On International Women’s Day, Ma Khanyile is a woman to admire.
Gertrude Thokozile (Ma) Khanyile was born in 1940, and lives in Sweetwaters on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg. Mrs Khanyile looks after her husband and her nine grandchildren.
“I didn’t have money,” she says. “My life before I joined the projects from Wildlands was not that good because we were surviving with pension money and from the food garden that I had.
“I started planting trees in 2009, and in 2010 a boy from Wildlands asked me what I want to buy, he said, ‘What do you want Mama?’ I asked for cement and sand to build my home. Ndlovu, that boy, he came back and said, ‘Granny, I’ve got your cement; I’ve got your sand. The truck is coming next week with 14 bags of sand and cement.’ I was very happy that day. Now I have finished one wall and floor of the new room. I am able to dream big because I know that I can get a lot of things with my trees.”
Mrs Khanyile is also a waste-preneur and because of her hard work and commitment she was rewarded with more equipment to expand her vegetable garden. “The recycling project has made a huge difference in my home and in the community because we have a cleaner area now and the food gardening project is the highlight of my life. I am passionate about planting vegetables because I know I don’t have to go to town and buy food, I can easily get it from my garden, and I can use my pension money for other things we need in the household. Wildlands gave me the chance to plant more in my garden.
“I’m happy, I’m happy, I’m happy – I don’t know what else I can say, but I’m very happy!”
The Wildlands Conservation Trust Vision:
Working on the philosophical understanding that human well-being is dependent on environmental health, Wildlands has adopted a CEBA (Community Ecosystems Based Adaptation) model as philosophical construct and organising principle for where we work and what we do. CEBA moves beyond the more traditional concept of Ecosystem Based Adaptation (EBA), mainstreaming it into the green economy as an adaptation tool that promotes social inclusiveness and sustainable development. CEBA highlights the interconnectivity between local communities and their supporting ecosystems.