11-year-old plants 750 spekbooms during holidays

Posted by Elise Kirsten on 13 January 2020

An 11-year-old boy, Chris-Tiaan Nortje, from Pennington on Kwa-Zulu Natal’s south coast has planted 4,000 spekboom trees since September 2019 and during the December school holidays he planted 750 more of these miracle bushes.

Chris-Tiaan, who lost his mother two years ago to a diabetes-related illness has been supported in his green initiative by his grandparents, Charlotte and Johan Coetzee, who are in the process of adopting him.

We spoke to Charlotte about what inspired Chris-Tiaan to begin planting spekboom and she said that when he realised that ‘our planet is really in trouble’ he decided that he wanted to do something about it.

Chris-Tiaan and his grandmother came across an international article which expounded the benefits of spekboom, which kick-started Chris-Tiaan’s interest in planting these hardy wonderplants.

Described as positive and brave Chris-Tiaan who has faced ‘many challenges,’ also has autism, which his grandmother refers to as ‘awesomenism.’ This condition could be part of the reason for his focused interest in planting spekboom as part of his ‘dream to fight global warming and to make SA a healthier place to live in’.

Also read: SA wonder plant removes more CO2 than Amazon

‘I’ve always had green fingers,’ said Charlotte and so she and her husband supported Chris-Tiaan as he began planting. Their support was so great, that it has ‘cleared out available funds.’

The couple are selling spekboom plants as a means to fund the initiative and have asked people to buy spekboom from Chris-Tiaan.

‘We have been funding this project ourselves but it has literally cleared out available funds. Please support CT’s Initiative by either buying lots of Spekboom from him or donate on Back A Buddy. All your support enables him to continue paying forward!’

‘We have large stocks available.’

Contact [email protected] or WhatsApp 0825958683


Some of the benefits of spekboom as listed by ‘Spekboom initiative against global warming’ on its Facebook page include:

– It’s 10 x more efficient in sequestrating carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than the Amazon rain forest.

– It’s a fast grower

– It can be propagated from leaves or clippings

– It is super resilient and only need a little water once a week once planted in the garden. It flourishes in tropical, sub-tropical and dry climates and needs little water to survive

– The soil it grows in can be used to grow other plants, thus making it a nurse plant. The soil under a spekboom is of excellent quality

– Spekboom responds well to pruning and grows densely, making it an excellent, hardy hedge. All clippings can be turned into new trees

– Spekboom forms it’s own micro-climate under its protective thicket

– Spekboom leaves are edible and rich in manganese, cobalt and especially magnesium and it contains microelements, rich in vitamin C, iodine and selenium

– Spekboom is known for its ability to stimulate milk in humans and even in cows

– It can be used in fodder

– It could serve as fences for a kraal and has been used for this purpose for centuries

– It can be used to create private areas and privacy screens

– Spekboom is not flammable and cannot burn which makes it an excellent fire barrier if you are living in a high fire risk area, if massed it can serve as a firebreak

– It is also an excellent soil binding plant to prevent soil erosion

– It can be turned into bonsai trees fairly easily and trunks can become really bulky in just a few years


Feature image: Charlotte Coetzee


Also read: Spekboom challenge takes root in SA


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