JOHANNESBURG – 27th September 2018 – “In winter we don’t have morogo, and we don’t have milk, but we do have peaches.” These were the words of Mrs Maphutsi holding up a jar of preserved peaches at a tree planting event in Orange Farm near Johannesburg on the 26th September 2018. Mrs Maphutsi was a beneficiary of a donation of peach trees in 2008, and to this day is able to harvest, eat, preserve, feed the children in her care and earn an income from the trees.
Mrs Maphutsi’s trees were a part of a 3500 tree donation made by Konica Minolta South Africa (KMSA), a division of Bidvest Office (Pty) Ltd, in 2008. This was the beginning of a tree planting partnership with Food and Trees for Africa (FTFA) that has now spanned a decade.
On the 26th of September 2018 the community of orange farm joined KMSA and FTFA at Leshata Secondary School for a celebratory tree planting event, to mark this auspicious occasion. The group gathered to reflect on the impact already achieved, view trees planted 10 years ago, and, to plant more trees.
Speaking to the learners at Leshata Secondary School, Paul Symonds, Branch Manager at the Konica Minolta South Africa Johannesburg branch commented, “Long term investment doesn’t see rewards overnight, much like our own personal growth, these trees take time to bear fruit.”
Ex-Pupil Gift Tulo mused about how the trees have changed his experience at school, “I can now view my school from Google Maps, because of the established trees planted in the yard.”
During the day KMSA representatives were handed some of Mrs Maphusi’s peaches as a token of appreciation for the impact felt by the community. “KMSA have shown that a long term investment can bear fruit,” commented Chris Wild, Executive Director of Food & Trees for Africa. KMSA were also handed a certificate denoting their total trees planted and total carbon offset since the partnership began in 2008.
To date KMSA have planted 42,218 trees (this includes 4600 bamboo and 124 tree equivalents spekboom) with the company continuing to plant every year, since 2008. These trees will offset a total of 15,578 tonnes of CO2e in their lifetime. KMSA have been able to reach 721 beneficiary organisations with trees, of which 691 were schools and 20 were community centres, 11,639 homes have received fruit and shade trees and 129 Community Educators have been trained and temporarily employed.