Tag Archive for: cape town

water blog 2

Dear people of Cape Town, the deep seated ache you feel for rain right now is a constant longing and ever present ache for those of us who live off rainwater. We’ve been living solely on rainwater for the last 10 years, so being keenly aware of water usage has become second nature for my children, as it was for me growing up on a farm running purely on rainwater. When water is not an infinite resource that pours from a tap, but rather a precious lifeline that changes with the seasons, the darkening of the sky, the bleak days of drought and the ecstatic first sounds of raindrops hitting the roof as it runs into your rainwater tanks, it becomes a thread that runs deep in your veins.

So here are some of our water saving ways that form a natural part of everyday life:

1) Only wash dirty clothes – this is a biggie and I speak from the privileged position of having a washing machine. Wear clothes until they are truly dirty enough to go in the machine, the habit of wearing something once and then just chucking it in the laundry basket without first CHECKING if it actually warrants a wash is foreign to us. The same goes for towels and bedding which use a lot of water, don’t just wash them because you always wash on a Monday, ask yourself if they actually need a wash? And of course, only use the washing machine when it is ABSOLUTELY FULL. As a family of four we do two loads of washing a week to give you an idea….

IMG_6439 (Copy)2) Use biodegradable cleaning products – that way your used water can have a second use, the term GREYWATER has luckily become a well known concept. We have all the water from our bathroom going to the veggie garden through a filter of reeds and the kitchen water goes to a banana circle because, well,  bananas love water. There are many clever DIY ways of doing this or get in a company to help you. Here are some great local, biodegradable cleaning products… Probac, Naturally Good, the Clean Shop, Greenman.

3) Eat meat as a treat – your water saving ways can go beyond just the changes you make in your home habits, they can also include your consumer choices in the shops. Meat production uses far more agricultural water than vegetables and grains do. So if you are a meat eater why not have it as a treat, as it used to be, and not every night. Or go for Green Monday or Meat Free Monday, just having meat one less day a week will already have a sizable impact. And if you do buy meat, go for something like Karoo Choice where good veld management is a priority, protecting the river catchments.

4) Garden water wise – nothing grates a rainwater bunny like myself more than seeing gardens being watered in the heat of day when most of it is evaporating, plus it burns the leaves of the plants! Obviously if you have radical water restrictions you can’t water your garden (or if you are like my 7 year old you would be aghast at the fact that anyone could even ever water their lawn, we of course never can and never do) but it’s pretty obvious that it’s far better to water your garden in the cool hours of the day early morning and evening when it’s not all going to evaporate. Other simple water wise ways are to heavily mulch your garden beds to lock in the moisture, plant plants that are indigenous to your area and therefore adapted to the climate and the rainfall and remove any thirsty exotics especially if they are invasive.

IMG_6364 (Copy)5) Get a rainwater tank – it’s life changing, your relationship with water will never be the same as your heart will soar every time it rains and you know you are storing water for drier times. It just makes so much sense, and boy do I wish that every new house built in this country had a mandatory rain tank. They come in all shapes and sizes now to suit all rural and urban needs, it’s a capital outlay for sure but the rewards are very long lived!

6) Pools are a luxury – and should be treated as such. Being on rainwater we of course don’t have one, so I don’t have many real life tips around this, but perhaps there are basic responsibilities when it comes to pools, like re-using the water for the garden when you backwash and getting a cover to prevent evaporation?

7) Be truly water conscious – being aware of all our daily interactions with water needs to become second nature for all of us, it just has to. We live in South Africa, enough said. The only time a tap should be left running is when there is a plug in to catch the water that can be used for multiple purposes whether it’s washing dishes or veggies or two children in a shallow bath and then that water gets used again when it goes out to the garden. Every time we use water we feel aware of its value, only fill the kettle for how much tea you will drink, only flush the loo if you have to, only use the dishwasher when its full to capacity. Water saving ways need to run in our veins, it’s a matter of survival.

As our climates change and flux due to man made activities and dry places become drier and wet places wetter, we too need to change our ways and our relationship to water, because fresh, delicious, abundant water is not a given, not in any way, but rather a treasured resource to be treated with the utmost respect and care.

