Doing it step by step

Mthimkhulu Greening Initiative – the garden takes shape


Since a few months ago, when everything at Mthimkhulu Village in Kleinmond still looked pretty much the same as it has been for the past few years, much has transpired in the area adjacent to the northern entrance gate: in fact, there is shining evidence now of a nursery-in-the-making and a stunning mandala garden that only needs to start sprouting!

Here is a description of what this kind of garden entails:

“Building a mandala garden is a great way to break up your garden beds into a riot of living colour, allowing easy accessibility and visual interest. It looks great too. It is circular in shape and has a number of keyhole paths or spokes that invite you to look closer at the assortment of plants on display”.

Spearheaded by Fiona Smit, who has taken over the Projects portfolio on the board of directors from Jo Kearney and is forging ahead in collaboration with him, this project has been growing for much longer than reflected by the accompanying photographic progress.

She says the mitigation of social ills affecting our local poorer communities, has been the driving force. Care has been taken to aim at growing this project to be truly sustainable by the people, for the people.



Collaboration between individuals, organisations and communities has been key in marking each milestone. The KBRC is acting as the vehicle for implementation and has invested in a variety of ways. Financial support in workshop fees, bursaries for courses and purchase of materials and equipment have been indispensable building blocks. The mentorship and direction provided by directors of the KBRC have been another indispensable resource.

Discussions started months ago in preparation of implementation. After many challenges and disappointments, a perfect venue was found at Mthimkhulu, and after much negotiation with Mthimkhulu in the person of Manager Lindia Trout, a MoA was reached. A co-op has meanwhile been registered after hours and mountains of paper work – with the required minimum number of an initial five members. These unemployed individuals have shown great perseverance and hope.

Field trips to nurseries and the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden

Nthombekhaya, Emdee (‘MD’), Tebello and Alicia have visited a retail nursery as introduction to the road ahead. We attended a Permaculture Workshop as introduction to veggie growing, and then completed a five day Micro MBA in preparation of managing a business.

A field trip to Harold Porter followed, to introduce our team to our indigenous floral kingdom.

With the establishment of the Mandala garden, we have at last realised and achieved the beginning of Phase 1. Our growers will have the opportunity to grow and sell fresh produce in their communities.

The most exhilarating part of this project is that this is only the first phase of an ambitious, integrated plan for rolling out projects in alignment of the MAB Programme principles, where sustainability concepts are demon­strated, taught and applied, towards addressing unemployment, food security, climate mitigation and conservation, to name a few objectives.

Phase 2 is in progress, with the construction of the nursery, and the challenge we face currently is the buy-in of larger groupings from the target communities, to be able to advance to the integrated roll-out of the related projects.

How the Mthimkhulu Greening Initiative (MGI) began

After months of meetings and planning, it was a very exciting day when the digger loaders came onto the Mthimkhulu grounds to level the designated ground and remove all the unwanted tree stumps. As soon as the secure fencing had been put in place, the construction of the first greenhouse and herb gardens commenced.

Anthony Plaatjies and his Permogrow Green Team were contracted for the initial construction and they were assisted by the members of the newly formed Green-Cooperative that will hopefully be operating the fynbos nursery within the MGI project.

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  Vol 4, Issue 2 – June 2017
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