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A 47-year-old, single mother of two has turned her life-long passion for gardening into an extention of her primary school mathematics teaching career, and in so doing is making a massive impact on communities in the Eastern Cape with inspiring projects that combine environmental awareness with alleviating poverty.
Ms Nomonde Ntsundwana humbly started her work in 2005 when she, with the help of the Agricultural Resource Council in Pretoria, transformed the dry schoolyard of Canzibe Primary, a township school in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth, into a sustainable food garden. Since this first garden she had has now rolled out her project to maintain gardens in 10 schools, 2 NGO’s and 2 churches.
Ms Ntsundwana learned about a holistic way of gardening that includes harvesting rainwater, recycling biodegradable material, and using organic composting methods that are energy efficient.
When she started the Orange-fleshed Sweet Potato Nursery in 2008, Port Elizabeth experienced a severe water crisis and this combined with the fact that the orange-fleshed sweet potato needs little water and does well in harsh weather conditions helped tremendously. It became a good tool to teach the children and the community that sustainable ways to overcome periods of drought can be found.
The education surrounding these projects is very important to Ms Ntsundwana,
who is driven to share her knowledge about the importance of gardening and the food production process.
At the moment she has an hour-long community radio programme, Ufundo Ngezo Limo, once a week in which she reaches out to her community and teaches them. It is broadcast on Nkqubela FM every Thursdays from 17h00 to 18h00.
In a world where natural resources are depleting rapidly she believes it is very important to teach children that supermarkets are not the source of food but that they must connect with the environment.
In 2011 her Canzibe gardening project was chosen to be one of the 6 Eco-Pioneers profiled by the TOTAL Petroleum and Oil Company in their quest to recognize institutions and individuals who are committed to protecting the environment and actively working towards a greener planet.
On the 28th of November 2011, Nomonde was awarded the prestigious Kudu Award from the South African National Parks in the category of individual Environmental Education and Capacity Building.
Three finalists have been announced in each of the five categories of the 2012 Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Award.
The names of the judges who will select this year's Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year, have been announced.
As the 2012 Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Award enters its judging phase, the winners of 2011 tell of how they are utilizing the prize money received from the Shoprite Group of Companies, to enhance their work and build a better future for the people of South Africa.
Women of the Year Office
Tel: +27 21 980 4285 / 1570
Fax: +27 21 983 5222