Inspiring people to re-imagine their relationship to their world
Sustainable Together Project: Buyeli'khaya: Returning Home

Return to Origin Sustainable Together Project – Pre-Workshop Launch

I just want to share my love of gardening with the children, so they can carry it forward.” – Tata William

The momentum began to build as we awaited the arrival of Return to Origin’s assistant facilitator, the sound recordist and photographer. Building trust was essential before people would open up and hopefully not feel invaded by people they did not know. We did two days of walkabouts in the community. Short interviews turned into an intimate breaking the ice and relationship-building experience.

We met several community members in many different ways: gardeners, cooks, community leaders, beaders and elders, who all opened their homes to us and were willing to sit and talk and have their photo taken. We bought produce from the women’s co-op, who plant by the local school. We left with armfuls of beets and onions. A full circle had been presented: the land, tilled, seeded, planted and grown, with a final bounty of vegetables directly from the earth and into our arms; to be cooked for the participants of the workshop over the next three days. The rounds of interviews were proof that this community had sustained themselves during a pandemic, despite its challenges. The stories began to flow organically, and the visions shared on sustainability, and handing down of knowledge, were hopeful and inspiring. Skill-sharing, knowledge, wisdom, stories and meeting heart-to-heart were the order of both days, and inspired and uplifted us all. In addition. During the pandemic more gardens and vegetables were planted, more fruit trees for children to eat from, and a closer community fostered, sharing and distributing more with a shared vision.

I feel happy when everything is growing and when I sell it. It keeps me young! Gardening has made me independent. I can buy what I want. I have what I need. I don’t need to steal or beg for a job. Young people can learn this too.” – Phindiwe Hlawana (Women’s Gardening Co-Op)

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