Posts under ‘News’

Mapitso Thaisi ‘ #MySchoolRecycles’ Campaign

Friday, June 26th, 2015

World Environment Day was a busy day for me as a Miss Earth South Africa Regional Semi-Finalist. As I went from one school to the next ‘Greening Young Minds’ through tree planting and waste management education.

At Brandwag Primary School, I was welcomed by a group of 304 learners who waited in the school hall. I had a presentation prepared for them on Miss Earth South Africa and the national projects that we were currently doing at schools to get the learners excited about recycling. Through the preparation of this presenation, I also learnt something new about where our waste goes and shared this information with the learners on landfills and how each day as we throw away more waste, our landfills are actually getting smaller and smaller!


The learners were given an opportunity to share ideas of how we could reduce waste at their school and I was surprised at the intelligent answers these young boys and girls gave. They spoke about having school projects such as competitions where each class should recycle as much paper as possible. Others thought of bringing different dustbins at the school for plastic, paper, cans and glass. These different bins would then be taken to the factories were they would be recycled.


The learners were introduced to a campaign called #MYSCHOOLRECYCLES which I hope to further introduce to other schools in the local Welkom area to get more primary school learners  in a spirit of recycling.











It was a very educational morning with the learners which I thoroughly enjoyed. I am pleased to say that I had a very productive, green National Environment Day !



Green Kisses,

Mapitso Thaisi


Mapitso Thaisi ‘Greening Young Minds’

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

On World Environmental Day, as a Miss Earth Regional Finalist, I had an opportunity of planting ten fruit (peach) trees with 50 Grade 8 and 9 learners from Kutlwanong High School in Odendaalsrus Free State. It was a cold morning, but all of us – the teachers and external stake holders that were present and the learners were excited to celebrate the day and join in on the tree planting.  It was amazing to see how this one event added so much joy to both the learners and the teachers.

  • The learners, staff and stakeholders were given a presentation about Miss Earth South Africa as well as the work the organization does to advocate for sustainable green development.
  • Furthermore , the learners, staff and external stakeholders present were taken through the steps of the tree planting.
  • The learners were then educated on the role trees play in the environment
  • The learners then had an opportunity to name their trees at the end of the tree planting and were assigned the responsibility of watering the trees daily in order to see them grow and be able to enjoy their fruits.The event was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone that came and the trees have now added to the rich green biodiversity at the school. The tree planting has also given the learners precious fruits which they now look forward to with excitement for the coming warmer seasons.

“We as a school commend Miss Earth South Africa for the beautiful work they do, thank you for adding joy and greener energy to our learners and educating us on this special day”  Said the School Principal.

By Mapitso Thaisi : Miss Earth South Africa , Free State Regional Finalist

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.


Jessica Janse Van Rensburg: Animal Anti-Cruelty League collection

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Spending some time in the cat's "Freedom Village" where all the cats are a year old, fixed, vaccinated and ready to go to a loving home!

An overwhelming amount of goods!

A photo of the news paper article which is quoted below.

I love animals and I love this cause. I worked with learners at Mondeor Community School to educate the children about animals. To understand that animals have feelings too, I asked the children to bring whatever kind of donations they could. The response was overwhelming and what I thought would be a small collection turned out to be rather large! There was an article about it in several new papers, twice! The Comaro Chronicle wrote:

“You may as well call her a young woman on a mission. Miss Earth South Africa contestant, Jessica Janse van Rensburg, recently inspired learners at Mondeor Community School to donate food to animals at the Animal Anti-Cruelty League (AACL) in Johannesburg, Regents Park.

The 20-year-old from Aspen Hills Nature Estate has been on a mission to promote unity and harmony in Johannesburg South communities. By the end of her campaign she will have completed a food garden or waste project with a primary school and planted 10 indigenous trees. She will also be taking part in the annual Miss Earth South Africa clean-ups. However, she plans to continue volunteering her time to doing good for others, especially for animals. Jessica, also owner of a number of pets, explained that this is something she will always do because of her love for animals.

“I have always had a passion for animals and I would love to see more people taking the initiative and spending time with animals at facilities like the AACL. I would be happy if I can be the person who helped educate people about the importance of giving because education is important to me; I want to be a teacher.” said Jessica, who is now a third year BA Fine Arts student at Wits.”

