Members of Mhani Gingi received training in healthy cooking when they attended a Healthy Plant-Based Cooking Course for Wellness Champions of the Western Cape Government’s WoW! (WesternCape on Wellness) programme on 4 – 8 February 2019. The five-day course was attended by Vuyiseka Tekwana of the Mhani Gingi Organic Herb and Vegetable Seedling Nursery and Founding Director, Lillian Masebenza. The course was delivered to 16 Wellness Champions from Cape Town communities and focused on the health, environmental, global and economic benefits of healthy plant-based eating. A variety of presenters provided input on health-related topics and the participants received practical cooking lessons. These were delivered at the Private Hotel School of the Capsicum Culinary Studio in Salt River, Cape Town.

The WoW! programme includes ‘health champions’ from the community and community-based organisations in the Western Cape who help to promote healthy, active lifestyles. After the Train-the-Trainer course, each WoW! Wellness Champion was required to train at least ten other people from their community group.

This resulted in a follow-up when Mhani Gingi trained 20 people from Uitsig Community, Ravensmead, in healthy plant-based cooking techniques, in order to implement knowledge gained from the WoW! training. The group of people with physical disabilities from Uitsig Community who attended the training are partners and beneficiaries of Mhani Gingi. They maintain community food gardens at Uitsig Community Centre and at Uitsig Primary School under the supervision of the Mhani Gingi Flagship Programme. The community also make crafts. Mhani Gingi also provides connects the community to market for the vegetable produce and crafts.

“The workshop was very helpful to add value to the gardening produce from Mhani Gingi’s community gardening activities and also links to our own healthy lifestyle efforts which include the goal of promoting healthy nutrition,” said Masebenza.

Community food production
The Flagship Programme provides skills and support to about 10 other community gardens on the Cape Flats and in the greater Cape Town area, situated in available spaces at schools, churches, community-based organisations and institutions with whom Mhani Gingi forms partnerships in an effort to help vulnerable communities to produce food for consumption and to generate an income for themselves. The Mhani Gingi Organic Herb and Seedling Nursery provides the training, seedlings for the gardens, and other support such as compost.