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In the way that things sometimes come full circle, Langa resident and retired chef, Mluleki Njokweni, went from making and plating food to preparing the earth that grows the ingredients for the food.
Mluleki is responsible for the food garden at Siyabulela Primary on Washington Street, having started there as a volunteer fourteen years ago.
- Mluleki Njokweni from Siyabulela Primary's food garden
On the small plot he grows broccoli, cauliflower, onion, beetroot, spring onion, kale, carrots and potato. The bulk of the vegetables are used in the school’s feeding scheme.
- Mluleki Njokweni
Any surplus vegetables are sold to the parents or gets used by Mluleki in his own culinary creations.
Late last year Shoprite, through its implementation partner Food and Trees for Africa, started hosting regular workshops to teach the pupils of Siyabulela Primary gardening techniques.
- Mluleki, who at the age of 70 hopes to pass the gardening baton to the next generation
A short 20-minute walk away another garden is also receiving support from Shoprite. At Mokone Primary they grow beetroot, cabbage, spinach, onion and cauliflower. According to school principal Dominic Raphahlelo, buying fresh vegetables was just becoming too expensive and they were compelled to buy seedlings to start growing their own vegetables.
The learners are encouraged to work in the garden. Dominic shares the school’s hope, that by helping in the garden the learners come to understand that they too are of value to the school - that they are part of the school.
- Dominic Raphahlelo, principal at Mokone Primary
Dominic is grateful to Shoprite for the gardening tools, plant and educational material it has supplied.
- Dominic Raphahlelo
Mokono Primary School is one of the schools supported by the VUSA Academy, a rugby and academic upliftment programme based in the community of Langa. eNCA recently visited the school to learn more about the programme and the food garden.