Konica Minolta South Africa (KMSA) celebrated Mandela, who would have been 101 this year, by planting 101 trees on Robben Island this Arbor Month as part of their Mandela Day initiative.
After all, “Arbor Month is also Heritage Month,” Morongoa Ramaboa said, in her role as Communications Specialist at Robben Island Museum (RIM), which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and conservation institution. Bringing trees for shade, greenery and carbon sequestration to the place where Nelson Mandela and other leaders sowed the seeds of hope and change in South Africa couldn’t be a more fitting tribute.
Committed to conservation
“This is the first step on a long journey towards sustainable conservation on the island.”Dr Pascal Taruvinga, Chief Heritage Officer of Robben Island.
Trees planted included milkwoods, sand olives, water berries, dune crow berries, wild peach and Kei apple, all specifically requested by the RIM team in a bid to plant trees that were historically accurate, according to records of the trees that were growing at the time. Planting these trees are part of the RIM’s long-term plan to rehabilitate the island’s natural vegetation.
“By clearing invasive aliens and planting more than 10 000 indigenous trees over the next five years, we aim to create a sustainable habitat that can be home to seabirds, especially endangered African penguins and the many other unique species that form part of the island’s landscape.”Morongoa Ramaboa, Communications Specialist, Robben Island Museum.
Transforming cultural and historical spaces
At the tree planting ceremony held on the 18th of September with Konica Minolta South Africa, RIM and FTFA representatives, Dr Pascal Taruvinga reflected on the opportunity this tree planting presented. He spoke about the way in which this revegetation project demonstrates how environmental conservation and restoration can be a part of cultural heritage work. Clearing invasive species, and planting trees in line with historical records, the RIM team aim to restore the Island to a sustainable and self-sufficient terrestrial ecosystem. This will preserve further areas of the Cape Flats Dune Strandveld – an endangered vegetation type.
“We’re proud to contribute to South Africa’s natural and historical heritage.”Marc Pillay, CEO, Konica Minolta South Africa
Together with Food & Trees for Africa, KMSA have planted 46 001 trees since 2008, offsetting 16 974 tons of carbon dioxide (equal to taking 3,690 vehicles off the road for a year), greening schools and enriching community spaces such as the Mandela Route, Madiba’s birthplace at Mvezo and other historical landmarks.
“With all that’s going on in our country, it’s incredible to be part of something so positive. As Nelson Mandela said, ‘as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same’. Anyone can choose to be the light in a time of darkness.”Mpho Mahanyele, Chairman, Food & Trees for Africa.