#VoteWithYourWallet and support businesses that have water saving measures in place, find them here.


The idea for iKamvaYouth was born in 2003 by Makhosi Gogwana and Joy Olivier, back then two young researchers, who collectively noticed the massive problems facing matriculants in disadvantaged areas, particularly in the subjects of Mathematics and Science. Makhosi and Joy noticed how students, with the help of tutors, are able to gain an upper hand, by opening new doors allowing more opportunities to further their studies after they have matriculated.


As reported on the IkamvaYouth website, 1.3 million learners start school every year in South Africa, but less than half will ever matriculate. The difficult socio-economic inequalities reflect on a dark trend, with black learners continuously underperforming, particularly in the subjects of Maths and Sciences. This backdrop puts them at much greater risk of enlarging an already concerning unemployment rate. Access to South Africa’s universities is limited to less than 10% of youth, and very few of those come from township schools.


IkamvaYouth is addressing this legacy of inequality by enabling township youth to improve their academic performance and access post-school opportunities that set them on the path to earning a dignified living.


On a chilly morning Clotilde and I met with three of IkamvaYouth’s tutors, (iKamvanites as they are referred to) during a break form the winter school program that IkamvaYouth was hosting at the University of the Western Cape in Belville. Being on a complete volunteer basis, we were interested to find out the tutors perspective of the programme.


IkamvaYouth is primarily a tutoring organisation, where tutors volunteer their time and knowledge. Learners are taught to think for themselves, and practice reading, understanding, writing/calculating, and speaking. The model is based on learners taking responsibility for their own studies, identifying the aspects of their work with which they need help, and ensuring that they seek support to fill in the self identified gaps in their knowledge/understanding.


Lunga 's charisma and positivity is infectious. ©David Peter Harris

Lunga ‘s charisma and positivity is infectious. ©David Peter Harris

Lunga Sizani who joined as a tutor in 2014 after a friend told him about the Winter School initiative; this was his second year tutoring at the Winter School. He told us,

“Waking up early in the cold and dark every morning before coming to winter school is well worth the effort and time it takes, as I am able to help young learners who are also enduring the same every morning to be there and further themselves. It’s inspiring to provide to younger students a positive role model they can look up to”, Lunga says, smiling.

Aphiwe Sobutyu ©David Peter Harris

IkamvaYouth has shown Aphiwe, that anythingthing is possible ©David Peter Harris

Aphiwe Sobutyu became an iKamvanite in 2010 whilst he was still a learner in Grade 10; the program helped propel him to the top of his class at school, whilst showing him different vocations like camping and going to the aquarium.

“I became a leader amongst my peers; my friends started asking me for help with their academic problems all the time” he joyously admitted

In 2012 IkamvaYouth was able to provide Aphiwe with application fees for University. He tells us about the self-discovery that the process generated by Ikamva brought about within himself, generating self-confidence in his abilities.

“Through IkamvaYouth, I have seen abilities and traits in myself that I did not know I had.”

Aphiwe is currently studying Public Management and in the future wishes to work in the government. What makes you do what you do, we asked? “I live through the adage that if you fall, pick yourself up and shake off that dust and keep on going, and you can conquer the world.”

Thando believes positive role models ©David Peter Harris

Thando believes positive role models are the key to South Africas success. ©David Peter Harris

Thando Nomfazi joined IkamvaYouth in Grade 10, wanting to learn more and add solutions to what he had learnt at school; “within the first 6 months from joining, I saw a massive improvement both in my school work and attitude. In Grade 11 I even received a Bursary”. A charismatic role model, Thando tells us, “Being part of IkamvaYouth has taught me how to be patient and how to be comfortable with myself”. He added that

“ I think mentoring students form high schools, even if it is only a few students you can make a big difference in South Africa as a whole, because those that you have mentored will grow with the right attitude and transfer it to the next generation, and will grow and change our country.”

Thando is now studying Civil Engineering and one day hopes to be a project manager.

