One Blue Heart zero-waste dinner raises funds for turtle conservation

Posted on 20 February 2023 By Tsoku Maela

The One Blue Heart is a first-of-its-kind, blue carpet, Zero-Waste Dinner that showcased art, fashion and food in support of the Turtle Conservation Centre at the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation on 16 February.

Working towards turtle conservation and rehabilitation

Bob, the endangered green sea turtle, which had been severely maimed, was released in the warm waters off the coast of Durban after more than eight years of rehabilitation at the Two Oceans Aquarium.

Bob arrived at the Two Oceans Aquarium in 2015 with such severe injuries caused by plastic pollution that vets did not think it could survive. The injuries included a fractured shell and lacerations, which had led to septicaemia, which caused brain damage and blindness. Its condition was exacerbated by plastic ingestion which caused digestive issues.

Introducing an environmental enrichment programme designed specifically for Bob, the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation (TOAF) team fed and nurtured Bob until he slowly showed improvement. Bob’s tale of hope, resilience and triumph captured the hearts and imagination of the country. It is all in a day’s work for those getting their hands dirty at the TOAF Turtle Conservation Centre. Over a hundred turtles come through the Centre each year. Many are released back into the ocean after receiving medical attention and other intervention therapy.

The number of turtles needing rehabilitation by the Two Oceans Aquarium is increasing yearly. The costs are significant, and the current facilities are too small. The team’s ultimate intention is to establish a world-class turtle hospital. Since its inception, the Two Oceans Aquarium has rehabilitated and released over 1000 turtles – more than half of these have been under the care of the Two Ocean Aquarium Foundation Turtle Conservation Centre for the last four years.

To support the Two Oceans Aquarium’s Turtle Conservation Centre, the V&A Waterfront hosted a first-of-its-kind zero waste event to raise funding for the care of turtles like Bob and others that will come after him. 71% of the turtles in the care of the Centre have ingested some form of plastic.

‘The event called One Blue Heart will highlight how we think about our footprint on the planet,’ said Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation Executive Chairperson Ann Lamont.

One Blue Heart is a fusion of sustainable food, slow fashion and ‘artivism’ that will take place at the One&Only Cape Town. South Africa’s first ever “blue carpet” event will be a sensory experience second to none for a select group of attendees.

Lamont says, ‘We have a saying at the aquarium that goes ‘not on our watch’. Not on our watch will we continue to stand by and watch our ocean life be decimated by ignorance and neglect. The time is now for all of us to act, to protect our marine world and our future.’

V&A Waterfront launches Zero Waste Chefs Training Programme and Food Accelerator

Zero Waste chefs training programme

Zero Waste cooking means leaving as little food and packaging waste as possible. Through efforts to redirect edible food excess, compost scraps and eliminate single-use plastics, many restaurants and individuals at the V&A Waterfront are already on this sustainability journey.

The One Blue Heart event represents the official launch of a new stage of the V&A Waterfront’s own Zero Waste initiatives.

SOLVE, a unit of the Waterfront tasked with identifying opportunities for innovation for sustainability and inclusivity, has conducted focus groups with a wide range of chefs to find out what they understand as the barriers to adopting a Zero Waste kitchen philosophy. Based on the findings, the precinct is moving into designing a well-informed and co-creative Zero Waste Chef Training programme. This is intended for the chefs who work at one of the 80+ food outlets within the V&A neighbourhood, but the intention is to open the programme to cooks and chefs working elsewhere.

Zero waste food accelerator

Alongside this, the V&A is adding a Zero Waste dimension to the existing Incubator Programme at Maker’s Landing. This programme is an immersive accelerator course aimed at empowering food entrepreneurs to grow their businesses; and the Zero Waste dimension is intended to develop awareness and intention among the cohorts. Food industry professionals are particularly interested in the procurement and value chain that services Zero Waste intentions, such as packaging companies.

‘It is our intention that through both the Chefs Training programme and the Zero Waste dimension of the Incubator Programme, those who are closest to food production will help to 3 co-create a new understanding of what is possible in the Zero Waste food space,’ says David Green, Chief Executive of the Waterfront.

‘Zero Waste in the food space is part of the broader movement to reduce our impact – to do the best we can with whatever resources we have,’ adds Green.

Blue Heart Dinner programme

Previous lead singer of iconic South African band Freshly Ground, The One Who Sings, Zolani Mahola, will perform at the dinner. Freediver Zandi Ndhlovu, The Black Mermaid, was the MC, and guests were inspired by the words of Pulitzer Prize Winner Dele Olojede.

Those attending were offered the opportunity to acquire limited ocean-inspired artworks by Ardmore, Dylan McGarry, and Robbie Rorich. And for inspiration from the boundary-pushing, mind-expanding world of digital art, guests were also the first to view pieces from the soon-to-be-launched Cloudigital Museum, an anchor sponsor of the event, giving insight into the future of creativity and expression.

One&Only Chef Gianluca curated a bespoke menu offering born of his passion for preventing food wastage.

‘To waste food is to waste resources. Whenever we waste food, we waste energy, water and more. We need to have more respect for food and the processes involved in harvesting, transport and package it. Food connects us all in some way or another; to not proactively take part in them is not to accept responsibility. When we waste food, we waste life, our one greatest gift’, says Gianluca.

‘To conceptualise an evening of expression and exploration that would have a deep, meaningful impact on earth has been a long-time vision of mine,’ says The curator of One Blue Heart, Gita Carroll of The Good Machine. ‘One Blue Heart is completely different, wild, gentle, pure, and unlike anything seen before in South Africa.’

For more ways to support the fundraising efforts of the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation, visit

Pictures: Supplied

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