Posts under ‘Link To The World’

Andrea von Gunten: The True Cost – Fashion Revolution Film Screening Event

Monday, June 29th, 2015

‘We believe in fashion – an industry which values people, the environment, creativity and profits in equal measure, and it’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure that this happens’  – Fashion Revolution

On the 29 May 2015 I attended the screening of The True Cost – Fashion Revolution Film along with a few other MESA Regional Semi-finalists, at the Labia Theatre in Cape Town. It was an eye opening film into the world of the fashion industry and I don’t believe that any person walked out of that theatre not feeling deeply moved by the film.

The True Cost is a documentary film about the impact of fashion on people and the planet. It is filmed in countries all over the world, from the very posh runways to the darkest slums, featuring interviews with the world’s leading influencers such as Stella McCartney, Livia Firth and Vandana Shiva. The film invites us into the lives of the many people and places behind our clothes.

Andrew Morgan, the film maker, set off on a journey around the world’s clothing factories and cotton farms to find answers to his questions. It all started when he became shocked to hear about the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013, leaving 1134 garment workers dead. These workers were mainly women who made clothes for brands he wore.

We need to become a society that asks questions instead of just accepting things as is. Designer Eileen Fisher, speaks out about the role everyone plays in creating a sustainable fashion industry. She stated that it is not only the fashion companies that need to change, but we need consumers to change their mind-set about clothing. ‘We are ALL in this together’. It starts by asking the questions: What are you buying? Why are you buying it? Where did it come from? By answering these questions, we will become more informed as consumers which will lead to more informed better decision making.

A BIG thank you to Denicke Cronje, fellow Western Cape Regional Semi-Finalist, for organising this event for us!

Nombuso Mnikathi: Africa Day after Xenophobia unrest

Friday, June 19th, 2015

This years theme for Africa Day is ”We Are Africa – Opening the doors of learning and culture from Cape to Cairo”.  This is a declaration and celebratory statement of pride also a call to action for individuals and groups from all backgrounds and walks of life to join the movement for change.  Africa Day presents an opportunity for South Africans to reconnect and recommit themselves in support of all government interventions to develop a better Africa and a better world.

It also acknowledges the progress that we, as Africans, have made, while reflecting upon the common challenges we face in a global environment, and brings together the continent to collectively address the challenges it has faced, such as armed conflict, climate change, and poverty.

Earlier this year, however, a string of deadly Xenophobic attacks shook the streets of South Africa, resulting in hundreds of displaced foreigners finding shelter in makeshift refugee camps, while thousands more returned to the native countries. This after angry mobs in various townships in Durban vandalized foreign owned (spaza shops) businesses, looting and settling alight dozens.

Africa has faced greater challenges than the issues that triggered these senseless xenophobic attacks. Though inequality, lack of job opportunities and distribution of resources are evidently serious concerns for the continent, killing one another is not the answer!  The existence of the OAU (African Union) indeed plays a vital role driving the process of unity and solidarity, in the quest for social, economic and sustainable development for all African countries.  Now more than ever, drastic measures need to be taken by the leaders of our respective countries, to dowse out the flames of turmoil that threatens to suffocate the future of our beloved Africa.

We have so much to be proud of and to celebrate, Africa has taken great strides even in the global economy; we cannot afford to take 10 steps back because of futile behaviour of a small minority.  We Are Africa – We Are One.


Rumbi Zindi: Ten Rooms Water Project

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Ten Rooms is an informal settlement situated in the heart of Harties. With a population of 500 people from different African walks of life living in an environment which has no running water or electricity. So many of these people work hard or go to school in our local community. I believe every South African; every human being living in ten rooms deserves the basic right, the basic privilege of clean, safe running water!

We can all list countless social issues in not only South Africa but specifically in Harties. But I’ve decided to shift my way of thinking- stop complaining and start being a part of the change I want to see! As a community I believe we should come together and make our Harties a home for everyone who visits and lives here.


1.       Water pipe installation

Municipality of Madibeng has sponsored a diesel pump and 2 jojo tanks

2.       African Dancing

We all know of the impact the xenophobic attacks have had on the image of South Africa. 10 Rooms has South African, Zimbabwean and Malawian women who would love to entertain us all through traditional dancing and contribute with the reformation of South Africa through dance and cultural diversity.

The event was a huge success and I have stepped out my comfort zone and ready to tackle more social issues in my community! Thank you Hartebeespoortdam community for being so supportive in my Miss Earth South Africa Journey!


Celetia Reinders: World Environment Day 2015 Celebrations

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

“There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth- we are all crew.” – Marshall McLuhan

On Friday 5th June, I had the  privilege of celebrating WED 2015 in style with some of South Africa’s most influential and inspirational people. Monte Casino Tsogo Sun welcomed us with open arms- and champagne and canapes! Thank you for making us all feel green and glam.

