Wednesday, February 8, 2012

the Cape Flats and Abalimi Bezekhaya

I'm not sure I've ever met a more idealistic man than Rob Small, or anyone more committed to his ideals. Rob is the founder of Abalimi Bezekhaya, a grassroots organization that trains and supports small farmers in Cape Flats. He took Marie and me on a tour of several gardens this morning, through parts of this city I would never have seen otherwise.

This is the Asande Community Garden, one of several that contract grow fresh vegetables for Abalimi Bezekhaya, which assembles the produce into weekly CSA shares and distributes them through Harvest of Hope.

from left to right: Sibongile (whose name means "we give thanks") is the leader of the garden, with Tamzile and Payini

Mama Bokolo grows the seedlings, makes the compost, and saves seeds at the garden center, where member farmers can buy them well below market prices.

Abalimi Bezakhaya deserves an article (or seven), and I need time and research to do it justice, but I thought you might like to see a few images as a teaser. If anyone has a suggestion for which magazine(s) I might pitch the story idea to...please let me know!

Cape Flats is unlike anyplace I've ever been, and certainly not a place you'd expect to find farmers growing organic produce. The buildings are mostly refurbished containers, interspersed with shanties and small homes. Life is on the street: freshly slaughtered meat is grilled and sold, cell phones can be repaired, and beauty salons abound.

After lunch we drove to the harbor at Hout Bay.

Two dogs were furious at something in the sea:

and this seemingly mild-mannered seal was equally furious with the dogs, waving its flippers and lurching up out of the water as the dogs barked and lunged. Fortunately, no one came to blows...this time.

A young musician made lovely music on his recorder. Self-taught, he said.


At February 8, 2012 at 12:16 PM , Anonymous Zoe said...

Beautiful garden, and great shot. Look forward to the feature. Orion magazine?? Don't know if that's really the right venue, but it came to mind.

Oh, those dog butts! It's not easy to get along, even when separated by land and sea...

At February 8, 2012 at 3:41 PM , Blogger Diana Studer said...

Two hours from Cape Town and I find this on your blog. I have heard of Abalimi Bezekhaya but haven't seen it as you did.

At February 8, 2012 at 6:29 PM , Blogger Smoothman said...

Glad to see the sun shine through your posts at last, after much trouble in transit. Watch, smell, eat, drink, sip, photograph, feel and ponder it all for me. And have fun!

At February 9, 2012 at 7:58 AM , Blogger Mum said...

Can you believe it? I'm having some problems leaving a comment. So, this may be a duplicate. We love being kept in the loop and are so glad....for many reasons...for having a descriptinve and thoroughly literate photographer for a daughter! Love, Mum

At February 9, 2012 at 4:06 PM , Anonymous Leda Meredith said...

Maybe Eating Well Magazine? They have a section called Local Hero that focuses on farmers and other people doing awesome things in the sustainable food movement.

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