Practicing Resurrection on the streets of Cape Town


“Practice resurrection” are the last words of Wendell Berry’s 1973 poem – Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
that we printed in our last bulletin. Practice resurrection is the most beautiful and subversive invitation. Who would have thought that resurrection could be practiced? And who would have thought that each of us could make this our practice? What is it? What does it look like?

One wonder-filled example of practicing resurrection is the Streetscapes Roeland Street Garden. Some of you will remember the vacant lot alongside the parking of Fruit and Veg in Roeland Street. For years and years it was littered with rubbish, strewn with broken glass and was often the scene of drunken brawls. Today it is an abundance of nourishing food, life-giving community and dignified employment. And their resurrection practice is also green – duh. See their Green Revolution below.

The 350 square meters of land produces locally organic, affordable food for the residents in the city. It is actually one of 3 garden projects currently run by Streetscapes which started a work-based approach to wholistically address issues of unemployment, homelessness and reintegrating people fresh out of prison. They work closely with the police and the magistrates court to help petty offenders get a second chance working in vegetable gardens. In total they have created around 600 jobs.


According to their website: 77% of participants in the project have since moved off the streets thanks to the income they earn from the project. 68% of the participants have addressed their substance abuse issues in a very positive way… Work provides income, dignity and cross-race cross-class contacts – beyond their immediate community. Big part of poverty is lack of social networks needed for navigating out of poverty. Streetscapes demonstrates that people living on the streets are highly motivated to work and rebuild their lives.

Streetscapes, Khulisa’s flagship programme, provides a model for sustainable urban regeneration and addresses the neglected needs of this very vulnerable population. Departing from typical emergency relief type of services for the homeless, Streetscapes is structured to address their multi-dimensional needs. The ten project sites combined support employment, psychosocial support and a ‘housing first’ type of accommodation.

As long as poverty, injustice & inequality persist, none of us can truly rest. It doesn’t take much to change a life. Get in touch today and start making the difference.

Impact over the past 6 months:

  • Daily attendance 84%
  • 47% move off the streets in 3 months, 79% in 6 months
  • 110 full time participants, all previously chronic homeless
  • 87% have chosen to participate in substance recovery programme
  • 100% have received IDs and bank accounts
  • 100% have done primary health assessments and either have no health issues or are in treatment
  • Earned income for each participant R 2300 R 3500 per month.

At Streetscapes, we’re all about being green in more ways than one. Our organic veggies and fruits are grown without pesticides, and we produce our own seedlings, compost, and fertilizer made from chicken manure. Plus, we’ve got South Africa’s first off-grid laundromat, which is both eco-friendly and affordable at just R20 per kilogram.

Our water treatment and recycling system, expertly designed by our Swiss university partner ZHAW, is solar-powered and tested twice daily to ensure safety. And, with our naturally eco-friendly washing detergents and soaps, we’re doing our part to protect the planet.

We’re not just growing crops, either we’ve also introduced beehives to our project. With 120 000 little farmers buzzing around, we’re producing fresh honey while promoting pollination. And, with the support of experienced beekeepers, we recently landed a spot at the Honey Festival in Paarl.

But we’re not stopping there our latest green endeavour is the development of 28 new homes at Kuils River Farm. Partnering with ‘Natural Homes,’ we’re using net carbon-negative building materials made from alien invasive species. With a 3-hour fire rating and great insulation, these cost-effective slabs are half the weight of conventional concrete.

These two-storey homes will be naturally powered by solar and will use purified well water for drinking, while grey and black water will be treated and recycled for irrigation. With the help of the Stellenbosch University Water Institute team, we’re evaluating the social and environmental impact of the project and hope to replicate our model in housing projects throughout the city. At Streetscapes, we’re proud to be green and we’re just getting started.

From: Streetscapes latest News and Views which you can sign up for and hopefully also donate towards.


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