All three of the tutors were filled with an immense amount of pride at being able to pass on their knowledge attitude and spirit on to the younger students helping instill a sense of pride and passion in themselves and their future.

IkamvaYouth runs their Winter School program  every year during the mid year school break.

IkamvaYouth currently has branches in Ivory Park in Gauteng, the greater Cato Manor area and Molweni in KwaZulu-Natal and in Khayelitsha, Nyanga and Masiphumelele in the Western Cape. A new star is about to be added to the Western Cape, with a new branch that will soon be opening in Atlantis, in partnership with GreenCape.

Ursula Wellman. ©David Peter Harris

Ursula Wellman. ©David Peter Harris

Ursula Wellmann, Skills Practitioner at GreenCape, uncovered some of the details, in conversation with Eco Atlas. The branch will start off focusing on Grade 10 and 11 kids, who will attend tutoring sessions twice every week and on Saturdays, hosted at Proteus Technical High School in Atlantis. IkamvaYouth will also be providing mentoring and support for Grade 12 learners to help with career advice and applications to tertiary institutions. Ursula’s work is very focused on the development of Atlantis; when we asked her how the partnership came about, she tells us:

“IkamvaYouth’s 13 year proven track record speaks for itself; that this programme, ‘for youth by youth’ delivers astounding results and makes many dreams a reality.”

Atlantis is in very good hands, and the future of our youth is looking bright and strong.’

If you are interested in becoming a tutor at their new branch please contact yanga@ikamvayouth.org,

For more information and how you can support iKamva Youth visit their website.


EPISODE 5 | Plastic Free Challenge

Hayley McLellan, Stories from the City Centre, Cape Town

An environmental campaigner who runs Rethink the Bag South Africa and shops for herself from her home base in Seapoint, she took the Plastic Free July challenge to the extreme as she has already cut out most single-use plastics from her life.


I come from a KwaZulu-Natal farming family and eating from our massive and organic veggie garden at home is such a privilege. Being back in the city can sway us off this healthy path choice quicker than you can say “give peas a chance!” The presentation of organic, non-plastic-suffocated fruit and veg is even a treat for the eye.

Episode 5_1 (Copy)


So I took a visit to Oranjezicht City Farm Market. This is a largely plastic bag-free market. The only fresh produce I saw in transparent bags were the kumquats, which could be avoided.


My purchases for this day cost me R95, which included Happy Hens eggs. It is important for me to be transparent about my Plastic Free July experience and say that I did find shopping organic a tad expensive. Carrots, for example, cost me four times what I would pay in a retail store – munch on that! Next week I will go for the “two for one” specials at the end of the market day.


My taste buds simply love plain, natural, Greek/Bulgarian yoghurt. I never buy any other style. The Camphill brand is superb with a silky texture and a far superior taste than any commercial brand. Again, it also comes at a premium price, but it is in a glass bottle!



It has been a frustrating month as I feel like I did when I was eating strictly gluten free – I have limited choices! I wander the isles with glazed eyes, standing in line at the checkout nauseates me as I look around – with no judgement – but noticing our collective unconsciousness mirrored in our shopping choices and habits…..clutching onto our perceived convenient lifestyles…..


I badly wanted a particular tasting soup on the weekend (in plastic of course) and I just said ‘bugger it’ and bought it, same went for cheese which is R110/kg at Checkers in plastic compared to R250-R350/kg at organic markets! Really! Why can’t we get reasonably priced, not so fancy cheese at markets too? Why does the healthy choice have to be the more expensive choice? I dream about starting a  packaging free grocery store in Cape Town…


For a lovely video on Hayley and the other staff of Two Oceans Aquarium chatting about their Plastic Free July, watch here.


Collective solutions from all our stories – from cities, small towns and the middle of the Karoo…every little thing we do adds up and it all counts…it’s not easy to change habits and plastic packaging is everywhere, but the more of us who say NO to single-use plastic the easier it becomes…living a healthy, plastic free life is really difficult and expensive, this needs to change and we CAN change it….and sharing our stories is powerful, we are not alone, we inspire each other and we can take back our power as consumers to create healthy communities and a healthy planet. Who’s in?

