Pretoria women turn rubbish dump into vegetable garden

  • Two women from Pretoria turned a rubbish dump into a thriving vegetable garden during the Covid-19 lockdown.
  • The women grow and sell varieties of spinach.
  • About 1 000 people live in the area, and many are unemployed.

Two Pretoria women have turned a rubbish dump into a thriving little vegetable garden, growing spinach and mutshaina (African spinach).

During the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, Lufuno Doyoyo and Sinah Mudau decided to use a vacant piece of municipal land to grow and sell food in the community. With approval from the local councillor, they planted seeds on the small plot in Salvokop, just outside central Pretoria.

“We wanted to do something positive and be active,” said Doyoyo. “We were tired of just sitting and doing nothing.”

According to the City of Tshwane, about 1 000 people live in Salvokop, and many of them are unemployed.

With help from Doyoyo’s brother, the two women started clearing up the land and removing rubbish and soon they were surprised when a group of men joined in.

Doyoyo said:

They got inspired to help clean up.

They had to caution people to stop throwing rubbish in the area and later managed to put up a small fence in the front. Water to maintain their garden is connected straight from the street underground pipe.

They employ an assistant, Eugene Govi, who works in the garden while the two women do their own work. Mudau runs a food business just next to the garden, where some of the spinach is also being cooked.

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They want to finish clearing the land and fencing it. They would also like to grow other vegetables. They sell about 20 batches of spinach and mutshaina per week, making roughly R200.

The money needed for Govi’s salary, seedlings and other costs comes from their own savings.

Doyoyo said they would like to learn more about growing food and intend to apply for help through the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development’s Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme.

Eventually, they hope to create more jobs and to sell vegetables outside Salvokop.