Thursday, April 28, 2011

Have a lovely lavender filled day

Today was our first day of planting our lavender cuttings at the Zerilda Park Primary School. Our master gardener Vuyesile, taught us all how to take the cutting, trim its leaves, dip it in root growth and plant it properly .Vuyesile really loves his plants

We will be collecting much more cuttings to plant and our little nursery will be filling up quickly.

If you would like to help, we are looking for any planting trays, old yogurt cups or small tins to plant these cuttings in.

We also need to construct a shelving system to stack all our cutting trays (as there will be so many). This gives us more space to plant but also gives the cuttings proper shade which speeds up the growing process. If you have any old wooden planks/pieces or any fiberglass/plastic sheets that you are not using anymore and would like to donate to us, please contact me.

Please see our new Facebook Page on!/pages/Lavender-in-Lavender-Hill/197602146941607 to stay up to date with our project.

Please contact me if you can help with any of the above or know of contacts that could help us.

Have a lovely lavender filled day.

Next Friday CNN will be filming us and we hope to introduce a lavender planting party. we would like a massive crowd there so if you want to join the party call for directions and join us there.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lavender forever and some other things

The Lavender project has taken off like a rocketship and this has inspired many people to give cuttings and money for plants. Keep them coming. It only costs R2 for a plug which we can buy from a nursery so i will launch the R2 plug campaign sometime. Vuyisile has set up a lavender growing facility aka nursery at one of the Lavender Hill primary schools and i hope to involve as many kids as possible. Cuttings are going full steam and its amazing how many cuttings you can get from one bush. Literally hundreds. The land is also good to go. I am feeling very confident about this project as it has all the right ingredients of a great venture. I can see the lavender farm with all the colours and the rows already and know that everyone will be inspired. Marcelle my project manager is also excited to learn and grow and i truly beleive that great young people like her are going to make a great difference in this country one day. Mostly because we need to harness this enthusiasm and creativity of the youth to try new things and make them happen. I just came back from London and the youth are just so much more advanced there in terms of their outlook of life. Entering the TATE museum you see thousands of young faces interactinh with Miro and Picasso and you have to beleive that this makes a difference in the creativity and open mindedness of Europes youth as well as innovation. we want south african youth to be innovative and come up with new ideas for business and art but if they havent seen anything then how do they do this? My mission in life is to inspire young, no all people to be innovative everyday so life become a piece of art and you can all be part of making something happen.
I met the Supporters direct people, a guy called James ( remember the soccer idea in month 2) and there is defintely a way forward here now. He explained that i should do a type of barometer of all the clubs in South Africa based on shareholding, financial position, constitutions, if shares are available, governance, sustainability, and any social impact. This would be the start of the initiative as it will give a direct indication of where soccer really is in SA for the public at large. There are some big things on the horizon for me re: innovation on a mass public scale which i can only reveal when the contract is signed, however the month is almost up and i have a few options for next month. The first is CT buskers which will formalise busking by having 50 dedicated busker points and buskers will have to audition each year (to get the best and most inspiring) and to promote the city as a lively destination full of art. The second idea is Train Charity which will promote 1 new registered charity per day on the trains in a professional manner that people can trust. The third idea is called Holy Water. I want to get old wine barrels, clean them up, add in tap water, place them in churches of all types, and then sell small vials called holy water after a month or so. This will raise awareness of water as the rare and special resource that we have. Help me choose the idea for May.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lavender Hill the place as descibed on the net

The Cape Flats (Afrikaans: Die Kaapse Vlakte) is an expansive, low-lying, flat area situated to the southeast of the central business district of Cape Town. To most people in Cape Town, the area is known simply as 'The Flats'.

Described by some as 'apartheid's dumping ground', from the 1950s the area became home to people the apartheid government designated as non-White. Race-based legislation such as the Group Areas Act and pass laws either forced non-white people out of more central urban areas designated for white people and into government-built townships in the Flats, or made living in the area illegal, forcing many people designated as Black into informal settlements elsewhere in the Flats. The Flats have since then been home to much of the population of Greater Cape Town.

[edit] Geology and geography

In geological terms, the area is essentially a vast sheet of aeolian sand, ultimately of marine origin, which has blown up from the adjacent beaches over a period on the order of a hundred thousand years. Below the sand, the bedrock is in general the Malmesbury Shale, except on part of the western margin between Zeekoevlei to the south and Claremont and Wetton to the north, where an intrusive mass of Cape Granite is to be found.