The evening was opened with a most educational speech by Catherine Constantinides. Ella Bella then taught us how to look through “green glasses” and make more eco-friendly choices. Cecilia Njenga of United Nations Environment Programme, had us on the edge of our seats with her environmental knowledge.  The guests also included members from UNEP, Lead SA and Mr Yusuf Abramjee, the Miss Earth South Africa family and many other change agents.

The theme for World Environment Day 2015 is how the well-being of humanity, the environment and economies ultimately depends on the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources. “Evidence is building that people are consuming far more natural resources than what the planet can sustainably provide.”

What an unforgettable evening! I will definitely be even more eco-conscious from now on. It was an amazing privilege to be invited to such an amazing event.


Andrea von Gunten: Reaching out to the children of St Francis in the Eastern Cape

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

It is great to work for an organisation such as the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW), which aligns with the same key values and pillars as the Miss Earth South Africa organisation. Through our work we ensure that there is an educational element that comes through in what we do. As quoted from Catherine Constantinides: ”Our children are our greatest investment as we move forward through time. There is no worthier cause than the care of the future generations”.

On the 13th June 2015, we ran an environmental education programme for a group of children in the small town of St Francis. Departing from Cape Town on a 2 week trek, we left our first stop over in George on the Garden Route and made our way to the small coastal town of St Francis in the Eastern Cape. Here we would conduct our planning meeting with our St Francis volunteer group, do a fieldtrip with them as well as some community outreach with the children of St Francis. CREW believes in environmental education as this is the foundation of instilling a sense of responsibility towards the environment from within these children. So when the opportunity arises, we take it with open arms.

We spent a lovely morning on the beach side with 22 children from the less fortunate area of St Francis. Collaborating with the St Francis CREW volunteer group, we made the day a great success. On arrival we did a fun introductory game where each child introduced themselves, told us their favourite animal along with mimicking the sound that the animal makes. This was followed by a game of soccer on the beach. We then divided into groups and conducted a BIOBLITZ which is when you go into the field and take photos of as many living natural organisms as possible, being flora and fauna. The children were given the opportunity to use a camera, which some had never used before, taking photos of flowers, insects, birds, rocky shore animals and other fun things. On the walk back to the Eco Centre we taught the children about taking care of our environment as we picked up all the litter lying around in the natural veld of beautiful Strandveld vegetation. We then uploaded these photos on the laptop and each group could see the photos they had taken that morning. It is a rewarding and proud moment for the children as they get to show off their photographs to the rest of the group.

The next session included a fun ‘build your own plant’ activity where the children divided into groups again and got creative as they designed and built their own plants. We ended off the day by providing the children with lunch before they headed back home. It was quite sad to see how hungry they were as for most of them it was their first meal for the day, not having breakfast that morning.

Being able to interact and spend time with these children and seeing the enjoyment on their faces made the morning all the more worthwhile. Even though we were on a work trip, we took the opportunity to stop what we were doing and made the effort to make a difference in the lives of 22 children from St Francis. A great collaboration between the Miss Earth South Africa Semi-Finalist (myself), CREW and the volunteers of St Francis.

Andrea von Gunten: A day in the life of the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) team

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

On the 10th June 2015, the CREW team, as we like to call ourselves, set off on a two week trip across South Africa. Well just about. This very important trip would include planning meetings with three volunteer groups in George, St Francis and Port Elizabeth, fieldtrips with these volunteer groups, an environmental education programme with a group of children in St Francis and then ending off in Durban for our Annual CREW Strategic Planning Session.

What is CREW?

CREW, the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers, is a programme that involves volunteers from the public in the monitoring and conservation of South Africa’s threatened plants. In doing so, CREW aims to capacitate a network of volunteers from a range of socio-economic backgrounds. The programme links volunteers with their local conservation agencies and particularly with local land stewardship initiatives to ensure the conservation of key sites for threatened plant species.

Why is CREW so important?

South Africa has a significant number of the world’s plant species and is the only country with its own plant kingdom and 3 of the world’s Biodiversity Hotspots. Of the 20 456 plant species in South Africa, 2577 (13%) are threatened with extinction and a further 2232 (11%) are considered near threatened, data deficient or rare endemics.

This means that 1 in 4 of South Africa’s plants is rare or threatened. For most of these species there is no recent information about how the populations are doing in the wild. As a country we urgently need to keep track of our plants so that we know how to conserve the unique diversity that we have. Information collected by CREW volunteers helps prioritise which species are in need of conservation attention. CREW data is also used during the EIA process to influence development decisions and is used in fine scale conservation plans which help municipalities determine which areas should be allocated to conservation in their integrated and spatial development frameworks.

Our trip started off on a high note as we discovered 8 special species all with a red list status and endemic to ONE locality in the WORLD. Some of these species have one or two populations left in the wild and it is of utmost importance that we try our best to ensure their existence. Extinction is occurring at an alarming rate all over the world as we lose species to land degradation, habitat loss, climate change, deforestation, agriculture and the list goes on. Some of the important work we do with CREW includes: Surveying remaining patches of natural area for threatened plant populations, actively adopting key sites for conservation of threatened plants, working with landowners, demographic monitoring of certain populations on an annual basis and conducting awareness activities with the youth in different areas or communities.

