Dump turned into an oasis

Mogamat Jamie, from Rocklands, holds up a freshly harvested potato

Rocklands residents have turned a dumping ground on their doorsteps into a garden that’s putting food on their tables.

In the weeks leading up to the national Covid-19 lockdown, Mogamat Jamie, a building contractor, cleared the space of rubble and rubbish.

He got tools and pipes from his neighbour, Sylvia Maart. Her son, Michael, who died six years ago, used to keep the area

Mr Jamie said everyone, from children to the elderly, had helped to care for the garden.

Food you grew yourself was not only cheaper but more wholesome, he said.

“It started with us just piling waste, like fruit and vegetables peels, and there we saw a tomato plant sprout.”

Mr Jamie is now waiting for about 200 cabbages to grow.

He works after hours and has helpers to work in the garden when he cannot.

“The people take pride in the garden because they have not vandalised it.”

Ms Maart said trees were important and if children were involved in the early stages of growing the garden they would be its keepers.

Mr Jamie wrote to Zane Matthews, from the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, who then got seven indigenous trees, donated by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, which were then planted on Thursday September 3.

Mr Jamie hopes to have tables and chairs among the trees for
the elderly to come and enjoy some fresh air.