Food & Trees for Africa and Konica Minolta South Africa plant trees at Donaldson Orlando Community Centre (DOCC) YMCA in Soweto, 6 February 2020. The project by Konica Minolta South Africa with Food & Trees for Africa is in gratitude for his passion for the youth and education in South Africa. This particular tree-planting initiative has been running for the past 11 years and sees a total of 50,001 trees donated across South Africa offsetting an estimated 18450.55 CO2 units.
The 50,000th tree to honour the memory of Nelson Mandela was planted at his old home in Orlando East, Soweto, yesterday. The project by Konica Minolta South Africa with Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) was in gratitude for his passion for the youth and education in South Africa. “Since 2008, we have been planting trees around the country, including [on] Robben Island and [at] Madiba’s home in the Eastern Cape,” said Konica’s chief executive Marc Pillay. “We want Madiba’s legacy to continue as we know he cared for the community. “Trees provide nutrients and substance; they also give life and hope. Through this, we want to reduce the carbon footprint and give the community hope.”
The home is now owned by Frans Mphele, who has lived in Soweto for most of his 70 years. “Madiba made a visit to the house in 2009. I was afraid when I came outside and saw police officers closed down the street,” Mphele said. “A car stopped in front of the gate and the window rolled down, Madiba introduced himself to me before asking who I was. He informed me that he knew my brother’s father, who was an apartheid counsellor.” Mphele explained he felt honoured to be living in the former president’s home and said neighbours continued to remind him that it was just his luck.
Knowledge on how to plant trees has also been disseminated to 802 schools around the country. FTFA facilitators at the Donaldson Orlando Community Centre YMCA, where Mandela trained, put their skills into practice yesterday as students were taught step-by-step how to plant and nurture a tree. AB Xuma School principal Maria Mthimkhulu said: “Trees are vital because they give life and provide shelter. “We are very thankful to the donors for making Soweto beautiful again. We assure that teachers together with pupils will nurture the trees and they will blossom.”