Follow our blog for all the episodes in this Plastic Free Challenge series.

plastic free header pic

[You can search for places that are recycling or using eco packaging on  Eco Atlas and here are some other plastic free wins you should definitely check out – GreenHome, StreamStraws, FreshBag, The Candylwood Store and more…]


Practical solutions, upcycling ideas and exciting alternatives to plastic from Cape Town.

EPISODE 4 | Plastic Free Challenge

Scone Malone, Stories from the Southern Suburbs, Cape Town

Hello everybody, my name is Scone and I live in the cold and lush Southern suburbs of Cape Town. I live with three friends who are all doing postgrad work whilst I do a bunch of varying freelance work from journalism to legal work and building with mycelium.


We collect our water from the Newlands spring and so one change we implemented during Plastic Free July was to replace our clear plastic 25L bottle with brown glass bottles and a wooden crate for transport. We are fortunate to have space for a compost heap and try to recycle everything else. We do a pretty good job of avoiding single use plastic, especially the easy ones like plastic bags, straws etc., but still find others difficult. The thing is that often food comes in overly wrapped containers. One way to get around this is to only buy fresh things and try to buy from markets as much as you can; another way is to grow as much as possible of your own. Things like condiments and milk are also a problem as the containers they come in are discarded after use. There is the option of making your own almond/cashew milk and using glass receptacles; we find that simply upcycling things is another excellent option – washing and drilling holes in the bottom of an old mayo tub makes for a great planter for a bit of yarrow.

The ultimate problem is that we are still so reliant on plastic because manufacturers just see it as the go-to option – it is cheap to produce and so well accepted in society. There are great alternatives, like processing mycelium or agar into functional plastic substitutes,

the only problem being that it is more expensive. Herein lies not only the misconception of price vs cost, but also the fact that with enough momentum the anti-plastic campaign can change the perception of manufacturers that the public are okay with plastic.

It may be a good idea to be vocal about it (without being abrasive or curt, of course) in interactions with manufacturers, producers, retailers and their employees whenever possible. Tell them why you do not want the straw with a smile on your face.

Every little comment adds to the communal subconscious and we will save the planet from our folly. Good luck with your plastic free challenge now and beyond!

To find out more about mycelium as a plastic substitute and building material contact Scone and find out more about MycoMinded.


Follow our blog for all the episodes in this Plastic Free Challenge series.

plastic free header pic

Collective solutions from all our stories…every little thing we do adds up and it all counts…it’s not easy to change habits and plastic packaging is everywhere, but the more of us who say NO to single-use plastic the easier it becomes…living a healthy, plastic free life is really difficult and expensive, this needs to change and we CAN change it….and sharing our stories is powerful, we are not alone, we inspire each other and we can take back our power as consumers to create healthy communities and a healthy planet. Who’s in?


[You can search for places that are recycling or using eco packaging on  Eco Atlas and here are some other plastic free wins you should definitely check out – GreenHome, StreamStraws, FreshBag, The Candylwood Store and more…]


Paul Talliard, founder of Hands of Honour, in his office in Ottery, Cape Town ©David Peter Harris

Paul Talliard, founder of Hands of Honour, in his office in Ottery, Cape Town ©David Peter Harris


“I was one of the first black firemen in South Africa; I had a great wage, a stunning life. Then, I got introduced to crack cocaine; within a year, I lost everything”. This is how Paul Talliard, founder of Hands of Honour, commenced his story. We were sitting in his temporary office in Ottery, a house offered as a work space; and in a business-like fashion, he closed his Twitter page (not without first retweeting some breaking news). I couldn’t believe what that bright smile and drive could hide; yet, I was ready to listen. I sat on the couch as he turned off his computer; we had each other’s undivided attention.

