18 July 2023
Personal accounts from three of our team members across the regions, based on our 2023 Mandela Day activities:
Bartho Vogel, Partnerships & Integrations Manager – AgriCarbon
Today CNG-SA Johannesburg office spent our 67min making sandwiches for the Ladies of Love campaign. Ladies of Love is about more than merely providing meals. It’s about dignity, respect, and creating the kind of world we all want to live in.
Being part of the Mandela day gives me hope for our world. It shows you that people from different backgrounds can unite for a cause so much bigger than themselves. It may only be 67 minutes out of a year (525 600 minutes) bit the affect it has is so much more.
“It is in your hands, to make a better world for all who live in it” Nelson Mandela
Nonkululeko Hadebe, AgriCarbon Sales Support
On this year’s Mandela Day, our team in Cape Town took the initiative to make a positive impact by organizing a beach clean-up event at the stunning Sea Point promenade. Interestingly, it was also my first time visiting the promenade, and I had heard countless great things about it beforehand. However, as soon as I stepped onto the beach, I was shocked by the overwhelming amount of litter strewn across the shore. As I began the clean-up, a mix of emotions overwhelmed me. I was witnessing the sheer amount of small plastic and Styrofoam pieces scattered across the sand. The most shocking discovery was the careless dumping of needles on the beach. In just one hour, my colleagues and I diligently filled two bags of trash each. However, with 14 of us working together, we quickly realized that our efforts were only a small fraction of what was necessary to make a significant impact.
Though the task of cleaning up proved to be tedious, the satisfaction of leaving the beach cleaner than we found it made every effort worthwhile. After the satisfying clean-up, we took some time to relax and reflect at a charming café on the promenade. Over coffee and a light breakfast, we shared captivating stories of the extraordinary items we had stumbled upon during our mission. From shoes abandoned by careless beach-goers to a fully loaded shopping trolley and even an entire restaurant menu, it was both amusing and disheartening to contemplate how these items ended up polluting the beach. Having previously worked for a hands-on non-profit organization, this Nelson Mandela Day beach clean-up ignited my strong passion to raise awareness and actively contribute to preserving the cleanliness and health of our environment. I believe the main takeaway for me is that together, we can make a difference. Nelson Mandela’s legacy reminded us that even the smallest actions can lead to significant change.
Grant Little, Senior Carbon Developer
The KZN team had explored a few options – and wanted to do something that was aligned with our farmers and in the farming community. Matt had some contacts at the 110 year old Weston Agricultural College on the banks of the Mooi River in the KZN Midlands. The school is a secondary school and educates just short of 200 boys on a 1200 ha operational farm. All the scholars take 2 to 3 pure agricultural subjects as part f their schooling.
The marketing department asked us to address the scholars and share with them an overview of the carbon market, how regenerative agricultural practices can help alleviate the effects of climate change and what job opportunities there are in the field. A 20 minute session gained so much interest and questions from the student body, that it extended to almost an hour, made all the more relevant as a national electricity outage (loadshedding) occurred and no presentations or sound systems could be used.
This followed with an inspection of the monument on the school premises to the 30,000 plus horse and draft animals that perished in the colonial wars of the late 19th and early 20th century, when the site was a British Army staging post and supply depot for animals. The base of the monument is made with horseshoes recovered from mass animal graves that are discovered on the adjacent farmlands. A check that all was in order, a few weeds removed, confirmation that no cleaning or major repairs were required, and a nearby geocache was repaired.
The day ended with the team paying respects to our nations father – Madiba – at the site that he was arrested in 1962 and is celebrated with an exhibition and a walk to an innovative artwork depicting the face of Nelson Mandela after a symbolic “Long walk to freedom” commemorating various milestones in his life.
The day was particularly inspiring to me, as the young men who are all focussed on agriculture through their secondary education, were very engaging and asked some very interesting and insightful questions regarding soil carbon, microbial activity, farming practices, questioning the need for a carbon market from the global north and potential career choices. It left me with hope that these young men were generally aware of regenerative agricultural practices and showed a level of energy to implement these into the future and change from conventional agricultural practices. This was particularly poignant when one considers that the theme for Mandela Day 2023 was, “ The Legacy Lives on Through You: Climate, Food and Solidarity”.