelele, she created the Masi Creative Hub, fed more than 250 children during lockdown, runs a girls’ club and hosts every creche in Masi for outdoor playing and art classes. Her latest project is to establish a community garden that aims to feed more than 100 hungry children from the community.
Yandiswa has been allowed the use of a large premises next door to Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Centre in Masi for the next nine months. In this time, she has to show that she can use the property to the benefit of the community. If she does this successfully, she’ll be permitted to continue the community projects there for the long term.
Since receiving the land about a month ago, Yandiswa has already been putting the property to good use. She hosts every crèche in Masi on a rolling schedule, for a day of formal art classes and outdoor play. Many of these crèches have no outdoor areas at all, and no formal classes, so this is a highlight for the children. She also hosts a girls’ support club and the Masi Creative Hub at the premises. This registered NGO provides a safe space for high school beginners to do art activities that help them cope with the very real challenges of adolescence and high school. Her latest project is to turn the sprawling, sandy outdoor area into a flourishing community vegetable garden.
“This premises is owned by a trust that is letting me use it for the community. There is so much we can do with this space that was closed up – unused – for five years. We are using it to create a safe space for children, women and young people in Masi. Now, we must also grow food here. Our high school children can come here to learn how to grow food,” she says. “I am determined to make a success of it for our community.”
“There are still at least 100 children in Masi that constantly need our support in terms of a meal,” says Yandiswa. “We are feeding them five days a week and the Generations School provides a packed meal for the weekend. A garden like this would really help us feed these children and many more people. We work with other feeding schemes like the one in Ocean View; any extra food would then be used to feed seniors in the community” she says.
Angela Gomes from Jardim Family Organic Garden in Noordhoek has been assisting with the community garden project, offering advice and training a team of gardeners in their gardens. “One man really showed a passion for the job and he has stayed on to establish this garden. He works five days a week here, although he only earns a stipend of R2000 per month. We need a few things to get this garden growing and sustainable and we hope the Noordhoek community will be able to help us,” she says.
The area is very sandy, and the priority is water. Angela says, “There is supposed to be a borehole on this property but we have been unable to locate it even using experts. We really need help finding it and probably fixing it or – possibly – digging a new one. This garden is not going to be a success without a reliable source of water.”
The list of things the community garden needs:
2. Compost, fertilisers and topsoil
3. Seedlings & seeds (fruit and veggies)
4. Tools: spades, forks, hose pipes, irrigation (sprinklers)
5. Cash donation: to pay gardener a living wage and an assistant once a week
If you can help with any of these please contact Angela Gomes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to help with a cash donation, please send an eft to:
Masiphumelele Creative Hub
First National Bank (FNB)
Account Number: 628 326 910 85
Branch code: 260300
This is a registered NPO so you can claim the relevant tax benefits.