31. July 2012 / Robert Schäfer
Abalimi Bezekhaya – Cape Town’s Green Revolution
To mark the 20th anniversary of Topos, the editors have assigned two Special Recognitions to two very different kinds of initiatives. Together they both mark the broad field in which we operate. One is recognition of the Norwegian Tourist Routes (to be explained in more detail via our blog soon). The other recognition goes to Abalimi Bezekhaya - a successful self-help project initiated by the residents of the Cape Flat Townships in Cape Town.
Known as the “Eastern Cape on Cape Town’s doorstep”, the Cape Flats townships (around Cape Town) are populated largely by economic refugees from the previous apartheid homelands of the Ciskei and Transkei. New arrivals into Cape Town are officially estimated to be 1200 per month and unemployment figures are in the region of 30-40%. Abalimi Bezekhaya (Farmers of Home) alleviates poverty and creates self-employment through gardening and micro-farming in the sandy soil of the Cape Flats.
Voluntary association Abalimi was founded in 1983. It is an urban agriculture and environmental action association, working to improve sustainable food production and environmental greening amongst the poor in Cape Town. In particular the project targets women who often represent whole families. “Abalimi” means ‘the farmers’ in isi-Xhosa, the predominant language of their target community. Abalimi supports individual households and groups to implement their own gardening and micro-farming projects. This includes between approx. 2500 home based vegetable gardens and 70-100 community group projects (school gardens, community allotment gardens, communal gardens) per annum. It runs two non-profit nursery projects in Nyanga and Khayelitsha. Called People’s Garden Centres, they supply free advice, information and subsidised gardening inputs such as trees, groundcovers, soil improvers (e.g. manure), seed, seedlings, basic tools, windbreaks and safe pest control remedies.
Greening the townships: indigenous trees are planted mainly in community gardens as windbreaks, but also (on request) in community institutions such as educares, community centres and schools. Abalimi has also established the Manyanani “we do it together” Peace Park - a unique community & environmental centre - and Moya we Khaya “spirit of home” - a pan-African intergenerational cultural community home, which gives everyone - women, elders, youth and men – a healthy and related place in the community and in nature.
Both projects, Abalimi and the Norwegian Tourist Routes, will be presented at the 7th Landscape Biennial of Barcelona (27th-29th September 2012). Topos will be hosting the third day of the event, September 29th, on the occasion of its anniversary. These two projects will also feature in Topos 80 (due out September 2012).
Click here to go to a previous post about the Landscape Biennial in Barcelona.
* Video & image via: www.designother90.org/cities/solutions/abalimi-bezekhaya