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Waste in Orange Farm (DM)

Davison Mudzingwa/Twenty Ten

Location: Orange Farm, South Africa

AUDIO: Recycling initiative in Orange Farm.

Associated Features: Recycling Life (Photo Feature)

CUE: Informal settlements are synonymous with all sorts of problems: shacks, lack of water and sanitation and dumpsites. In South Africa, images of service delivery protests have become a common feature. However, residents of the Orange farm community, 45 kilometres to the South of Johannesburg, are not waiting for the government to solve their problems. A grassroots initiative here aims to clear dumpsites through recycling. Davison Mudzingwa finds out more.

FX 1: GATE OPENING—00:05(Play, Fade Under)

LINK 1: 58-year-old Simon Sejutla has been opening this gate for the past fours years. This fenced property is noticeable by a medium sized corrugated warehouse and large recycling bins. This is the half-way house for waste collected in the Orange Farm community before it’s sold to recycling plants.

CLIP 1: SIMON—00:07”
I sort them, clean up and pay those who bring the waste.

LINK 2: Sejutla says although R800 he gets each month is not enough for all the basics he needs, he is grateful that he can at least support his family.

CLIP 2: GLADYS—00:07”
When we started the project of recycling, it started as a food gardening project...and we started checking the environment of our community

LINK 3: Gladys Mokolo, together with other women in Orange Farm, 30 years ago founded the Itsoseng Women’s recycling project. Literally translated, Itsoseng means Do-It-Yourself. This is slowly becoming a reality for these community members who are achieving two goals: a clean environment and income generation.

CLIP 3: GLADYS—00:15”
We have managed to assist a lot of families…because people are bringing all the waste and get something out of that.

LINK 4: Jabusile Bhengu is one of those referred to by Mokolo, she has worked with the project for three years.

FX: SHUFFLING OF WASTE—00:07” (Fade In , Play Under)

LINK 5: She is busy arranging waste at a shopping mall under an unusual hot winter sun.

CLIP 4: JABUSILE—00:09”
For me it has changed a lot because…because without finance nothing is easy

LINK 6: This mother of an 18-year-old son is proud that her efforts to recycle waste assist the government in sustainable environment management. However, it’s more than that. Jabusile pauses the shuffling and arranging of waste for a moment, and for the first time, with a glittering smile on her face she explains how she manages to educate her son who is studying Computers at a local college.

CLIP 5: GLADYS—00:07”
I’m paying him out of this…I feel very happy (laughs)

LINK 7: Bricks Mokolo is a popular figure here in this community. Not only is he known as a former soccer player and fierce political activist during the apartheid era, the soft-spoken man is now heavily involved in community development projects like this one. He helps with the collection of waste from various centres of the community, driving the single two tonne truck they own.

FX: TRUCK DRIVING—00:10” (Fade In, Play, FadeUnder)

CLIP 6: BRICKS—00:10”
We have realised that to educate members of the community…generates income

LINK 8: But is it easy to gather and sort the waste for ordinary members of the community?

CLIP 9: BRICKS—00:20”
It is easy to sort waste…make compost that fertilise the soil and grow vegetables.

LINK 9: Having survived over the years on a shoestring budget, Gladys Mokolo has one goal in mind.

CLIP 10: GLADYS—00:25”
I think one day the project will be a company…for me it’s a big, big thing.

LINK 10: Despite glaring challenges such as lack of government support and resources, the survival of this initiative has shown how grassroots solutions can overcome local challenges.

For the Twenty Ten Project, this is Davison Mudzingwa in the Orange Farm Community South Africa.

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