Clearing Acacias for Mandela Day Print

In celebration of Mandela Day on July 18th, staff members of DST-NRF Centre for Invasion Biology (C·I·B) joined a group of 150 volunteers who gave their time to help with projects at Camphill Village West Coast.

Camphill Village West Coast is a dynamic community that provides a safe environment for a group of intellectually challenged adults, where they can experience a meaningful and fulfilling life. It is set on a farm where the residents work at enterprises on the farm, for example, a bakery, dairy, herbal workshop, or in vegetable gardens, growing quality produce.

The day offered a number of projects that volunteers could participate in. The C·I·B joined in the clearing of invasive Acacia stands which were then turned into wood chips and firewood. Other projects included the planting of seedlings, picking of vegetables and the building of a concrete path for wheelchair users. The lively, activity-filled morning had a wonderful atmosphere, with everyone full of smiles.

The activities were concluded with a presentation by former C·I·B PhD student and staff member at the SU Botanical Garden, Stuart Hall, about the devastating impacts of Acacia invasions on fynbos ecosystems and the importance of removing these invaders.

Other role-players in the day included the Department of Agriculture, who donated the seedlings, West Coast College and Afrimat, who donated concrete and building materials. Staff of the magazine, Ideas, gave one of the community halls a facelift.

The day was rounded off with a lunch and entertainment by a group of interns from the Department of Agriculture. Lead by the interns, everyone sang South Africa’s national anthem in unison.

After the events, Camphill staff member, Alice Muzorori thanked the C·I·B for their participation in the day. She recounted how the talk given by Stuart had held one resident captivated. The resident had followed Stuart’s words in earnest, and was so taken by the issue of invasive species that it prompted her to ask afterwards “But who brought these trees here?” It was a break through moment for the resident and Alice was touched by the positive effect it had.

Check out this video to get a taste of the day:

Photo credit: Sophia Turner