“I ended up on the street. Then one day I was walking on Muizenberg beach, looking for food; I saw myself hunting in a bin and I decided that I had reached the tipping point; I would turn my life around. The same afternoon I went to chat to the Soup Kitchen management about my intention, and they decided to help me. In two months I was clean. One day, the lady who ran the Kitchen came to me and asked me to address the other guys and inspire them with my story. In a Soup kitchen, men and women are separated; I looked up and there were 150 men in that room, right there, and I found myself standing in front of who I used to be. I told them “Everybody who wants to change their lives stay behind today and we’ll have a little chat.” Only eight men stayed, but it was a great chance to connect. We started meeting every week, and in a short time the number grew to 50 men, who were committed to getting off the street. We worked on a little project together – fixing a widow’s home, and then I decided to register us as an NPO, Hands of Honour.

I had hands, but I needed to find some work to keep those hands busy, to avoid them getting back on the street.” Paul looked around the room, and then back at me, smiling, and  said

“It’s like getting dressed for a party, with no party to go to”.

I will remember this analogy forever, as sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we don’t know whether we’re getting up for success, or disaster.

Hands of Honour’s Constitution states that the “Hands” need to give back to the community for every paid project accomplished. “I was introduced to the concept of social enterprise. I started attending courses and applying for grants and, believe it or not, things started happening.”

One day, Paul received a phone call from a corporate, which donated 500 Christmas trees that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill. “We sold those Christmas trees at markets, and we made a profit of R8000. One Saturday morning, I took half of our profit, got t-shirts and brushes for my guys with the plan to paint a school in Steenberg which had not been painted in years. When my 60 guys pitched up, I couldn’t believe my eyes.” This is how Hands of Honour’s up-cycling formula took off. The NPO establishes relationships with the corporate sector, which donates its obsolete stock. Hands of Honour up-cycles the stock into value; 50% sale provide salaries for the “Hands”, while the other half is used for projects to turn negative spaces into positive ones that benefit the community.  To this day, Paul and his Hands have handled many big projects, from turning a Drug Den into a Community factory that makes school uniforms, upgrading an early literacy centre for rural children to regular community clean-ups and the latest Book Nook. These community-driven projects lead to a drastic drop in crime rates in the area “This happens when communities take ownership of the projects in the area”, Paul says.

Hands of Honour turns waste into value. Its up-cycling formula guarantees salaries as well as funding community projects ©David Peter Harris

Hands of Honour turns waste into value. Its up-cycling formula guarantees salaries as well as funding community projects ©David Peter Harris

Hands of Honour also addresses a social problem found in Soup Kitchens; unemployment and social grants create a generational issue, ingrained in the social texture with heavy reliance on handouts. “I see whole generations coming through the Kitchen, when nobody should grow up in one”, Paul tells me, in a concerned tone.

While the social welfare policy in South Africa is formulated on the principles and needs of empowering individuals and closing the poverty gap, there is an active discussion to determine the extent to which these measures reap sustainable effects or just perpetuate what is called welfare dependency’.

Addressing social and economic marginalization is not an easy task. With the unemployment rate swinging between 25% and 36,1% (with the latter including people who have stopped looking for work) (Reuters, July 2015), and one quarter of the population currently receiving grants, Paul’s words brought home a special kind of awareness. I am not against grants, but social assistance alone cannot be intended to work miracles – what is desperately needed are measures to bring down the marginalization of the “unemployable” while triggering economic inclusion, skill development and training; only then we can look at poverty reduction and empowerment as measurable, real goals. Otherwise we’re setting ourselves up for disaster.

Hands of Honour sets out to solve the issue with a Job Training Programme that provides skills and confidence to those members of society who have ‘checked out’, that have stopped trying. “I tell my guys that they can’t depend on anybody, nobody owes them anything; they have to work to make a living; by doing that they build confidence and function like positive role models for their families”.

Our time together was almost up, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the ripple effect Paul himself had created, in his life, in the lives of men considered unemployable, his guys, and their communities. It seemed like a rhetoric question, but I had to ask him what drives him.

“My passion is to see what I see now; one of my guys pulling into the Soup Kitchen, not to eat a meal, but to be inspirational to other people. I was 46 when I walked into a Soup Kitchen, and I had a second chance; I want everybody to have one too. “

Before leaving, he added

“When you reach out to others, you find yourself healing and your success growing. As you bring hope to other people, something inside you changes too. Give to receive and you will see that what you reap is magical indeed.”

