Manukelana Indigenous Nursery and Arts Project

inspirational nurseryManukelana Nursery was started on an alien ridden piece of land in  by  men  that had nothing other than a love for indigenous trees and their physical ability. They pooled together spades and other tools.  They perspired and persevered.

Today the nursery is a source of inspiration. Small step by small step they have created a place where dedication and good intent is tangible. Everything is done with the patience and care. “The plants have to be transplanted with tender love because they are fragile. “  say the strong Zulu men.  One feels inspired and wants to get involved. So have others in the past. Different people have made meaningful contributions. There is a story behind each and every contribution: the water tank tower, the walkway to the butterfly house, the butterfly house and the used shade cloth that protects the fragile seedlings from the harsh Zululand sun. Phungula tells how impressed he was to see people from a western city world work spades and hammers as well as they could operate remote controls.

As a vegetarian I found it interesting how these men integrate their Zulu heritage with the way of living of the Rasta faith. In the zulu culture a goat is slaughtered when a new born baby reaches a certain age. The skin of the goat is used to phepa the baby (carry the baby on the mother’s back).  There is a specific part of that goat that the father has to eat. These Rasta men would eat meat only when it is part of a cultural ritual.

Phungula showed me around the project. I am interested in endangered indigenous plants that are easy to propagate and are used by traditional healers. He shows me the porcupine root (Talinum caffrum). In traditional healing it brings peace. If people are laying an ambush against you, it helps you to escape.

Howorthia linifolia or uMathithibala is used in the homestead to help people live peacefully. It is not found much in the wild, and can be found around many homesteads. It is one of the plants that the UNDP sponsored Manukelena Nursery to propagate.

How Barefoot Nature Doctor can link with Manulelana:

–          Teaching of responsible harvesting (Sangomas and their gatherers)

–          Propagation of endangered indigenous plants by Sangomas and their gatherers.

–          Accessing funds



1 Response to “Manukelana Indigenous Nursery and Arts Project”

  1. 1 Ruth Williams
    June 17, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    This is a fantastic site. I’m so proud of you!

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  • Having lots of fun with structure going up over the caravan.(thanks Mikael and Andgie the two architecture volunteers) 6 years ago
  • Andgie and Mikael made rice milk. I had home made rice milk chocolate. Yum. 6 years ago
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  • Erin is making ripples into the community with her circle garden concept. 7 years ago
  • John has changed the soil scape of the garden with loads of 'the shit' 7 years ago


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