The Southern Courier wrote:

“In an effort to entrench the value of giving in Grade 0 learners of Mondeor Community School, a fundraiser was hosted with the help of Miss Earth semi-finalist Jessica Janse van Rensburg. As part of their current theme “Pets”, the learners and Jessica collected pet food, blankets and toys for the Animal Anti Cruelty League. The learners managed to collect two cat litter trays, 40 cans of pet food, two blankets, 11 packets of dry pet food, one feeding bowl, assorted cat toys, cat nip and 12 sachets of pet food.

Jessica said: “The wonderful staff and families of Mondeor Community School helped me collect an overwhelming amount of food, toys and other goods for the Animal Anti-Cruelty League, Johannesburg. It was really wonderful to use this as a learning experience for the children. A huge thanks to everyone at this wonderful little school, especially principal Janine Yoslow Hall.”

“On Tuesday, I collected the goods and paid a visit to the league ,where I was welcomed with open arms. I will still be collecting goods for this cause because, despite this large donation, the animals always need food, blankets and toys,” said Jessica.

Heather Cowie of the Animal Anti Cruelty League said: “Jessica arrived with her mother Janet this morning and we could not believe the size of the donation that spilled out of their car’s boot. Their friends and family had also kindly added contributions, which resulted in our receiving all types of super pet goodies. Big thanks to Jessica, the Mondeor Community School and everyone else concerned, for this wonderful donation. Your support is very much appreciated.”

Thanks to Caxton for the wonderful articles as well as to everyone who donated something to this wonderful organisation that does such amazing work! I am truly blessed to have this kind of support.

It is important to note that without animals, we would not be here. They are a vital part of our life on Earth and we should never forget that or take our animals for granted!

Green hugs! xx


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: Meeting with the Executive Mayor of Tlokwe City Council

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015
“Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.” -Henry Ford
What a pleasant meeting I had with the Executive Mayor of Tlokwe City Council, Cllr. Kgotso Khumalo on Friday 12 June.
As a student at the North-West University of Potchefstroom, it was a tremendous honour to be welcomed into his office.
We spoke about the Miss Earth South Africa Programme and his plans for the community. He is so friendly, approachable and charitable.
He said that he wishes to attend my next project, and appointed me as an ambassador for Potchefstroom.
Nedbank is sponsoring shoes and school clothes for schools in Potchefstroom, and I have been invited me to join in all these initiatives. He has also said that the council fully supports me and is willing to donate or fund me anytime I need it.
I was not expecting this! I was overwhelmed by meeting the honourable Mayor. I feel truly blessed to be appointed as an ambassador for Potchefstroom. Knowing that the noble mayor supports and encourages my participation in the programme is such a big privilege!

Rumbi Zindi: Meeting the Executive Mayor of Madibeng

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Today I had a meeting with the Executive Mayor of Madibeng, we had a discussion about the ongoing protests at Ten Rooms (an informal settlement in Hartebeespoortdam with over 500 residence) the community is protesting due to their current lack of service delivery.

Solution: I have been sponsored with pipes and a diesel pump and with the help of the Madibeng municipality we will provide running water to alleviate their continual struggle for running water!
I’m so excited and can’t wait to open the tap of clean running water for the Ten Room community


Londeka Mahlanza: Greening Hearts and Minds

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

uManagliso Pre-Primary, Khayelitsha

 uMmanagliso Pre-Primary

When I began to think more closely about what it is I wanted to do for my waste management and recycling project, many great ideas came to mind. From showing a ‘journey of litter’ clip, to teaching kids about the 3 R’s (Reduce-Reuse-Recycle) and doing a physical demonstration on how to separate and recycle our litter.

All the above ambitions were however, pushed to a halt when considering the context of the school I intended on approaching with this waste management assembly. As a young woman who grew up in a township, it became clearer to me that waste management in our communities has other urgent concerns than the importance of recycling – as desirable as this action may be.  Waste management in townships is still challenged by irregularity in waste collection and removal by the city; it is challenged by illegal dumping; and further challenged by the present and ongoing littering that takes place on a daily basis.



The Grade R’s at the uMmangaliso Pre-Primary School were an attentive and happy group of learners who seemed excited to have someone besides their own teachers engaging with them for a change. My main aim for the day was to drive home the message of how litter can impact our ecosystems, our health and the beauty of the places we call home. This was done through the story of “Peanut the Turtle”

The learners first sight of Peanut the Turtle.



Peanut the Turtle














“When peanut was born, he got stuck in a six pack plastic ring that had made its way into the ocean. His shell began to grow abnormally because of this plastic ring that he could not shake off.”

