Van Rhyn Crescent launches its first community garden

President of The Van Rhyn Feeding Scheme and Development Centre, Rafiq Larnie and neighbour Mymoena Bassier, 81, cut the community garden ribbon placed at the opening of the garden on Saturday November 13.

The community in Tafelsig celebrated the launch of their very first community garden.

The community of Van Rhyn Crescent, Tafelsig West, were elated to officially unveil the community garden created on the Van Rhyn Crescent field.

On a warm afternoon, local children were equally excited to enter the garden which they had also helped to beautify.

The Van Rhyn Feeding Scheme and Development Centre worked with IMITD (Ihgdienashieraatal Mustaqeem Islamic Training and Development Centre) to launch the community garden on Saturday November 13.

The Van Rhyn Feeding Scheme and Development Centre team at the launch on Saturday November 13.

The Van Rhyn Feeding Scheme and Development Centre is a community group, which feeds communities and exposes them to opportunities available to help them in their daily lives.

President of The Van Rhyn Feeding Scheme and Development Centre, Rafiq Larnie said the land the new garden was created on, had been a “former battlefield.”

“The field was used by elements, shootings across the field took place often, drugs were sold on the field, stone throwing took place and younger children would be on the field late at night. We needed a change. In that light, we wanted to create a space for all to make use of and share,” said Mr Larnie.

The children of the community in Van Rhyn Crescent at the launch of the community garden on Saturday November 13.

The community garden ribbon placed at the opening of the garden, was cut by neighbour Mymoena Bassier, 81. She and her son Riedewaan Bassier had had Covid-19 and he eventually succumbed to pneumonia.

Mr Bassier was commemorated at the launch.

“I was in the hospital with my son. I came home, expecting he would return too. Unfortunately he did not. I was shocked by this news. I am happy and excited to be honored by the community and have my son be remembered at the launch,” said Ms Bassier.

His wife, Shanaaz Bassier said every day since her husband’s death had been a struggle. “Seeing the community honour my husband helps me get through it all,” she said.

The women who prepared the food in the kitchen as well as The Van Rhyn Feeding Scheme and Development Centre women from left are Nazley Parsons, Zanap Wesso, Bronville Regter, Shanaaz Bassier, Roshan Larnie, Angelique Arnold and Marlene Arendse.

“We have been wanting to create a garden for many years. Neighbour Jonathan Lee Arnold has been working so hard with us to make sure the garden is created,” said Mr Larnie.

The team had worked on the garden for three months, with children painting the walls and stones, and members of the organisation cleaning the space. They also erected a sign to discourage dumping in the garden.

Mogamat Jappie, who is part of IMITD applauded the initiative.

“We are very proud of them. It wasn’t in a good state previously but the community came together and started this initiative. It’s so calm, the elderly can sit in the garden again. We are glad to be a part of this. This is a great initiative I can take back to my community, Rocklands. We’d love others to follow this initiative,” said Mr Jappie.

The children of Van Rhyn Crescent at the launch on Saturday October 13.

Founder of Simpson’s Reaching Out for the Needy, non-profit organisation, Shanaaz Simpson added: “This is proof that if we all work together we can get things done. Whatever resources, for food we may get, we make sure we share amongst each other.”

Ilhaam Adams, founder of Ummati (meaning people of the world) Community Upliftment Foundation said it was awesome to see “the transformation of a grey area to a colourful one”.

Hamzah Larnie and Zayaan Sterras helped beautify the community garden.

Zayaan Sterras, 11, said she helped paint the walls and the stones, an experience which had been “very nice and very good.”

Hamzah Larnie, 12, said he felt proud being a part of making the garden beautiful. “I had fun painting the walls and stones with all the other children in the community.”

Ward 82 councillor Washiela Harris also expressed her pride in the residents for taking initiative.

“They met me halfway. They took the initiative, they approached me with the idea of creating a safe space for all and creating the community garden. This is testimony, other areas can follow this initiative in their own areas. Change can happen if we work together,” said Ms Harris.

Ward 82 councillor Washiela Harris in the red scarf with the Tafelsig West neighbourhood watch team and The Van Rhyn Feeding Scheme and Development Centre team at the launch on Saturday November 13.

Chairman of Tafelsig West neighbourhood watch, Ivan Williams said he was proud of what the community had accomplished in creating this space for others. “We are excited for the future. We are proud of what they’re doing for the community,” said Mr Williams.

If you would like to donate to the The Van Rhyn Feeding Scheme and Development Centre or be advised to start your own garden in your community contact Mr Larnie on 067 957 8292 or Mr Arnold on 064 907 8865 for more information.