A garden project in the midst of a pandemic is giving new hope to a community in Cafda.
Using his own money and tools and some donated plants, Cafda resident Kirk van de Merwe started the lockdown garden – which boasts a small putt-putt course – on a City pavement on the corner of Tambourine and Oboe streets, next to Delta Primary School.
There was a garden at the spot previously, says Kirk, but it was abandoned, so he took it upon himself to start it up again.
“There was only one lone tree, and that’s where I worked from to turn it into a spot that the community can be proud of,” Kirk says. “This is proof that we can start making changes ourselves and not depend on the government.”
Ralph Bouwers, from Guardians of the National Treasure (GNT), a Lavender Hill non-profit organisation, and Nigel Jones, from Nigel’s Feeding Angels NPO, are working with Kirk and others to set up similar projects in other communities.
The group has also started a chess club and are setting up chess tables in the garden.
“Poverty is rife in our communities,” says Nigel, “but we can still beautify our neighbourhoods. It takes discipline, but we can do it.”
Chess gets children thinking and teaches them discipline and that all their actions have consequences, says Nigel.
“They can take what they learn from chess into their everyday lives because every move in chess you have to stand accountable for it. If you decide today to get into drugs and gangsterism or other bad things, you’re going to carry the consequences. If you do good, this will also show. So soon we will have children from this community representing South Africa and the province in chess competitions.”
Cafda resident Rachel Arendse says the initiative will benefit the community.
“It’s important that people take pride in their communities and to give children and young people something to do with their hands and keep them away from the wrong things. We need projects like this in every community and in every street.”
Another resident, Allister Braaf, agreed. “If all our areas did this, people would start taking pride in their areas. I know of a few fields and corners where the dirt and rubbish are piling up. Doing the garden at these places would be very helpful and address many issues”.
Ward 110 councillor Shanen Rossouw says the garden is a great idea.
“This is a step in the right direction because people are taking ownership of their communities, and I am very happy about it. We will support them in whichever way we can. I went out to the garden and asked if they needed anything and was told they need a water point and plants so we agreed to assist.”
The group needs chess boards, chess clocks and other equipment to keep the project going. To help, contact Kirk at 073 853 1201, Nigel at 078 161 7966 or Ralph at 078 629 3258.