Tall Mpoppies – Penz Malinga

Tall MPoppie – Baba Cele – Love Your Environment 

Mr Mlondi Cele lives in close proximity to an illegal communal rubbish dump that exists, and has flourished, because for years the rubbish truck did not drive on his street on collection day. Previously, the street had been inaccessible because one of the RDP houses was built smack bang in the middle of the street blocking access. In addition the road was too narrow and overgrown. He also lives in close proximity of a manhole that is constantly surcharging with sewage right on the uMthinzima stream, which has become a great contributor of raised e-coli levels in Midmar Dam.

Baba Cele is one of the Mpophomeni Sanitation Education Project (MSEP) environment champions employed by the Duzi Umngeni Conservation Trust (DUCT) to monitor the spilling manholes, illegal dumping and to educate people regarding about why these problems occur and to find out what can be done to reduce or stop these problems.
However, Baba Cele’s interest in these issues started long before the inception of the MSEP project in 2011. He likes to live in a clean healthy environment free from rubbish and the stench of sewage, so he was very active in engaging with the municipal councillors and bringing up the issues during community meetings which he attends religiously.
In his spare time he doubles as a handyman, tiling homes and spends much time working in his garden next to the stream, where he is making good use of the floodplain. “I grew up in this area when it was still beautiful, the rivers were intact, the view of the hills were marvellous. It would be nice to see Mpophomeni return to its former glory and be clean and beautiful again” said Baba Cele. He also added that, “If you love yourself, your environment should reflect the love you have for it.” He has much pride and joy in his Kids Club ‘The Cheetahs’ led by one of his daughters, Nomcebo, who has been joined by children from the neighbourhood. He hopes to inspire his neighbours and their children to live in a beautiful environment.