Globals join Locals to Plant Trees on a Former Dumpsite in South Africa

In the small community of Melkhoutfontein, tucked away close to the shores of the pristine beach of Stilbaai, Hessequa region of South Africa a Phoenix in sustainable environmental regeneration is rising. In a project aptly named ‘Wasteland – Graced Land’, an initiative spearheaded by Dreamcatcher South Africa, set out with the local community, to remove the invader tree species (Acacia Cyclops) and the waste, which impacted on their quality of life. This task took over 8 years to complete.

Introduced into South Africa to stabilise the dunes a decade and a half ago, this Cyclops decimated local indigenous specie with disastrous loss to the local eco-system. A botanical garden named “La Bloemen”(the flowers) is rising in its wake. With the support of local community, volunteers, and the Hessequa Local Authority, the area is being transformed into a botanical wonderland.

Beneath all the waste and damage caused by these two invader elements, the perfect soil and conditions revealed itself, to re-establish indigenous trees and plants and thus restoring the entire eco-system in the area. An unique and interactive new destination to visit on any tourist itinerary of South Africa has emerged in an unlikely place.Volunteers and visitors from many international countries join the community on their visits, plant indigenous trees and shrubs, walk about the garden and talk about the garden and the community with the locals around wholesome cooked meals cooked from scratch with herbs and vegetables grown where once only rubbish mounds grew . . .

Finally after centuries the people and nature can live in harmony to sustain each other as much needed jobs and -enterprises opportunities evolve. An interesting small ‘waste monument’, decorated with charming mosaics the local youth made from the porcelain found on the site, is currently in development.

An ambitious, pioneering collaborative project, using waste in the community to create cool crafts and items of household use for sale to the many visitors to this pristine area, and for use in the the community, is due to roll out soon. These unique, practical and quirky crafted items, will be created by locals who signed up to the project. Job – and enterprise creation is a high priority in this community which struggles with high unemployment and low income.

Thats good isn’t it?

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