Mdantsane is the second biggest township in South Africa and is situated in East London in the Eastern Cape. Many people in the township face challenges such as unemployment, hunger, Gender-Based Violence and crime. Given all these challenges, members of the community of Ward 14 at NU3 took it upon themselves to do what they can for themselves. The community registered a co-op and named it Liqhame, which means ‘good success’.
On the 5th and 6th of October, members of the Rural Women Assembly hosted a two day Agroecology Workshop in Ward 14, which members of the Liqhame co-op attended. The programme included both theory and a practical component about how to grow crops organically. The workshop was also open to men who believe and support Feminism.
Bukelwa Bacela from Ward 14 was part of the team who initiated the Liqhame co-op, on a piece of unoccupied land. Bacela explains that the unused “place was very bushy and the community used it as a dumping site.” She and a few neighbours decided to clean up the piece of unused land and started planting crops. They bought the seedlings and the seeds that they planted from their own money. Despite their limited resources and the lack of support from government, they did not become discouraged and continued to tend to the garden. The project has harvested vegetables such as spinach and cabbage which is then sold to the community.
Bukelwa says one of the highlights from the RWA agroecology training was the lessons about the importance of mulching and crop mixing. “At first when we started planting crops we did not do crop mixing and mulching because we did not understand it.” She adds that the members of the co-op will share with the community what they have learnt from the workshop in the spirit of ‘Each One, Teach One’.