The special kind of awareness Paul made me picture over our long chat belongs to all those people who, like me, have been lucky enough to never worry about their next meal, a bed to sleep on, what clothes to wear, or even a hug. However, I have committed to be aware of my daily actions, and the little or big impact I can make, even when shopping for a wooden bench, or a reading nook. While we are waiting for the social assistance framework and policy to up their game in the far away Government rooms, there is so much we can do, as a groundswell movement. I left Paul’s office with a great “awareness-in-action” mindset.



 ©David Peter Harris

If you have donations that these Honourable Hands can turn into value, please get in touch with Paul. Check out their Eco Atlas page and look at their growing range of products, before going on your online shopping portal.


Abonga Tom and Sizwe Nyuka Mlenzana, at Ekasi Garden Headquarters, Vusamanzi Primary School, Khayelitsha. ©David Peter Harris

Abonga Tom and Sizwe Nyuka Mlenzana, at Ekasi Garden Headquarters, Vusamanzi Primary School, Khayelitsha. ©David Peter Harris



The creative heart of Site C in Khayelitsha  is a vibrant group of young peeps. They all share a common passion,  positive leadership and commitment to bring about innovation, hope and positive change, starting from their community. One of the Change Makers episodes featured Xolisa Bangani and Ikhaya Garden, the vegetable garden at Isikhokelo Primary School that is spearheading the movement to make “gardening cool”. Ekasi Project Green is a brother organization, based at Vusamanzi Primary School. It was started in September 2014 by six friends, who took inspiration from their makhulu’s garden in the Eastern Cape, with the idea of guaranteeing a healthy diet for the students. We met up with Abonga Tom and Sizwe Nyuka Mlenzana, who have been friends since they were kids. In the ten years I have lived in Cape Town, this was my second trip to Khayelitsha.

Why Ekasi?

“Young people like to believe in what they see, they watch us and want to get involved. Ekasi is a role model, by doing we motivate children to explore their talent and creativity. Our passion is fueled by the difference we see we’re making and the excitement of the students at Vusamanzi Primary School when they come running to help and play”.

The overall influx of bad news coverage is acting like a counter agent to change, and this is why Sizwe, Abonga and friends are joining forces.



Samkelo and Asange stand by their vegetable garden. They took up gardening since Ekasi started.©David Peter Harris



“A tip for Social Innovators? Be ambitious, self-confident, patient, safe and most of all, free your mind and stay positive. Don’t compare yourself to anybody else but stay focused.”

Ekasi is also working in partnership with Slow Food Youth Network, an organisation from Italy that promotes good, clean, fair food with a focus on sustainability. “Slow Food Youth Network is very supportive in everything we do, from the WE LOVE OUR SEEDS workshop and Funky Vegetable Festival we organized here in Khayelitsha. We also volunteer for the organisation and presented Slow Food in Good Food and Wine at CTICC”, Sizwe tells me .

Sizwe recently returned from France, where  he attended the 3rd Eating City Summer Campus, alongside 42 people from all over the world. The Campus offered a global platform where participants could discuss the impacts of food system on  natural elements, identify the problems and also come up with solutions. They wrote a declaration which will be presented in Milan this October in the event called Terra Madre Giovani – We Feed the Planet and again in Paris at the COP21 summit to Ban Ki Moon the general secretary of the UN. Sizwe tells me “What I learnt is that as young people we need to be involved in this movement because young people are the future we need to be part of the solution when it comes to climate change, food sovereignty and sustainable ways of living”. 

While I was writing this post, I scrolled down my news feeds, and I stumbled upon an article on the TED page. “Leadership Advice from the Dalai Lama”, some of my personal favourite keywords had come up and I couldn’t ignore it.  One of the quotes seemed fit to show the collectiveness of Ekasi Garden’s story.

