Food & Elders

IMG_0100After Trygive Nxumalo (above, in purple shirt) and his wife Suzan Mashego (to his right, in check shirt) attended the ALF workshop, they went back to their community to “teach back” what they had learned.  48 people showed up at their small church.

Eight women from Try and Suzan’s church, who were inspired by what they learned, started doing home visits to elderly people in their village whom they had identified as extremely vulnerable – cleaning their houses, washing their clothing, cooking a little something for them–because they wanted to give something back to their community.

Angelina Majola is the gogo seated at the center of the action (below). Before the ladies came to visit her, she stayed in her little house with the door locked all the time, as she was too scared to come out. The day we visited with the community members, she danced out the door. This is truly LOVE IN ACTION!


Two of these women, Sibongile Nxumalo and Bongane Ndlovu, have joined the 2014 cohort of the ALF and are leading their team of carers called Nhlayiseko to develop their initiative. For over a year the team has been caring for an increasing number of old folks – 27 at this stage, and not receiving any payment or financial support – they have been working with whatever resources they can get their hands on, and making a tremendous difference in the lives of those they care for.

These industrious women have recently had a house donated from which they are going to run an old age home. They have identified some extremely vulnerable old ladies that cannot care for themselves, are at risk and regularly get robbed, raped, attacked and taken advantage of. These ladies need to be looked after on a more full time basis. The house, although sound, is run down and needs some work. These women are up for this challenge. They are currently exploring income generation ideas to make their initiative sustainable. If you would like to support their work, please donate here.

Bongane Ndlovu

Sibongile Nxumalo

In addition, Trygive and Suzan have mobilised their community in Rooiboklaagte B to build a huge community educational garden, which bore the first harvest in September 2013. Here they teach permaculture principles and supply organic vegetables to vulnerable members of their community. Try has also started a Moringa tree nursery; they will be selling harvested leaves and saplings, and have also committed to ensuring every school in their area has a moringa tree. Moringa is a super food that has immune boosting properties. Try has a dream that every member of his community with have a Moringa tree in their gardens – so far the Rooiboklaagte B Community Garden has donated over 100 Moringa trees to homes in the village.


Community members at work in Rooiboklaagte B Organic Garden

If this is not enough, Try and his gardening team are working with 4 creches in Rooiboklaagte B to help them create food gardens, and teach the staff and children about permaculture and healthy eating habits. True to his name, Try is a Master Giver!




Mickey (far left) and her team preparing the garden

Mickey Humanegi Theko is a farmer in every cell of her being. She loves gardening and has a vision of owning a big farm which will supply the country with delicious vegetables. Mickey lives in Arthur’s Seat, Mokhululine, a remote and very poor village in Mpumalanga. She tells us that many people have no food to eat here, and there are a lot of orphans, whom Mickey would dearly love to help.

After joining the ALF in April 2014, Mickey immediately set to work on her dream. She consulted  the local induna, secured a beautiful piece of land near her home which has not only a stream of clean water nearby, but an outstanding view of the Drakensberg Mountains. She met with the local counsellor who has agreed to donate seeds and seedlings. Mickey then consulted with her community and now has a team of ten women who have cleared the site, fencing it off from goats and cattle with thorn trees – which illustrates their passion and commitment – they didn’t stop their work until they had proper fencing materials – they forged ahead until the entire fence line was secured. They call their project Fanang Diatla, which means, “Give someone your hands”.

Mickey’s ALF peers will assist her with designing, laying out and developing a permaculture garden – some of the produce will be sold with profits used to build the garden, and some will be given to vulnerable members of the community.

Mickey and her team got to the first stage of their project extremely hard work and the little that they had – a wheelbarrow, a hoe, a metal pole and a couple of slashers. Seeds of Light fundraised to buy them a set of good tools, and they are now planting and about to harvest. Incredible work Mickey and Team – well done!

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