Johannesburg - Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela joined LeadSA on Friday at their 2014 Mandela Day event held at the Dischem Food Garden in Midrand, on the first International Mandela Day since Madiba’s death in December 2013.

Speaking at the start of the day’s planting, Madonsela reminded the assembled LeadSA volunteers that Mandela’s legacy reminds us that the essence of every person is goodness.

“I believe he taught us that we can shape the world around us. We, as individuals, can shape our own destiny and the destiny of the world, instead of moaning the darkness. We can do amazing things toward healing the world”

LeadSA has focussed on Food Gardens for Mandela Day in response to the call for food security and has been urging citizens to create food gardens to assist with the need for nutritional food in disadvantaged areas. Members of the public were invited to join LeadSA at Dischem and over 300 volunteers came to get their hands dirty.

Along with Leslie Sedibe from Proudly SA and MEC for Education in Gauteng, Panyaza Lusufi, she helped plant vegetables in the Dischem Food Garden, which supplies fresh greens to the adjacent communities.

Work on the ambitious project began less than a year ago when the vacant land next to the Head offices of the pharmaceutical concern was slowly transformed into tracts of organic food crop. Lynette Saltzmann, CEO of Dischem said the Dischem Foundation saw the need for nutritional supply to their surrounding community.

“Being a medical concern, we recognised the need for food. It is a staple of life and malnutrition can lead to impaired growth and mental disability.”

The food garden employs 13 people full time and supplies food to 13 organisations that distribute the harvest to various sectors of society. The elevated section was created with sand dug up by the roads agency and rocks have been well located to form natural walls.

Farmer Johann van Alten heads up the development of the garden and said by September they hope to have a number of allotments which the local community will tend to on their own. Van Alten encouraged the volunteers to place over 3000 vegetable plants in any position.

“Nature is not perfect- it is better to have a mix and match than one whole area of the same vegetable.”

Saturday Star