“I’ve always been a Greenie Beanie (known colloquially as someone who is environmentally conscious) so it frustrated me when the illegal dumping site in Orange Farm, where I live, was growing out of control. Illegal dumping is widespread in most townships but so is the lack of productive space for things like playgrounds for kids, food security programmes and just beautiful spaces where residents can have picnics or informal social events. I have made it my life’s work to create these spaces and to begin in my home town.”
This is the story of Jabulani Dlamini, a community leader from Orange Farm and now learner on our Out of School Youth programme offered in Orange Farm by facilitator, Lawrence Tlhapane.
Jabulani’s relationship with JA South Africa spans about 20 years. He has always been an advocate for our programmes. Back in the late 1990s, after himself attending one of our programmes, years earlier, he recommended the JA South Africa Primary School programmes to other schools in Orange Farm which resulted in us offering the JA More than Money programme to schools in Orange Farm. In 2013, Jabulani once again advocated for our programmes and assisted our facilitators to mobilise out of work, out of school youth in Orange Farm to participate in the 20-week programme. As a result, 68 learners have been exposed to our experiential entrepreneurial skills development programme (36 are attending the programme currently running in Orange Farm).
Jabulani has always been a very community-minded individual so, when he came across a group of young primary school learners being housed for an aftercare programme in an icy community center during winter, he felt it his duty to find a solution to obtaining better resources for the programme. “They were doing amazing work at the Havho Mutshila Community Centre, but how can a learner concentrate or stay healthy in such terrible conditions?” Jabulani goes on to say; “I then met with centre manager, Benjamin Nkosi and the two of us, together with eight other concerned community members, registered a co-operative called Sidingulwazi (seeking knowledge in IsiZulu). Together we set out to address a number of community challenges: The lack of resources for the aftercare programme that served such a critical need in the community; addressing the matter of illegal dumping in Orange Farm; teaching the co-operative members and the community at large the value of recycling; earning an income for ourselves and providing a source of income for unemployed community members.”
Sidingulwazi opened its doors on spring day of 2014 – an apt day to launch a waste management business. Together with Pik It Up, the team spent a week rolling out a cleaning campaign where 120 community members were taught the value of waste by exposing them to recycling. Government’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) was also introduced to the community during this campaign. During the campaign the Co-operative made a profit of R5,000, which was invested into upgrades of the community centre ahead of the winter months.
The community’s cleaning campaign resulted in four dumping sites being cleared of waste. Two community groups representing about 30 families have adopted two of the open spaces and are using it as sustenance farms where onions, tomatoes, green beans, and carrots are being farmed to feed these 30 families. The third space is being used as a children’s recreational space where, in partnership with City Parks, the installation of play equipment and maintenance is an ongoing project. 150 community members, in partnership with Pik It Up, run a food waste programme at the fourth open space. Pik It Up donated tools, protective uniforms and Occupational Health and Safety training programmes to 10 team members to ensure the success of the programme.
It is clear that Jabulani is a beacon of success in Orange Farm and uses his network to benefit the community as a whole.
“The JA South programme has helped me develop my interpersonal skills in such a way that I am now more comfortable with delegating responsibilities to team members and as a result, we get more work done. The market research session was an eye opener for me. At start up, I thought I knew exactly what the market (my community) wanted because I was so invested in the needs of my community. However, the programme taught me to ask the right questions of my clients resulting in a better service offering to them.”