A NELSON Mandela Bay couple have transformed a dumpsite into a “Little Happy Valley”, and are transforming the lives of 20 residents of the Lambrecht informal settlement.
Andreas and Rene Strydom said the idea to revamp the Kabega Park dump came from Andreas’s “incessant nagging” for a bigger garden.
The couple then convinced the municipality to construct barrier walls around the dumpsite so they could sort through the heaps of debris that had accumulated there. Three months later, both left their jobs to dedicate their lives to recycling waste.
They support themselves and their 20 employees through the activity. Once the waste is sorted, some of the materials are sold to recycling businesses in and around Port Elizabeth.
The rest they use to beautify the place. Visitors to the site are now welcomed by a vibrant and interesting garden made from dumped goods, which the Strydom family and their employees have created.
“Some of our employees used to work just outside the tip selling what they could from the waste. The others were squatting. So we saw an opportunity to help and do something we enjoy at the same time.
“Now they are earning a stable income. All of them are dedicated, hard workers who love their jobs.
“They even run to collect things from the residents’ waste so they can beautify the garden,” Rene said. Rowallan Park resident Niel Terblanche said he was amazed at the way the Strydoms promoted recycling.
“Before this tip was cleaned it used to be a health hazard. At times the garbage would even start to burn because of the dry grass, polluting the air with nauseating odours.
“But now it has become a pleasure to come and dump things at this site.
“I am always curious to see what new addition has been added to the garden. And now I even separate my garbage into plastics, glass, cardboard and so on,” Terblanche said.
Seun Goode, who works at the garden, said he saw the development as a opportunity to improve life for his family.
“Recycling is our goal here, and has now become a lifestyle for all of us here. I appreciate this opportunity because now I have a salary and know I will be able to provide for my family.”