A small group of committed conservationists, activists, food growers and environmental students are making massive changes in their community and for the environment.

Mpophomeni township, outside Howick was established in 1964. A large wetland surrounds the township and the name Mpophomeni comes from the sound of falling water.

The wetlands and streams that flow through Mpophomeni are in a dire condition. Pollution by sewage is a significant health issue. The uMthinzima river flows into Midmar Dam, which is a strategic source of water for residents downstream all the way to Durban, the economic hub of the province.

The Mpophomeni Conservation Group was formed to inspire others in their community to think about their lifestyles with regards to sustainability, resilience, climate change, biodiversity conservation, healthy living and animal rights.

“I believe that every home must have a garden. After turning my tiny back yard into a food forest, I pestered the uMngeni Municipality for eight years to allow me to use a vacant plot, which residents used as a dumping site in Mpophomeni Township, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa to create a food garden.”

“I thought that if I could turn this bit of unloved ground into a flourishing garden, I would be able to inspire others to do the same in their backyards.”

“At first people wondered what was going on, but many already knew me, so they were not really surprised.”

“Within a couple of months, with the help of community volunteers we created an abundant garden based on permaculture principles.”

“Permaculture gardens can do many things to uplift a community.”

“I would like to address the issues my community faces in a practical and sustainable way – to see them understand the importance of nature and caring for the environment where they live in their daily lives, every day.”

“I can help them save money, water, energy and give them opportunities to earn money out of waste and gardening.”

“One of the privileges of being a farmer is to be up when the sun rises. I often sit on the bench my brother made me admiring the veggies and enjoying the quiet.” – Ntombenhle Mtambo

Leading by example, and working with many partners, MCG influence their neighbours by hosting workshops in the community garden and visiting local schools to get gardens flourishing.

Instilling a culture of recycling, training many people to conduct water quality tests and monitor sewage spills, and building a growing movement of people sharing similar values.

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Brent Lindeque
About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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