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August 2017

Celebrating Women’s Month
Women as role players & guardians of food knowledge - A study of our Mandela Peace Park Pensioners Garden

The Mandela Peace Park Pensioners Garden is adjacent to the Centre and is an initiative that provide food security for the local community and is used as a training resource for community greening initiatives.

Olipa Phiri NtawangaOlipa Phiri Ntawanga is a post graduate student in Development Studies at the University of Pretoria since 2015. In addition to her academic research, she works at African Union- NEPAD Agency where she provides technical support on gender mainstreaming and women empowerment in Africa. Olipa currently has a two-year grant from the National Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Social life of Waste Art Network based which is supporting her ethnographic research on the interface between ecology, urban agriculture and gender at the senior citizens’ community garden, Walter Sisulu Environmental Centre.

Her thesis is titled; “The rhythms of the Garden: Contested development and Permaculture as an urban food production strategy in Pretoria/Tshwane”.


Fortunate Machaba – a former programme beneficiary

Fortunate MachabaWe recently caught up with Fortunate (Thabang) Machaba, a former member of our Environmental Youth Clubs whilst she was in Grade 11 in 2013. At the time she was involved in community projects such as waste management, school greening, river clean-ups and eco- activism to educate people in Mamelodi about the need to take care of the environment.

We’re thrilled to have had some influence in her life… in her own words “those projects I participated in back then had a huge impact in my life and still does. Today I'm an independent community journalist at Mamelodi Happenings, I have my own publication and I volunteer at Mamelodi FM, the community radio station. The Centre has helped me to grow, to care about my surroundings and helped to make others aware of it too”

Follow her blog for the hottest community news from Mamelodi.

Environmental Quiz 2017
An annual event with Grade 10 and 11 learners

Annually Grade 10 and 11 learners from Life Sciences from all the schools in Mamelodi are invited to enter a team of four learners for our Environmental Quiz. On 27 May fifteen (15) teams of four learners each competed in the Environmental Quiz on Biodiversity. Congratulations to the winning team from Phateng Secondary School.

Environmental Quiz

Quiz Winners visit the Cradle of Humankind
by Rofhiwa Ligudu

We were fortunate to undertake a trip to Sterkfontein Caves and Maropeng, the Cradle of Mankind as winners of the 2017 WSEC Environmental Quiz. We visited the Sterkfontein exhibition where we saw displays of the evolution of humankind and of our planet. We were able to learn about early life forms, fossils, and the discovery of Mrs. Ples, Little Foot and the Taung Child. We descended into the Sterkfontein caves where we saw the different types of geological formations, minerals, and the many fossils that scientists discovered.

Our next stop was Maropeng where we visited the Tumulus building and went on the boat ride taking us through all the different elements that formed our planet starting from present time back through time from the ice age, when the earth was covered in water, formation of tectonic plates, and finally when our planet was formed; the big bang represented by fire.

The learners had a great time but above all the trip to the cradle of humankind made them realise how connected we all are through those that came before us.

Environmental Quiz Winners

2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development #IY2017
By Judith Malatji

Declared by the United Nations, 2017 is International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

In support of this theme, a four day programme was presented to our WSEC youth clubs during the school holidays. Part of the program was a tour through Mamelodi to showcase the humbling beginnings of the township and to highlight its rich history and important which included some of the following:

  • Solomon Mahlangu Freedom Square where 13 protestors were killed in 1985, referred to as the Mamelodi Massacre;
  • Eerste Fabrieke Station – originally a beer brewery and later changed to a railway station;
  • Dr Nico Smith house – an Afrikaner minister and opponent of apartheid that settled in Mamelodi to live with the impoverished and segregated community;
  • Dr Fabian Ribeiro House - A professional medical doctor who secretly made a number of videotapes illustrating the plight of non-white South Africans under apartheid and relocated to Mamelodi in 1961 to provide primary healthcare in the community.
  • Mamelodi Cemetery - Most of the heroes and legends who lost their lives fighting for freedom are laid to rest here;
  • Mamelodi Rondavels – Bishop Desmond Tutu and others went to school here.

The tour was very educational as Mamelodi has a lot of interesting history. The learners enjoyed the tour and it stimulated interest in our tourism sector to local cultural and natural heritage sites in Mamelodi for members from our Youth Clubs.

After being introduced to their local cultural and natural heritage the learners spent a whole morning painting their experiences and then another morning was spent sharing their paintings and impressions of the week. Children came forward with the most profound interpretations, communicating the appreciation of their heritage.

Sustainable Tourism

Roodeplaat Dam working group
Rehabilitation of Roodeplaat Dam

Rehabilitation of Roodeplaat DamTalmar Sustainable Developments has been appointed by Rand Merchant Bank to develop a strategy for the rehabilitation of the Roodeplaat Dam, located just to the north of Mamelodi. The dam is currently in a substandard state of health as a result of the cumulative impacts of environmentally harmful activities undertaken by multiple stakeholders in the area.

Rand Merchant Bank hosted a workshop at our Centre with stakeholders to discuss the current status of the dam, and to kick-off the strategy development process.

Indigenous gardens and school greening
Increasing biodiversity

We assist schools to plant indigenous gardens, to increase biodiversity in our school environments. Our latest garden, which was planted at Nellmapius Primary School in 2016 is coming on well.

School Greening 2017

Mandela Day with Sage Foundation
Increasing biodiversity

On 26 July volunteers from the Sage Foundation and personnel from our Centre came together to create a food garden at Mahube Valley Primary School as part of our annual Mandela Day Project. The school is a long-term partner of our Centre with an active WSEC Environmental Youth Club that undertakes various activities at school. Phase 1 of the project included the completion of the garden infrastructure (relaying of water, fencing, prepping and edging of beds with recycled 2L bottles to prevent soil erosion) and will be followed by a planting event during Arbor Week in September. Once completed the food garden will support the school’s soup kitchen with fresh veggies straight from the garden.

Mandelay Day 2017

In this newsletter

Celebrating Women’s Month
Environmental Quiz 2017
Quiz Winners visit the Cradle of Humankind
2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development #IY2017
Roodeplaat Dam working group
Indigenous gardens and school greening
Mandela Day with Sage Foundation

What we do

Environmental Education
We deliver CAPS aligned environmental education that supports the STEM initiative from government.

School Programs
Annually we host over 10 000 learners from Southern Tshwane in four main themed rooms covering the environmental awareness areas of water, biodiversity, waste and energy, as well as in the living classroom garden.

School Holiday Programs
We host environmental holiday programs for learners living with disability as well as orphaned and vulnerable children within the Southern Tshwane community.

Greening Mamelodi
To raise awareness in the community and transfer knowledge we operate the greening program and donate trees and plants to community centres, schools, clinics and parks.


Sep 01 - 07: National Arbor Week
Sep 22: World Rhino Day
Oct 02: World Habitat Day
Oct 04: World Animal Day
Oct 16: World Food Day
Oct 12 – 18: National Marine Week
Oct 27 – 30: Weedbuster Week
Dec 05: World Soil Day

#servetheearth #savethedate

Get involved

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WSEC Programmes

Our aim is to be a leading environmental education and resource centre that demonstrates models of best practice within the community and creates champions for a sustainable future.