Our Burning Planet


A youthful approach to Gauteng farming futures and food security plants seeds of hope

A youthful approach to Gauteng farming futures and food security plants seeds of hope
Sipho and Bianca Mabusela founded Khuthaza Foundation. They believe a garden transforms the space and the community around it. (Photo: Thom Pierce)

Two young South African activists met overseas while attending a global gathering of young leaders. Back in South Africa, they joined forces and established an organisation to teach farming skills and create Gauteng food gardens, encouraging long-term food security and better futures.

In 2018, Sipho and Bianca Mabusela both attended the One Young World summit in The Hague, a gathering of young leaders from around the world. They did not know each other, but had each been nominated for the event by their employers. They were both lucky enough to work for large multinational companies that were willing to invest in the young people they employed, giving them the platform, at work, to explore their passion for positive change. 

The Hague is where they met and where they decided that, when they got home to South Africa, they would start an organisation to deal with waste management, food security and environmental sustainability. 

Starting with cleanups, tree planting and food gardens, they went to communities to find areas that needed regenerating and schools with the capacity for food gardens. The weekends were spent planting and cleaning, and the weekdays spent at the office.

Long-term sustainability habits 

The idea was never to plant and leave, they wanted to teach long-term habits around sustainability, and food resilience; habits that would eventually leave the community with a sense of agency in their futures. 

Until now, they have planted more than 3,000 trees and around 20 vegetable gardens at schools, creches and churches throughout Gauteng, one of which feeds up to 80 school children a day. But while the food is important, they also believe that a garden transforms the space and the community around it, providing a living example to the next generation. 

In 2020 Bianca and Sipho moved to Springs to start their own farm, a place where they could be self-sustainable while also teaching basic principles of sustainability to the community around them. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: The Actionists

Actionism comes with all sorts of challenges and for Bianca and Sipho it hasn’t all been plain sailing. Due to issues outside of their control, the Springs farm folded and they had to move to a new location in Meyerton where they are rebuilding the dream of providing an educational space for people to learn about organic farming. 

On Saturdays, from their home, they provide on-farm training in a variety of skills related to food security, including composting, beekeeping and farming organic vegetables. They also offer an ongoing volunteering programme for people to come and learn as they get hands-on experience. 

Six years after they first met, on the other side of the world, connecting over the shared dream of creating a more responsible and self-sustainable society back home, Sipho and Bianca have never lost sight of that goal. Now married and with a young daughter, they have a new incentive to keep their values at the forefront of their approach. An approach grounded in the importance of learning new skills and then passing them on to others. DM

Find out more on Instagram: @khuthazafoundation or email [email protected].

The Actionists was launched in early 2023 by photographer Thom Pierce. It consists of on-the-ground problem solvers, community activists, climate campaigners and human rights defenders who engage in direct action. They are people anyone can turn to in difficult circumstances: a growing community of people who care about the future of South Africa. Through a series of photographic stories, Pierce profiles these people. Through a website, discussion forum and social media, the aim is to provide ways for people to get involved.

Nominate Actionists in your circle at www.theactionists.co.za or email [email protected]

This story is one of a series of articles produced by The Actionists to highlight the incredible work of organisations and activists across South Africa in their pursuit of justice and equal rights for all.

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R35.


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