To the west the expanse of the Cape Flats is limited by rising ground that slopes up towards the mountainous heights of the Cape Peninsula, while in the east the land rises gradually towards the Hottentots Holland ranges and other elevated regions of the interior of the Boland.

Most of the sand is unconsolidated; however, in some places near the False Bay coast the oldest sand dunes have been cemented into a soft sandstone. These formations contain important fossils of animals such as the extinct Cape lion and also provide evidence that stone-age people hunted here tens of thousands of years ago.

The area has a Mediterranean climate, with warm dry summers and cool, damp winters. It is generally exposed to the wind, both from the NW (winter) and SE (summer). Flooding can be a problem, especially in July and August. Cold wet spells, especially in August and September, can make life very difficult for those living in sub-standard housing.
[edit] History

During the second half of the 19th century, the area was completely overrun by alien vegetation, mainly of Australian origin (Stirton, 1978). The plants included hakeas and especially wattles (genus Acacia). The principal reason for this infestation lay in decisions made by the colonial authorities. It was an era before the advent of modern technological methods for the construction of permanent roads and in those days the Cape Flats was a massive sea of unstabilized sand dunes that moved at will before the winds. This made travel between Cape Town and the interior very difficult, particularly for the large ox-drawn wagons of the time. The authorities decided to try to stabilize the sand with plants native to the British colonies of New South Wales and Western Australia.

The earliest importation of wattles was in 1827. Massive plantings were established in the 1840s and 1850s and the work continued until well after 1875.

At the time, the plan worked well enough: the march of the dunes was arrested. The price paid, in ecological terms, was that the Cape Flats was carpeted by invasive species. Serious efforts have in recent years been made to roll back this alien scourge.

The Cape Flats has undergone revolutionary change in the past half a century. In 1950 the area was practically uninhabited. There was a single, narrow road across the Flats from Cape Town to The Strand that ran between walls of alien rooikrans bushes and one could travel for miles without seeing any sign of habitation other that a few fences and a handful of farmhouses. Native antelope roamed at will between the dense thickets of wattles. The army used the area for military exercises and the few farmers who inhabited the Flats eked out a living by growing vegetables in pockets of relatively poor soil between the barren dunes. Modern amenities were unknown; there were no telephones, drinking water was collected in tanks from roofs and at night the rooms were lit by oil lamps.

The era of sand and antelopes vanished completely in little more than a generation. Vegetable farming persisted but to a much lesser extent, because urbanization enveloped vast tracts of land in short order. During the apartheid era large housing projects were built here, mostly as part of the Nationalist government's larger effort to force the so-called Coloured community out of the central and western areas of Cape Town, which the political theorists of the day had designated as whites-only areas. This meant that only whites could reside there permanently. People of colour could work in the city but could not live there. Additionally, other large townships of black people (e.g., Khayelitsha and Gugulethu) grew up on the flats as a product of both informal settlement and forced government relocations. Since many Xhosa people of the region—including people born and raised in the Cape Town area—were designated under apartheid as residents of Bantustans, many were obliged to live in the area illegally, further contributing to the growth of informal settlements. These consisted in the main of shacks made of 'tin' (in reality corrugated iron), cardboard and wood.

Since the end of apartheid, these communities are no longer legally bound by racial restrictions but history, language, economics and ethnic politics still contribute to homogeneity of local areas. So, for example, most residents of Mitchell's Plain likely still speak a locally-inflected version of Afrikaans, along with English and either they or their parents were designated as Coloured by apartheid; most residents of Khayelitsha still speak Xhosa and English and either they or their parents were designated as Black by apartheid. Nonetheless, some areas of the Cape Flats have an increasing diversity of residents, with Xhosa-speaking people an increasingly noticeable presence in some previously mainly Afrikaans-speaking areas.

The Cape Flats is home to a remarkable cultural history.

Its music spans from the serious-minded jazz of Abdullah Ibrahim and Basil Coetzee and their anthem 'Mannenberg' (named after a Cape Flats township), to the bubbly pop hits of Brenda Fassie; and continues in a new hip-hop movement (e.g., [1], [2]).

