u-turn 25 birthday

U-Turn, a non-profit organisation that helps people get off the streets, has launched a nursery to provide work opportunities for the homeless while promoting more environmentally friendly communities.

About 250 people, including Claremont Beneficiary Trust treasurer Yusuf Mowlana and ward councillor Mikhail Manuel, attended the launch of the non-profit Living Roots nursery, at its premises at the formerly derelict bowls club in Claremont, on Monday April 10.

Run and managed by U-Turn staff who were formerly homeless, Living Roots provides water-wise indigenous plants as well as gardening, training and consultancy services while creating jobs for the homeless and helping the public grow endemic plants that aid conservation efforts, said spokeswoman Siwaphiwe Myataza-Mzantsi.

U-Turn’s CEO, Jean-Ray Knighton Fitt, said, “Ours is to continuously empower our formerly homeless clients through these enterprises.”

Hilton Sarukunda, project manager at Jobs Fund, a National Treasury initiative established in 2011 to encourage innovation and support initiatives like this, said, “The initiative of Living Roots speaks to the renewal of the land, which was turned from a dumping site to now functioning Living Roots, and to the renewal of formerly homeless people and their livelihood.”

Living Roots sales assistant Dimitri Cupido said, “Living Roots has given us a new beginning, from here we will grow and remain renewed.”

Ms Myataza-Mzantsi said Living Roots was raising funds to build a learning centre that would promote habitat conservation throughout Cape Town’s increasingly urbanising landscape.

At the launch, Living Roots sold plants, soil and compost. There were also various food trucks, including a U-turn coffee station, as well as a jumping castle, face painting, pot-plant painting and an Easter egg hunt for the children. – Lizahn Bowers, The Southern Suburbs Tatler

Originally published in The Southern Suburbs Tatler on 20 April 2023

Photo: Living Roots