An outing to the Botanical Gardens in Stellenbosch has taught a group of Vision AfriKa learners the value of local flora and the uses to which it can be put.
The Grade 1 students and their teachers visited the Gardens at the start of August and were shown around by Sivuyile Kwetela, their knowledgeable guide for the day.
The trip started off in the rockery, where the learners saw succulents such as aloe, which is commonly used to soothe burns and different skin irritations. They discovered that succulents, which grow in sandy and rocky terrain, thrive in the sun and do not need much water to survive.
Next on the list was fynbos, which is the shrubland vegetation endemic to a relatively small area of the Western Cape. Fynbos grows in acid soil and variations include Ericas and King Protea, the national flower of South Africa. The learners were also shown banana trees bearing fruit but were advised not to chop down trees of any kind as they are home to birds and insects. Also on display were herbs such as peppermint, which can be used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. But the Botanical Garden also kindly donated red-hot poker bulbs and aloes to go in the Vision AfriKa garden, while the group bought a rooibos plant, which is used to make tea, and a yellowwood, which is the national tree of South Africa.