Rosie Makosa, better known as ‘Mama Rosie, has helped change the lives of many Capetonians. From teaching unemployed women how to sew, to cooking with self-grown food at the community school, she has given others the tools to feel empowered.
Mama Rosie’s latest initiative FoodPods, is a social enterprise that enables people to earn and learn whilst growing fresh, organic vegetables at below market prices. We visited Mama Rosie at the Philippi Farm and got an insight on what she’s doing.
In your community you stimulate empowerment and personal improvement. What is your biggest inspiration?
I’m still looking for ways to uplift the community, in many things. But sometimes it’s difficult to get things together quickly. I’m looking to the youth in the community and the women to accomplish things they didn’t do before. Now we’re going to open a hub here in Philippi for the people to have access to the Internet and computers. I want to make sure that people are learning with the right facilities.
What are some of the challenges you face?
Our main problem in the community is that the people don’t have money to buy vegetables. The vegetables are too expensive. They can grow at home in little gardens. I want to teach them to grow their own vegetables. This way they can pick vegetables themselves. We’ve got a problem in the community; there are many sick people, so they are in need a lot of vegetables.
How important is food security in this community?
It’s very important. Many people come to me to ask me for lettuce and some spinach because they’re hungry and they want to cook. That’s why I want to teach the women at home to make their own gardens. Food security is very important in this community to enable healthy living circumstances.
What should the local government do to make sure that people have good food and good primary facilities?
The government should have a closer involvement in the community. I don’t like it that people must rely on hand-outs and the idea that the government must give them food. The people must be able to make food themselves. And the government must come out to the community to teach, to train these women to make their own gardens. Even at school, there is a lot of ground there, they can turn them into gardens and then make their own food. And then they can sell food to be sustainable for themselves.
Inspiring people like Mama Rosie are planting the seeds for a sustainable future in South African cities and other urban centres. Find out how design thinking and innovation can play a part at Department of Design from the 8th until the 27th of July.