Veggie gardens of hope

One of Matus’s flagship brands, Aquacraft partnered with Siyakhana to help support the promotion of healthier communities and recently contributed another cheque and products to this cause. 

Nkanyiso Msiya, Candice Knipe-Tlhotlhalemajoe, Damares Figueiredo, Prof Michael Rudolph and Evans Muchesa

The Garden for Growth initiative was implemented by Aquacraft, a premium garden brand within the Matus stable. As a result of the recent pandemic, high unemployment rates and lack of nutritional education, Garden for Growth aims to be a catalyst for change by transforming the brand from one that is commercial to one with a social cause. When consumers choose to purchase an Aquacraft product they choosing to be part of the solution. A portion of sales is donated into the garden which means greater impact. 


The Aquacraft partnership included the donation of tools and equipment and the commitment to donate a portion of all Aquacraft sales to this cause. In January 2022 a second handover took place at Siyakhana Gardens in Bezuidenhout Park where R15 000 was handed to Prof Michael Rudolph and Evans Muchesa by Candice Knipe-Tlhotlhalemajoe, Nkanyiso Msiya and Damares Figueiredo from Matus. 


Siyakhana is a change agent for promoting health, transforming communities and enhancing environments. South Africa is amid a food insecurity crisis and founder of Siyakhana, Prof Michael Rudolph recognised an agent that uproots old ideas and changes how we think, learn and practice urban farming was needed. Siyakhana started in 2005 and unequivocally achieved all of this. It offers a complete multi-disciplinary approach incorporating training, technology, hands on planting, waste management in both food and environment amongst other disciplines. Eventually, the project has become the platform of which other initiatives have been launched. 


Transforming a dumpsite into a flourishing garden that produces a range of foods and medicinal plants

Transforming mindsets with regards to health and nutrition whilst practicing proper food safety, personal hygiene and sanitation

Transforming unemployment into entrepreneurial opportunities and employment whilst providing training and skills

Transforming entrenched attitudes into sustainable practices by conserving water and other natural resources.


To improve the lives of people living with aids and their dependents by supplementing their nutritional programmes

To increase the knowledge of nutrition in the local communities

To provide the community with practical experience in food production and natural resource management

To reduce the incidence of malnourished children attending ESDCs and adults receiving HBC. 


The Siyakhana food garden is regarded as one of the most successful urban food gardens in wider Johannesburg, as well as a hallmark of intersectoral collaboration.

From this platform the initiative has spread its wings into other areas with the launch of a few initiatives including:

A hub at the University of Johannesburg – the 6 500 students being a community themselves – food gardens are being set up on all campuses including an aquaponics system

Midrand project in Randjiesfontein – a financially viable and sustainable project that in just nine months is already training, planting, harvesting and selling. Staff come from nearby Tembisa and will be the main custodians when the founding team withdraw

Exxaro partnership where Exxaro committed to providing for mining communities in the areas where mines have closed, and food gardens have been established. Exxaro have also been instrumental in gardens for seven schools in Tshwane. 

“With the buy-in and collaboration from all sectors – including government departments – the projects will ethically continue to deliver on the constitutional rights of people in the country, which is why Aquacraft is proud to be associated with Siyakhana says Candice Knipe-Tlhotlhalemajoe from Matus. Tool donations, financial donations or time donations through volunteering will be welcomed. 

To be a part of this project and help South Africa drive a sustainable and financially viable food programme, 

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