The importance of sharing this story was to show the children the negative impacts that throwing plastics, straws and cans into our streets can have. This type of waste can make its way into out drains through winds and rains and eventually be led off into our oceans. Studies have shown how small plastic debris being eaten by fish in the ocean is making its way back onto our plates through the food cycle.

These kind of messages are important for young minds to understand at an early age as they are a crucial part of environmental preservation in all its diversity.

Closing message for grade R’s at uMangaliso

We can keep our communities clean and save animals like Peanut if we dispose of our waste properly. Waste belongs in the bin, not on the floors and in our streets. We need to also be brave enough to tell our family and friends who litter to do the right thing.

At the end of this session we had 120 young minds who had committed to:

-       Putting all their waste into the bin

-       Telling others to do the same

-       Keeping their paper/plastics in their bag until they can throw it away in a proper bin

Special sweet treats were given out at the end of the session.

I’d like to thank my Earth sister Sive for her collaboration and support during this class assembly. 


Greening Hearts and Minds!

Londeka Mahlanza: It’s bigger than FOOD SECURITY.

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Without a reliable water supply, watering plants becomes a double burden task for urban farmers.

In a country with growing social welfare dependents and soaring unemployment, it will be the stories of places like Senzakahle Urban Food growers that may save our hope and indeed, our lives.

Senzakahle (directly translated: “we are doing it well”)  is a small food growers group located in the township of Kwa-ndengezi, outside of Pinetown, Kwa-Zulu Natal. When the local high school could not fathom what to do with a large, under kept area behind the school’s soccer field, a group of old-aged men and women decided to take up the initiative of re-ploughing life into this piece of land. This would be the birth of Senzakahle, which eight years later, has continued to support over 15 families and other needy members of the community.

On a crispy Monday morning in May, I decided to visit the food growers group at Senzakahle, to find out more about their work and the kind of resources their initiative really needs. Mam’Mlaba was the first person I spoke to. A cheerful and highly spirited woman who was surprised that a young person like myself was interested in their work, as it seemed to her that, young people nowadays were not concerned with what they describe as “farm work”. She was further surprised when I offered to do all their watering for the day, as she told me stories about her family and how much purpose working in the garden has given her. The elderly tend to be the most forgotten members of our society and to her, it is a fulfilling feeling to wake up in the morning and have somewhere to go.

Senzakahle therefore serves a greater purpose than providing much needed fresh fruit and vegetables. It is also a place where dignity is restored and where a whole new meaning to life is found. There are however still many challenges that are faced by this group, which require support far greater than my hands and heart.

Apart from a good supply of seedlings and tools, Senzakahle still requires a reliable water supply. Water is gathered from one watering point and stored in buckets that need refilling on a daily basis. The second crisis point, is the need for a toilet facility. Mam’Mlaba described how many of the people who work at the garden often have to remain at home should they fall sick, as there is no toilet facility on the premises where they could go to relieve themselves.

The water issue is a great concern for the community of Kwa-ndengezi as a whole, with frequent and unexplained cut offs taking place since early 2014. In an attempt to assist with the instating of a permanent or mobile toilet facility for Senzakahle, I am currently in talks with potential sponsors and the local councillor to negotiate the feasibility of this task considering the maintenance, funding and space required for this project.

The food security concern is often the face of urban farming initiatives, but what the story of Senzakahle reveals, is that urban farming has become ‘bigger than food security’. It is a place of hope and purpose and re-creates inclusivity and meaning to spaces and for people that society is often guilty of neglecting.

Our water collection, ready for use.

Some of the vegetables grown include: Green pepper; Cabbage; Onion; Spinach; Betroot etc.



Cleoptra Mbatha : At the Lebogang Orphanage In Soshanguve

Friday, June 5th, 2015

fun times playing with the kids

The kid in me is always out to play the minute I am in a space with children.  Being at theLebogang Orphanage with the Morning Star stuff, playing with the children, loosing most games, learning the latest dance moves and realizing that I still have two left feet was truly a fun filled day with the children. The beautiful attribute that all children have is the ability to love and trust with no conditions, the unconditional flowing love.

As unconditional as love is, so is the  notion of giving;  you do not need to obtain a qualification or be at a certain stage in your life to give back, you being you is enough to be of a help in hand.

Thank you to Morning Star Hotel, the stuff and children of the Lebogang Orphanage and the Miss Earth South Africa (MESA) programmefor the opportunity to put a smile on the children’s face and brighten up their day.

Wrapped up the day with a group photo showing the beautiful mountainous surroundings of Soshanguve

Thank you to Noweto Record for the Media Coverage of the event