 “Don’t be discouraged by the terrible news we hear; in reality, that reflects a small portion of the human story. Beneath the ugly tip of that glacier lies a vast reservoir of sensitivity and kindness.”

Ekasi Garden and Ikhaya Garden are hosting an Eat In event on the 26th September 2015, from 9.30am until 1.00pm, at Moses Mabhida Library, Site C, Khayelitsha. The event, supported by Slow Food Youth Network, emphasizes the a story behind every pot. Eat In is about making friends and celebrating food; different chefs will be showcasing their recipes, telling their stories about their food and their culture, tradition and environment. 

Get in touch with Ekasi Garden via their Eco Atlas page.

The smile of change : Amanda Lewis owner of Saucisse Deli, Old Biscuit Mill, Cape Town ©David Peter Harris.

The smile of change : Amanda Lewis owner of Saucisse Deli, Old Biscuit Mill, Cape Town ©David Peter Harris.


Recently, we met Amanda Lewis, owner of Saucisse Boutique Deli, a family-run speciality meat and cheese Deli, located in the heart of Woodstock’s Old Biscuit Mill. When we chatted, Amanda had just returned from three weeks in Zambia, where she headed GreenPop’s Bush Kitchen for the treevolutionaries who planted trees with the team at Zambia Festival of Action 2015. Saucisse is a food hub of handpicked local suppliers, offering a high quality selection of local food. With her personal journey, ideas and future plans (including a sustainable cook book called Eat Food), it was an inspiring chat about her passion for food.

“It all started when I opened my own business. It was the first time that I was in a professional environment where I could set my own rules, buying what I wanted to buy and implementing the system I wanted. Originally, I went into it concentrating on the ethics of my products, which are 100% local and small scale, establishing a platform for small producers to showcase their home-grown products. “

She then went to Zambia with the GreenPop Team in 2014. “Ethically I was very happy with my choices. Then, while running the GreenPop kitchen for six weeks, I had my eureka moment when I realized that I had to concentrate on the waste aspect of food too. I remember wondering “How come I haven’t been thinking about it?” I started being packaging-conscious, and once back in Cape Town, I was overly inspired, and my staff thought I had gone nuts! We started recycling and at first it was only up to me to get the system running; a year on, this has become the way of life at the Deli”.

Saucisse is one of the only businesses at the Biscuit Mill that recycles and, besides using biodegradable packaging and cleaning products, it has teamed with Food for Thought and all food wastage gets delivered to the Night Haven Shelter in Observatory.

Saucisse Deli has teamed with Food for Thought and all food wastage gets delivered to the Night Haven Shelter in Observatory.©David Peter Harris.

Food wastage gets delivered to the Night Haven Shelter in Observatory.©David Peter Harris

Amanda personally chooses all the suppliers she represents:

“This is a process I take really seriously. I meet them directly, I taste everything myself, making sure that the quality of the product is high level, while being produced as ethically as possible, trying to keep everything preservative and colourant free. I mainly work with really small-scale suppliers, from a mother-daughter team making jam to a producer who grows her own Kombucha using spring water from Newlands.”

What are the challenges of spearheading such a strong eco-friendly business ethos?
“It needs a lot of pre-planning to make sure that the system falls into place. It also entails a strong educational role we play with suppliers and customers alike, creating awareness on the reasons why we should put care into producing and selecting food that is free-range, locally made, with just a few ingredients. You might be paying a little more, but you know exactly what you’re getting. For example, our cured meats supplier handles everything himself, from sourcing pigs to butchering so I know exactly where all his meat comes from; he now has to compete with mass-production suppliers who we have no idea what goes into their products, how is that possible? This is the main problem; you need to be aware of what you’re buying.”


“We need to create the connection with where food comes from, reconnect with the person who produces our food and the person who is selling our food.”

Saucisse is a local showcase of high quality, small scale suppliers, handpicked by Amanda ©David Peter Harris.

Saucisse is a local showcase of high quality, small scale suppliers, handpicked by Amanda ©David Peter Harris.

“Tips? Open up the knowledge about what you’ve been eating. Go online and find all the eye-opening facts about the importance of vegetables and herbs. There is a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips; you just have to look for it. It is also empowering to learn how to read food labels, don’t pick up your food out of habit and be aware of what you eat.”

While David snapped a few pictures, I gazed around the buzzing Deli and my eyes were drawn to the wall where the Eco Atlas poster was, next to a beautiful quote by George Bernard Shaw “There is no love sincerer than the love for food”. It’s no surprise that Saucisse has adopted such philosophy.


Visit Saucisse, Monday to Saturday, or get in touch via their Eco Atlas page .


Rayne Moses, Founder and Director of Nebula, at Nebula’s Youth Development Programme in Gugulethu,Cape Town. ©David Peter Harris

Rayne Moses, Founder and Director of Nebula, at Nebula’s Youth Development Program in Gugulethu,Cape Town. ©David Peter Harris


“Doing this makes my life worth living, it gives me purpose and creates possibilities for others. Experiencing the difference we make in kids’ lives as well as the joy that skateboarding brings to all of us makes me keep going.”


Nebula creates and facilitates a nurturing, dynamic environment where young South Africans can explore their potential and grow through experiential learning and entrepreneurial activity. Rooted in passion for skateboarding, art, design, music and dance, Nebula sources strategic partnerships and creates solutions to the social and economic challenges our youth face in their communities.


Kurt Daley from Nebula (right). Nebula visits the school in Gugulethu three times a week. The first hour is Circle Time, where the group sits together and academic/behavioural issues are addressed and resolved, within the circle. ©David Peter Harris

Kurt Daley from Nebula (right). Nebula visits the school in Gugulethu three times a week. The first hour is Circle Time, where the group sits together and academic/behavioural issues are addressed and resolved, within the circle. ©David Peter Harris


“Why do I believe it makes a difference? I can see it day by day. For example, a boy who joined our programme in 2013 is now a top performing student in his class and is growing up with a Nebula Skate of Mind!”

Nebula started off at a Gugulethu Sports Complex, but it aims to implement its youth development programs throughout Cape Town. Nebula has also developed an apparel line to fund its expansion.

If skating is your thing, or you would like to support their work, contact Rayne at Nebula or visit their Eco Atlas page.

green annexe

I recently had the novel experience of trying out a low carbon stay in Cape Town’s city centre. Now cities and low impact are not usually synonymous, especially for a country girl like myself for whom a city embodies high input and high output of resources and consumerism. And yet, the densification of people and buildings certainly has its merits, as I soon discovered, because you are able to minimise your carbon footprint by using the most eco friendly mode of transport around, your own two feet! Saving time, money and well, a whole lot of carbon into the already burdened atmosphere.

I was lucky enough to stay at the Green Annexe, part of The Hollow on The Square, where every care has been taken to be a low impact hotel. It was built using recycled materials and has energy saving features such as double glazed windows, A-rated appliances, eco light fixtures and has a real organic feel compared to most hotels with its cork flooring, bamboo furniture and upcycled wooden picture frames. And isn’t it exciting that we have great innovations at our fingertips like saving on electricity by only allowing the lights and air conditioner to work when the hotel card key is inserted in the card slot, which makes sure guests don’t leave the room with everything blazing (that is if you absolutely HAVE to use the air conditioner). I think the lesson that can be learnt here is that luxury does not need to be lost when creating a green hotel experience.  On the contrary it makes the stay all the more real and feel good.

So there were no taxis, trains or traffic jams involved in my trip to Cape Town, I simply stepped out the door of the Green Annexe and walked 5 minutes through well treed squares and avenues to the international convention centre. And it felt so good! I also walked up through town for the most sublime ethical breakfast in the calm haven of Dear Me, but that story deserves a blog all of it’s own… So while Uber may have revolutionised the way we travel within foreign cities we must not forget that walking was the original and ultimate way to experience a city…and by far the best if you’re conscious of carbon.


green annexe eco atlas


hollow on the square eco atlas


green annexe cape town


eco accommodation cape town



To search for this hotel or other eco friendly accommodation or activity options in South Africa, use the Eco Atlas search tool.