Nexusing Water, Energy and Food to Increase Resilience in the Cape Town Metropolitan Area

Gugulethu Urban Farming Initiative (GUFI)

Background of the case study area

Gugulethu, isiXhosa for our pride, is approximately 15km away from the Cape Town city centre. Gugulethu was established in 1960 to address overcrowding in Langa, the first Black residential township in the Western Cape (Saho, 2013). It is one of the oldest townships in Cape Town and was established by the Apartheid government during the 1960s to accommodate black people who were displaced from various areas around Cape Town (SAHO, 2017). The streets were named NY (‘native yard’) indicating that this space was designed originally for native people who were perceived to be Black. In 2011, Gugulethu had a population of 98 468 people and 29 577 households (CoCT, 2011). This population was predominantly made up of Black Africans (99%). Slightly more than half the population lived in formal households while approximately 47.8% of the households lived in informal settlements, including shacks in backyards. Less than half (47.6%) of households had piped water inside their dwellings. Almost 30.6% of households had access to piped water more than 200m away from their yards while 0.7% of households do not have access to piped water. Gugulethu, like other South African townships, is faced with social challenges, these include; poverty, crime and unemployment.

Case study organization: Gugulethu urban food forest initiative (GUFFI)

GUFFI is an organisation that is new and is a product of Covid-19. It came out of the partnership between GgugulethuCAN and SeaboardCAN. Gugulethu urban food forest initiative (GUFFI) is a farming initiative that started in 2020 during the Covid-19 lockdown, farmers of Gugulethu came together to create the farming initiative (SeaboardCan, 2021). The Gugulethu urban farming initiative started through Vuyani Qamata who is the coordinator of the farming initiative. He is the leading force behind the food gardens growing in Gugulethu households’. Vuyani Qamata gets assistance from NGOs, these organisations help him and the farmers with access to funding and tools to get the food gardens established. Vuyani has other community farmers that are helping him to maintain and reach their vision of GUFFI “turning Gugulethu into a food forest”. The Gugulethu urban food forest initiative is coordinating within Gugulethu and its neighbouring community. GUFFI has established backyard and school gardens so that the local community can become self-sufficient and eat nutritious food.

According to Vuyani Qamata (2020) who is the initiative coordinator the Gugulethu urban farming initiative is aimed at mobilising the community to change Gugulethu into a food forest. They developed a strategy to establish gardens using organic produce, because residents of the township depend exclusively on fruit and vegetables purchased from nearby shops or within the township. This provides food stability to many homes, allowing them to eat healthier. GUFFI is an initiative that uses food gardens to transform ordinary locations into exceptional spaces. The objective of GUFFI is to green Gugulethu, create livelihoods for their community and to encourage wellness (GUFFI Facebook page, 2021). This Covid-19 outbreak brought about a new charity movement and formed new solidarity partnerships. GUFFI partnered with community kitchens around Gugulethu that started operating during Covid-19. The initiative has ensured that every soup/community kitchen has a food garden. These food gardens are created to ensure food security and to create a healthy living cycle. Creating food gardens is done with the goal that it will feed into the upkeep of the kitchen with a well-balanced diet (GUFFI Facebook page, 2020). This helps to bring nutritious meals to the kitchen.

Relevant Research Partners

Gugulethu Urban Farming Initiative (GUFI)
Musedzaphanda Phophi Khalushi
Master’s Student
She obtained her BA degree in Development studies from the University of Venda, and her Honours in Development Studies at the University of Western Cape. Currently she is a registered Masters student in the Institute of Social Development (ISD). Her research interests are based on promoting sustainable resource use and taking into account the role that these resources has for both current and future generations.