By The Herald - September 2023
Nelson Mandela University has partnered with the Ikhala Trust, a non-profit community grant-maker and development incubator in the Eastern Cape, to develop Community Kitchens. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ikhala identified existing “soup kitchens” with the purpose of them becoming “Community Kitchens” which provide much more than just meals.
“We continue to work with four of the six initially identified community kitchens and we would like to continue what we started with the Moeggesukkel CK in Kariega, Yizani Sakhe CK in Wells Estate, and Kuyga CK in Greenbushes,” says Ikhala Trust director Bernie Dolley.
Ikhala Trust staff member Unathi Meslane has seen a ripple effect of the collaboration. “The Community Kitchens manage the big community garden, and this can inspire people to see the benefit of having their own backyard garden,” says Meslane. The Kuyga food garden, for example, has expanded, and the University’s Hubs of Convergence have enabled the purchase of a JoJo water tank for this site. Beetroot, spinach, spring onions and broccoli were recent harvests.
In Wells Estate, the Yizani Sakhe CK has learnt the skill of loom mat making and sells beautiful woven mats. Its reading club is continuing at the local primary school with a Funda ambassador from Yizani Sakhe working with the school. Members have also encouraged households to start their own gardens and they now require seedlings for these square metre gardens.
The Moeggesukkel group received permaculture gardening training, seeds and a JoJo tank from the Interchurch Local Development Agency.
“Unfortunately the fence that was erected was stolen but the members used their creative skills and found an old spring mattress and have used that as a temporary measure to protect their plants,” says Dolley.
The Ikhala Trust’s signature programme is Asset Based Community Development which takes stock of all the financial, social, natural, physical and human assets that already exist. “This acknowledges that no person or community has nothing and helps to build the confidence of individuals and partners to appreciate what they are able to do,” says Dolley.
“We not only provide small grants to qualifying community partners but also mentor and accompany them on their development journey to achieve their objectives.” Supporting the Nelson Mandela University Food Systems project therefore means far more than providing food for a family.
This piece was originally published by The Herald on 11 September 2023.
Posted on 15 September 2023 10:54:16

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