The poverty, drugs and gangsters that pervades life in Lavender Hill on the sandy Cape Flats has always been at odds with the suburb’s name. A new vision to populate Lavender Hill with lavender hopes to create a social artwork and an urban farm for the production of lavender. Most importantly, the fields of lavender are luring gangers from a life of violence to one filled with hope and new beginnings. On a daily basis the team’s Master Gardener, Vuyesile, is training community members how to plant lavender cuttings at these nurseries.
The lavender cuttings are donated from members of the public who own lavender bushes and want to be a part of this social upliftment project. So far 13 community members have been trained to a point where they are fully qualified to work at the nurseries. 10 of them have gone off to find jobs in related field while 3 have remained to work at the nurseries on a permanent basis. The plants that are grown in the nurseries are planted all across Lavender Hill. They are planted in drug hang out spots or dumping spots to reduce drug use and clean up the area. The Urban farm trains community members to create lavender products. So far they are making lavender tea, cooking herb, biscuits, sachets and oils. These products are sold in stores and money goes back to running the project, planting more gardens and employing more people. Thus, it becomes a sustainable project. Everyone agreed the place needed to be cleaned up and to look pretty, so it was decided that gardens would be made in a bid to grow a new Lavender Hill. The vision was to grow lavender gardens all over as there was no lavender in Lavender Hill. The community wanted to beautify the area and take ownership of the land from the gangs.
Rodeo – Real or Roque?
When one thinks of rodeo, an image of hardened cowboys on a dusty US cattle ranch comes to mind, but the activity is steadily gaining popularity among men and women in South Africa – and participants would like to see it become a professionally organised and recognised sport in the country. Until recently, bull-riding competitions have been organised as a side-event at agricultural shows, but Professional Rodeo Associations, would like to change this. The sport has its origins in Spain. Rodeo, which means “round up” in Spanish, refers to Spanish ranchers living in the US and their Mexican ranch hands who incorporated rodeo into their daily cattle-wrangling activities. During the allocated time of eight seconds, both the rider and bull are judged on overall appearance and posture. The bull receives points for the way it bucks or kicks, with a strong performance and forceful kicks gaining a higher score. The rider has to ride the bull with his or her left hand raised at all times. Riders are judged not only on overall stance and ability to stay on, but also on respect shown to the animal. Bulls known as more temperamental cattle breeds, are the most commonly used for rodeo in South Africa. According to a rodeo participant, “Basically any bull with an attitude”.
The events apparently comply with the official rules emanating from the US, which are in place to ensure a safe experience for animals and riders. Participants claim to be animal-lovers by nature. BUT… The NSPCA is of the firm opinion that rodeo is reckless, cruel and endangers animals – even without the equipment customarily used on the animals to make or encourage them to buck. Last year a furore erupted when the NSPCA charged the organisers of a North West rodeo with animal cruelty after failing to timeously put down an injured horse. The rider was apparently thrown off the horse, which had a bucking strap attached to it. The strap did not release after the rider’s fall, the horse fell as it bucked around the ring and then broke its leg. The horse had to walk with a broken leg, the bone protruding and the hoof dangling when the apparent course of action should have been put it down immediately. Later in the year, another animal fell victim when a bull broke its rear right leg at an agricultural show in Thabazimbi in Limpopo. This time the animal was put down immediately. With these events brought to 50|50’s attention, we decided to saddle-up and investigate the situation. The investigation left us with many questions hanging in the air so we invited the NSPCA and Rodeo SA into our studio to talk about it face to face.
Villiers and Maurice tackle flower photography. How do you get that creative, in-focus shot of a flower that doesn’t look the same as everyone else’s? We turn on our macro functions in the botanical garden…
Skydive for Rhinos
Faye does her bit for rhino conservation by jumping out of an aeroplane…
A green mamba goes surfing in the ocean and a grey heron body boards on a hippo’s back. A fight or two breaks out – one about water and one in the water!