u-turn 25 birthday

Based in Claremont, one of U-Turn’s social enterprises, Living Roots, spent the morning of Friday 10 November planting a new garden within their nursery in honour of its partner Rewoven’s milestone of diverting 1 million kg of textiles.

Known locally, U-Turn has been on a mission to equip street people with skills to overcome homelessness for the past 25 years.

In the course of this, it devised an innovative crafting programme designed by a multidisciplinary team of social workers, homeless-support workers, occupational therapists, counsellors, trainers and life coaches.

U-Turn’s website broadcasts Living Roots as a social enterprise that creates work opportunities for U-turn champions (its former homeless clients).

It is also a social enterprise that provides water-wise, indigenous vegetation, sustainable corporate gardening services as well as training and consultancy services.

Within just three years of launching its business, Rewoven has been the centre of conversations in town revolving around upcycling, recycling and reconstructing unused clothes to prevent them from reaching the dump.

Led by young and dynamic leaders, Rewoven is the first South African company that recycles textile waste into a quality fabric good enough for the manufacturing of clothes.

“When we launched The Rewoven Co our main goal was to create 100% recycled, quality fabric using pre-consumer textile waste,” said co-founder Esethu Cenga, “because we believe the textile industry can play a positive role in creating economic growth, employment and eradicating poverty.

According to Green Cape’s Market Intelligence Report, annually, Cape Town sends 70 000 tons of textiles to the landfills.

By collecting unwanted clothing, U-turn contributes to circularity within the textile industry.

The NGO currently collects clothes using steel bins that will be placed in conspicuous public places for those who would like to donate old and unwanted clothes.

Living Roots Project Manager Louise Nurrish celebrated Rewoven by saying: “We are so happy for the great work that Rewoven is putting out there.

“When we partnered with them, we knew they would take our intention of ensuring that ‘end-of-life’ clothing is recycled and does not end up in landfill to the next level.” Heleen Rossouw, People’s Post

Originally published in the People’s Post on 21 November 2023

Photo: Living Roots