Konica Minolta South Africa and Food & Trees For Africa (FTFA) celebrated planting over 50,000 trees during ceremonies hosted on 5 February at the DOCC YMCA as well as outside Nelson Mandela’s first home, both venues of which are located in Orlando East, Soweto.
This particular tree planting initiative has been running for the past 11 years and has seen over 50,000 trees donated across South Africa, offsetting an estimated 18,450.55 tonnes of CO2e. The trees have been planted at schools, clinics, museums and community centres.
Learners from local school AB Xuma Primary School were taught how to plant a tree as well as the importance of protecting the environment and the benefits of minimising our carbon footprint.
Visitors to the DOCC YMCA where shown around the premises, which was where Mandela did his boxing training in the late 1940s and early ‘50s. The YMCA is one of the biggest international organisations in the world. Learners from ages 6-18 come to the DOCC after school to do homework as well as get involved in signature programmes such as current affairs, debating, drama, poetry and IT.
The FTFA’s Executive Director Chris Wild thanked all the parties involved in making the occasion possible. ‘We as an organisation have the privilege to follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest members of the community ever,’ he said, referring to Mandela’s omnipresent legacy in the centre. ‘The next Nelson Mandela could be sitting in this room right now.’
Konica Minolta SA CEO Marc Pillay thanked everyone involved for making the occasion a reality, ‘Its been a privilege to walk some of the steps the late Nelson Mandela has walked,’ he said. ‘We continue to deliver trees to areas where we don’t see them. Johannesburg is one of the biggest forests in the world, but there are certain parts of the city that are still barren of trees and we need to do something about that. Everybody associates us with paper and its link to trees,’ he continued, ‘We have decided to make a difference and attain carbon neutral status.’ He finished off by stating that the partnership with Konica Minolta SA and FTFA will last for some time, and that 50,000 is an amazing number of trees to have reached.
Just a few streets up the road, attendees visited Mandela’s first home (not to be confused with his other house on Vilakazi Street, also in Soweto but in Orlando West), where the house’s current owner Frans Mphele and his son planted a tree with Pillay.
KONICA MINOLTA SOUTH AFRICA (+27 11) 661 9000 http://www.kmsa.com