Its religious communities include (to name only a few), Afrikaans-speaking congregations of the Dutch Reformed Church, Rastafarian communities, people who engage only in traditional Xhosa practices, syncretic Xhosa Christian churches, evangelical Christian churches, and southern Africa's largest Muslim community (drawing its oldest roots from the historic Cape Muslim community, which dates back to the 17th century).

Its political history is complex and sometimes baffling even to insiders: for instance, the politics of the Coloured communities of the Cape Flats have included Trotskyist activism in earlier years, and mobilization for the United Democratic Front in the 80s; and then, widespread support for the historically white National Party (which had presided over apartheid) in the early post-apartheid elections. More recently, the area has seen an expansion of African National Congress strength from its base in the black townships and into historically Coloured areas[citation needed], as well as a particularly strong local growth of left-wing social movements like the Treatment Action Campaign which offer a critique of government policies[citation needed]. Sometimes violent Islamist movements have emerged from Cape Flats communities [3], along with other notable figures within the Muslim community, such as Fareed Ishaq, who embody an ecumenical strain of religious progressivism.

Almost all of the communities of the Cape Flats remain, to one degree or another, poverty stricken. Serious social problems include a high rate of unemployment and disturbing levels of gang activity. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, there was significant armed conflict between various gangs and PAGAD (People Against Gangsterism and Drugs), a vigilante organization.

A wide range of community empowerment organizations work non-violently to combat poverty, crime and health problems and the role of civil society in many parts of the area is relatively strong.

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Since the call for Lavender plants i still need to find out why this place was first called Lavender Hill??? Any theories? many people are still calling me everyday for plants and donations....keep them coming people. I have a small team of 3 people and we will start cuttings of the slippers next week. Thereafter we will propagate and then plant a beautifull lavender farm. Remember i want it to be real social art not mereely another project. I will introduce the team on Friday. I am reminded of my friend Mark's story of Ama the hugging lady in India. She started just by giving hugs and the rest is history. The giving of plants seems to evoke the same reaction in people. Vuyisile gave me his theory on humans and plants and i must say i agree with him. The plants and the people are interconnected. I have also had people tell me their stories of other people around the world doing urban farms ( see TED), and biblical stories of lavender. I am excited bacuase ventures like this excite so much more than politics do with the local elections coming up. i still wish that politicians could do small practical projects with grand visions that could potentially create work and new opportunity where it matters. In all the Lavender Hills of the country.

Friday, April 8, 2011

an explosion of lavender

Wow, I havent seen such as amazing reaction like this to an idea for quite some time. I wrote a simple email wanting cuttings and R20 donation for a plant. Within 3 minutes John Maytham from Cape Talk had me on the line explaining the idea. Within 3 hours after that interview i have pledges of over 100,000 cuttings at least and R50,000 worth of donations. A great an innovative idea has to resonate with people on the deepest level firstly and plants certainly do that. I suppose we are all more deeply connected to nature than i thought. also the idea resonates becauses its simple and micro, meaning asking for micro amounts like R20 or cuttings, so everyone can be involved no matter how small. I have the people, I have the great idea now i will cut, plant and process and create an amazing urban farm. The Lavender Hill community will look and smell different and i pray the Lavender helps the community into a new space of calm and peace. This can only happen if 1,000,000 plants are planted ( a mass effect) so help me do it. Join the Lavender farm in Lavender Hill even if its just for your cuttings

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Urban Lavender Farm in Lavender Hill

OK, OK, I have been shocking at this blog stuff. But I have a ,massively busy life. have made a decison as to the new venture i will tackle of the next month or so. There is a young student who asked me to help him. he is from Lavender Hill, the gangland area near muizenberg which is seen as part of the cape Flats a dry, windy sort of desolate space. I immediately asked him if there was any lavender in lavender Hill. what he said...never heard of the stuff. no lavender in lavender Hill, this sounds like my kinda opportunity. the plan is to plant 1,000,000 lavender plants in lavender hill. The point is to develop an urban farm. Instead of the wasteland the amazing colours of rows of lavender will be seen by the world, lavender will calm the area down and jobs will be created via the growing and processing of the lavender. This will be a business but it will also be an attempt at social art, and social activism. Can nature overpower evil into good just by being present. I think so. So I need to collect lavender cuttings from JOE PUBLIC....thats you mense. Call me or send me a mail, send to a friend, and i will come and take cuttings from your lavender plant or you can deliver to me. My own plants have contributed 100 cuttings....only 900,000 cuttings to go.