I feel privileged to be part of such a dynamic and passionate team, that is CREW. We are all working towards the same goal and that being the preservation of our natural environment. Conservation is just one aspect of this goal and it is something that is very close to my heart. Having studied a BTECH in Nature Conservation, I have made it my life goal to protect and conserve our remaining biodiversity in whichever way I can as well as creating awareness through being a role model to the people around me. I feel it is so important for us as Miss Earth SA Ambassadors to integrate our work with our MESA green journey and to form partnerships with organisations striving towards the same goal. Working in the conservation field I aim to shed light on conservation issues that really matter by using the Miss Earth South Africa programme as a platform to do so. My CREW team has been so supportive of my green journey thus far and I want to thank them for their continued support.

Nthabiseng Tsoamotse: Waste management and Recycling project at Poseidon Primary

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

A good Friday morning the 22 May 15 and we are celebrating International Day of Biological Diversity, with this year’s theme been “Biodiversity for Sustainable Development’. The purpose of the celebration is to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues, which was a perfect day to start my Waste Management and Recycling Project!

The strategy for the day was involving and working with the school’s prefects and Soul Buddyz memebers, the principal, deputies and some educators, Heavens Way NPO, Pikitup, and the caretakers and the feeeding scheme ladies of the school and we had special visitors from Gauteng Province Dept. of Agriculture.

My plan was a short theory of facts and need of the projects and informed everyone about MESA’s mission and vision and what basically are we about and do. I literally  made sure the learners were as practical as possible for they needed to understand the impact they have as leaders of the school and how the rest can learn from them.

Honestly speaking, I appreciated the involvement of the learners especially with the condition they face at the school. There was lots of fun, laughter, selfies, and great teamwork with everyone while most learners were busy screaming at me “Mam, can we have more plastics to clean the classes” or “Ousie Nthabi, can we seperate the leaves from the waste so we can make our own compost for our food garden project”. Gratitude to everyone who laid a helping hand within the project, Green Love!

Celetia Reinders: Lulama Stationery Drive

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

As a future teacher, I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the Lulama Stationery Drive that took place on Thursday 21 May. What a wonderful initiative! It was a lovely day with the Miss Earth South Africa team, the scholars and staff, the sponsors and the lovely sunshine.

It’s wonderful to see how passionate people are about education. These youngsters are tomorrow’s leaders! It’s important to realize that a pen in the hand of a child, is to create a thousand possibilities. Another BIG thank you to each and every sponsor. This was truly a special day which I will always remember.

“If we give children stationery, they can draw a thousand dreams.” – Catherine Constantinides

Anushka Kapp – Tree planting Northridge Primary school

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

From a Marimba band to poems we did it all on the tree planting day at Northridge primary school.  Northridge Primary school has recently started an eco club where the children get involved and make their own environmental projects.  I had the privilege hosting a tree planting day with them to do there first ever tree planting project.  It was an all out celebration.  Kids reciting their environmental poems, my Sponsor Deon van Rensburg who sponsored the trees for the day spoke about the different indigenous trees we planted. I got the privilege to talk to these children about the environment, the importance of the trees and the impact recycling paper has on our environment.  We had a big media company CEO come and dirty his hands with the kids as well as singers who joined in the fun.  I am so proud to see so many kids at such a young age wanting to learn more about the environment and wanting to be the change in the world.  These children are our leaders of tomorrow and if they are already so passionate about preserving our environment, I can not wait to see the impact they will make with this growing flame.

Anushka Kapp – Tree Planting and Waist Education Die Poort Primary

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Tree planting and Waist education at Die Poort Primary school.  Had the opportunity to talk and work with 150 kids.  From saving a tree to planting a tree.  It was challenging due to the big group and needing to divide them so everyone gets the opportunity to help plant the trees. With the help of my sponsor Deon van Rensburg from Bosveld Kwekery who sponsored the trees for this project, also came to talk to the kids about the different indigenous trees we planted. Deon helped the children plant the trees with Anele Jansen van Rensburg a current Mrs. South Africa finalist.  After all the trees were planted we had recess with the kids.  We sat down with them talking to them and getting to know them, talking about my green journey and what they learned that day.  One of the teachers asked me what my goals are with going to schools and getting the kids to help plant the trees, and I realised how my enthusiasm for environmental education has grown and how a passion has caught fire.

When we work with the kids and talk to them about the environment, the importance of preserving it and how to help grow it becomes essential.  We plant a seed in them and the younger they are when we expose them to this knowledge the longer it has to grow with them.  So when they grow into the leaders of tomorrow the passion and love for the environment will grow with them, so they will want to pass on the knowledge to the generations to come and lead with the need to preserve the environment.  Making the leaders of tomorrow, lead a nation to a greener future.