Garden is Mamelodi’s pride and joy
THE last thing Dr Ephraim Mabena expected while clearing rubble from a dump site in 2001 to transform it into a botanical garden was to be acknowledged by the National Science and Technology Forum.
Mabena has now made it on to the list of what is regarded as the “Science Oscars”. The award recognises, celebrates and rewards the outstanding contributions of individuals, teams and organisations to science, engineering and technology in the country.
Previously, the awards were made at a glittering gala dinner. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 event will be online tomorrow.
Mabena is on the list along with experienced scientists, engineers, innovators, science communicators, engineering capacity builders, organisational managers and leaders, as well as data and research managers.
He is the only traditional healer among various professors in his category. He is the founder of Mothong African Heritage Trust.
“For me, it is important to know that what you do makes a difference.
“I would like to thank the organisation for the recognition of my contribution.” The botanical park is situated above Section H and is part of the Magaliesberg. It forms part of the Magaliesberg biosphere, which has been recognised by Unesco.
This once smelly dump, where murderers dumped bodies, is now the pride of Mamelodi.
“I am overwhelmed by the acknowledgement. I still can’t believe it. To think that when I started it I found a dead body there, and … now it has turned into a place of learning for indigenous knowledge systems,” said Mabena, a traditional doctor and a former Umkhonto we Sizwe operative.
He said the award would go far in giving the people of Mamelodi a sense of pride.
Mabena said he hoped the gardens would also one day be used for programmes to help township youths who are addicted to nyaope, which is wreaking havoc in the community.
The garden has won awards for best field care, best rehabilitation project, best community natural resources management, Kudu Award (community contribution group) and another from the Department of Health.