Lavender Hill couple on clean-up drive

Ashwin Arries, Janine Magerman and Rowena Julies in front of Chapel Court where the cleaning project started.

A Lavender Hill couple who have been cleaning and gardening in their neighbourhood for a month are now challenging others in their community to do the same.

Janine Magerman, 49, and Ashwin Arries, 33, of Chapel Court, say they struggled for a decade to find permanent jobs, but instead of sitting idle they have turned their attention to cleaning up their surroundings where illegal dumping spots have become an eyesore.

“I started cleaning the bins and swept around the area,” says Ms Magerman.

She and Mr Arries have also started gardening, growing plants and vegetables near Chapel Court.

A few of their neighbours have now started giving them a hand.

“Ashwin and I are working hard every day, sweeping and shovelling in the garden, and the next step is to plant flowers,” says Ms Magerman.

From left, are Shirene Ganga, Rowena Julies, Janine Magerman, Carmen Petersen and Ashwin Arries at their latest cleaning spot in Wicht Street.

The couple are challenging their neighbours to also clean and create gardens in front of the courts.

“We want as many youngsters to get involved in the community as well,” Ms Magerman says.

At Vogel Court, residents have taken up the challenge, and some youngsters there who call themselves the Uprising Youth have been clearing their court and gardening.

Ms Magerman says they are cleaning up the neighbourhood in stages. At the moment, they’re tackling a dumping spot next to a shop in Wicht Street.

“We would like to make the space into a garden and paint the wall as well.”

Shirene Ganga, from Wicht Court, is part of the growing project. “So far I’ve supplied them with cleaning tools that I’ve borrowed from a resident,” she says. “We are busy cleaning up the (dumping spot) but we still need a few days to start the planting. We have quite a lot of work to do, but it will be worth it.”

Ms Ganga says Ms Magerman and Mr Arries are “very creative” and always willing to do odd jobs.

The residents welcome donations such as rakes, hosepipes, shovels and seeds to get Lavender Hill blooming again. Call 082 365 5518 for more information.