Moya We Khaya
“When I am busy with the soil, I am so passionate about it. When I plant something, I watch it grow, I see the end results. I harvest, I eat, I sell, I contribute to the community – that makes me happy. It is hard work, but if you love it, you enjoy doing it.”– Xoliswa, one of the founding members
The community garden Moya We Khaya (The Spirit of Home) currently has eleven members, of which ten are part of the founding group.
The garden was formed in February of 2014, when 12 gardeners started growing vegetables in the very poor soil. A lot of compost, manure, and hard work was needed. Back then, all 12 members were working together as a big group, but they soon decided to divide the space so everybody could have their own set of plots. With this change in structure, their harvest improved immensely as everybody could now work at their own pace. To extend their knowledge, the community took part in training courses through Abalimi and the Department of Agriculture.
Although the garden is divided into individual sections and plots, the group still works as a team. When one member is facing challenges, everybody steps up to help. Only two of the members have vehicles, so they will help the other members to collect needed materials and seeds. There is a real family feel at Moya We Khaya.
The poor soil was not the only challenge the group had to face. Christina Kaba had been trying to get permission for the land since 1995 when the neighbouring Manyanani Peace Park was built. When she was denied the land, Christina didn’t surrender, she kept fighting for her vision of a community garden. Eventually she contacted Rob Small for help. Finally, in 2014, her vision came to life and Moya We Khaya was formed. The group of passionate and hard-working gardeners have been there every day since. “It doesn’t matter if it’s raining or if it’s winter, you’ll find us here, we are fighters!” says Christina.
Xoliswa, another Moya member, used to be a school teacher. She became very bored of retirement, so she began gardening. “When I am busy with the soil, I am so passionate about it. When I plant something, I watch it grow, I see the end results. I harvest, I eat, I sell, I contribute to the community – that makes me happy. It is hard work, but if you love it, you enjoy doing it.”
The members are glad to regularly get support from unemployed youth, who come to help in the garden to earn some money. Inspiring and supporting the youth to grow their own vegetables is an important goal for the farmers. Christina mentions that her granddaughter started to come help in the garden after school and she enjoyed it so much that she now has her very own set of plots.
“We are dreaming of a community centre and packshed…”
Since Moya began, the farmers have been selling their surplus produce. Now their biggest dream for the future is to have their own community centre and packshed. This would provide them with space to properly prepare their veggies to send away to the clients. It would also allow them to set up their own market to provide market days to sell to the community.
When thinking about the future development of Moya We Khaya, the group mentions training courses for the youth and all the possibilities that would come with the packshed and centre, like getting the community more involved and offering a platform. “Christina always thinks ahead. We’ve got plans, we are just waiting for funding”, says Xoliswa.
One concept they would like the community to understand is the importance of organically grown vegetables. “It might take the vegetables longer to grow, and they may be more expensive, but the result is better tasting and healthier produce” says Ma Nancy, also a former school principal and long-standing board member of Abalimi.
“People have hands, they have energy, but they don’t have land”, Christina says and explains that one of the biggest issues that individuals face in the townships is not having enough space to grow vegetables.
“Abalimi is my home in Cape Town – Abalimi was the light of the townships and now Moya takes that light” says Christina about the influence that Abalimi has had on the community gardens in the Cape Flats. Now she speaks of all the good that Moya is trying to do for the community, “We are a light, a light for everybody. The food is coming fast. We are doing good work. Especially for women. You become old quickly if you just sit at home hungry.”
Christina was born on a farm and learned a lot from her parents. When she lived in Lesotho, there was no job for women, so she started a little garden by her flat. She began to grow and sell vegetables. People came to see what she was doing and got curious. Eventually she was asked to train other people because of her great gardening skills. The same thing happened at Moya We Khaya – she passed on her knowledge and skills to all of the other members, who also participated in training by Abalimi and the Department of Agriculture.
Moya is managed by women who are “old but energetic”, they say enthusiastically about themselves. They also love to work with other people from the community.
“We need people to know that food comes from the soil and not from the shops”, Christina says.
The members of Moya really look forward to expanding, taking on new projects, and getting more like-minded people involved. Meanwhile, the garden has become quite a famous spot within Khayelitsha. “International visitors come and take pictures and then our grandchildren recognize us in pictures on international websites!” Christina says with joy.
- Christina Kaba
- Xoliswa Magutywa
- Stella Sukwana
- Nomlindi Sishuba
- Muriel Zilwa
- Nancy Maqungo
- Ntombizodwa Daweti
- Olwethu Kaba
- Nontombi Mtwasi
- Zola Mankayi
- Sandi Mongo
Mobile / Whats App: 072 368 0053
We also have a facebook page, but we so busy gardening that we don’t get time to update that…. so rather just visit us (-;
We enjoy having visitors at our gardens, but we are usually there very early in the morning, so if you coming later in the day please let us know.
Below is a map with the garden’s location: