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VOC launches Project 67 for Mandela Day

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Keeping with the theme of #ActionAgainstPoverty for Nelson Mandela Day, VOC has taken up the challenge to carry out 67 days for the upliftment of the community. In the spirit of Madiba and his vision to spread social justice and freedom, VOC has initiated a new initiative called ‘Project 67’ in Manenberg, which will be launched on Tuesday 18th July, Madiba’s birthday.

The vision for the project is to develop a sustainable food garden which would provide food supply, and also create opportunities for people to take ownership of improving their own long-term health and wellbeing. The project is a partnership with Starke Ayres, who will be providing the seeds and other supplies needed to commence the ‘Harvesting Hope’ project.

VOC staffers will begin phase one, which is to clean up the site on Mandela Day

“Instead of 67 minutes for Madiba, we thought about doing something that can be carried on long term, We wanted something that can sustain a community and to give community members a sense of social agency. For us, it’s not simply about hand-outs or about fulfilling 67 minutes, but about a sustainable approach to community development. There is an old quote: ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” said one of the project coordinators, Thakira Desai.

The current location of the food garden

The idea for a sustainable food garden came after contact with Manenberg community activists, who informed VOC of an existing pocket of land which had once been a ‘peace garden’. The garden was previously named after Erica Wygnandt, a community activist, but due to gang violence,  was destroyed.  The peace garden was meant to be symbol of hope and faith for a community, whose image has been tainted by gang violence.

This garden is located in Manenberg Laan, strategically placed on the dividing line of gang turfs. Community members have lamented that the unused plot has become a haven for idle youth.

For the first phase of the project, VOC staff members will roll up their sleeves to clean up the site so that the planting can begin.

Nelson Mandela International Day commemorates the lifetime of service Nelson Mandela gave to South Africa and the world. It was launched on his birthday, 18 July, in 2009 via a unanimous decision by the UN General Assembly.

“It is in your hands to make of the world a better place,” he said a year earlier, calling on the younger generation to take up this task.

The site for the garden

Mandela Day celebrates Madiba’s life and legacy in a sustainable way that will bring about enduring change.

Through transformative engagement, VOC aims to educate and empower the residents to take back their community.

“For us, this project is about emulating Madiba through service to humanity, and becoming change-makers in a small way,” added Desai.

VOC will broadcast live from Manenberg Laan from 10am to 1pm. VOC


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