Gar­den in a waste­land

Grocott's Mail - - OUTSIDE -

Vuyani Notyawa, Monde Xinwa and Xolani Mcobongi make their liv­ing from col­lect­ing waste at the mu­nic­i­pal land­fill site west of the in­dus­trial area. They live in Tan­tyi, Zolani and Xolani re­spec­tively, and spend their days at the dump.

They col­lect card­board, pa­per, plas­tic, cans and elec­tron­ics to sell on to re­cy­cling op­er­a­tions. How much they make de­pends on the weather and how many other peo­ple are at the site on any given day.

“In the rain, re­cy­clers don’t buy pa­per,” says Xinwa. “It de­pends how many we are here, but it can R70-R150 that we make in a day.”

Re­cently a group of stu­dents from RMR at Rhodes Univer­sity brought them seeds and some ad­vice about how to grow veg­eta­bles us­ing the hun­dreds of old tyres at the dump as mini-beds. Then RMR raised R3 000 which they used to buy tools, wheel­bar­rows and seed.

There are six of them in the group al­to­gether. They’ve been grow­ing spinach, cab­bage, green onion, and car­rot seedlings in the tyres since June and want to trans­plant them to a patch of land ad­ja­cent to the dump.

“What we want is to buy two don­keys and a cart and sell veg­eta­bles that we grow at the taxi rank,” said Xinwa

– Text and photo: Sue Maclennan

Photo: Sue Maclennan

Vuyani Notyawa, Monde Xinwa and Xolani Mcobongi are grow­ing veg­eta­bles in old tyres at the mu­nic­i­pal rub­bish dump.

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