Thembalami food garden takes root

Amon Maluleke of Bambanani Food and Herb Cooperative and community volunteer Lekau Nkoko.


Vegetables and herbs fresh from the earth are the rewards of Thembalami Care Centre’s latest project – a food garden to supply its own kitchens and others in the community should the harvest be bountiful.

In July, as part of Mandela Day, Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo prepared the ground for a veggie garden. Thereafter, Josiah Ngobeni, a Thembalami gardener and his colleagues, guided and expertly assisted by Amon Maluleke of Bambanani Food and Herb Cooperative, planted seedlings.

Today, green mealie plants stand tall, while the spinach is ready to be picked and pumpkin, carrots, rosemary, onions and beetroot are thriving. Amon is volunteering his time and expertise to help establish the food garden. He is ably assisted by community volunteer Lekau Nkoko. It is Amon’s dream to build a legacy that will see more and more food gardens developed across the Johannesburg area, in a bid to counter increased urbanisation and food costs.

Amon is a pioneer of inner city gardening who is well known as one of the founders of Johannesburg’s Bertrams Inner City Farm, in the shadow of Ellis Park Stadium. “He has been a Godsend to us,” says Thembalami Complex Manager Elize Raath.

Thembalami is a care centre for financially and physically vulnerable senior citizens and is run by NPO Rand Aid Association. If you can assist with garden tunnels, irrigation systems, compost, hoes, boots and gardening gloves and winter seedlings, including cabbage, spinach, beetroot, broccoli, cauliflower and herbs, please give Elize a call at 011 882 4434 or visit



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