Boitumelo Tumi Mosoeu is doing an urban gardening project with added community value in Khayalitsha. There will be a garden and community activities and workshops will take place here. I went to have a look because Boitumelo and I have been discussing working together, and all the elements must be integrated into the permaculture site design by Guerilla House.
The place is in old sand dunes, and its buffeted by sea winds that floated a corrugated iron building across the property. It didn’t land up in Oz, but against the fence, so they built it again in that position, pragmatists obedient to nature.
Xolile or Tata as Boitumelo calls him, is the gardener and caretaker, and he manages to make cabbages grow and cucurbits bloom in the dazzling white sand.
He planted Ricinus communis or castor oil plant which is a very fast growing small tree, to try and create wind breaks, and the greenest veggies are near his windbreaks, but the place is badly in need of more wind breaking plants and structures.
Putting a wind hedge around the seaward side of the property is a lot of trees. They will be planted in successive bands, highly wind resistant on the windward side to less wind tolerant on the inside margin. These plants must all be productive if possible. I’m looking forward to the day they go into the ground with armies of volunteers. Well, why not, let us show everyone in the world what we can do, and under crazier conditions.
Boitumelo has an engineer friend doing the designing of mechanical systems like an aquaponics grow bed and tanks with vortexes, chicken houses and more. Their vision is inspiring. Boitumelo is hard to find and always on the road. He is pouring energy into this project. On the day I went to Khayalitsha he and Luke were hauling in cow manure from Stellenbosch.
Only a small part of the property is under irrigation and vegetables. I hope that some of the rest will be set aside to regenerate with dune vegetation by itself. These ancient plants evolved to survive by trapping water and holding the sand could be useful assets on the unfarmed territory, allowing rain to penetrate the terrain.