Community upliftment project.

ENVASS support for the “iThemba Tower” project:

The project will result in a 20 meter-high permanent art installation made with over 6,000 recycled plastic bottles on a redundant communication tower. The project involves informal waste collectors and schools in collecting the bottles and filling them with a “message in a bottle”. Each message will have a small light inside of each bottle and will be lit up at night. “iThemba” means trust, hope. In this regard, this project will strengthen the community of downtown Johannesburg, support the livelihood of informal waste collectors and raise general awareness about recycling. There has been a lot of progress since the beginning of 2016 and there is huge anticipation from the community to see the project realise.

What are the objectives?

  • Raise awareness about recycling and the creative use of plastic through workshops and outreach activities involving local schools and community-based organisations. Local schools (e.9. “CityKidz Pre & Primary School”) have already come on board and have engaged the students in the implementation of this project.
  • Strengthening the community of Johannesburg by bringing groups of people together who do not normally interact with each other. The project will give a better understanding of different types of livelihoods and people in the community around the important issue of recycling.
  • Improve the livelihood of informal waste collectors. They work long hours and often live in the street. They get a meagre compensation for their hard work. This project will engage them in the collection of bottles and contribute to their livelihood.

They are working with a team of 5 waste collectors that have already collected 6 000 plastic bottles over the last 6 months. ENVASS support will allow them to compensate the informal waste collectors for their contribution and further engage with community workshops. In addition, ENVASS support will also enable them to cover the hard-cost of the implementation. The iThemba Tower team consist of 12 team members, 7 of which are black beneficiaries. The project will be entered into the Business Art South Africa (BASA) Award for 2017 and will have national and international media coverage.

The entire project is being documented with photos and videos. iThemba Tower has a wide online presence and is being disseminated through one of South Africa’s most successful online platforms “Between10and5”. It can be found on the following social media platforms: