Spekboom challenge takes root in SA

Posted by Elise Kirsten on 6 January 2020

There is an increasing awareness of the benefits of planting spekboom, also known as porkbush or elephant’s food and South Africans are taking up the challenge of planting spekboom and sharing photos to social media along with the hashtag #spekboomchallenge.

Found mainly in the Eastern Cape, the Vitamin-C-rich plant which is starting to feature in more and more recipes is also excellent at sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Besides individuals taking part in the spekboom challenge, there are various initiatives across the country to champion the cause of planting spekboom as an environmentally friendly act.

One such spekboom promoter is Abraham Enzo van Vuuren, president of the Greater Magaliesberg Biosphere Business Chamber and founder of Heal the World 4 Us. He carries a baby Spekboom tree in an incubator around his neck and since 2014 he has run a project that creates awareness about the plant’s unique properties. He has sold tiny spekboom plants to school children as well as various businesses.

Another ambitious spekboom project is known as The Great Labyrinth of Africa with plans to create the largest labyrinth in the world by planting 165,000 spekboom bushes in Klapmuts, near Stellenbosch, in February.

However, Heart Capital, the group behind the project, has run into a problem and is appealing for funds to lay some water pipes to keep the nearly 200,000 bushes that it has grown over the last three years alive, as watering them by hand is impossible.

Another spekboom labyrinth has been planted at Moodnace Farm on the Garden Route near George.

Groups and individuals alike are realising that South Africa has a valuable asset in this plant which can be used to help combat climate change.



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