Two years after a Mouille Point pensioner started a garden on a piece of land opposite his flat, the garden – and his partnership with a homeless man he hired to help him – are flourishing.
During the lockdown in 2020, Leon Boyd noticed that the landscape opposite his apartment complex was neglected – so he started sprucing it up.
However, the 77-year-old soon realised he couldn’t do it alone and hired a homeless man, Patrick “Rasta” Pienaar to help him.
“There was a dreadful mess here. There were shrubs, weeds, growing uncontrollably, and I was determined to clean it up and make it lovely,“ said Mr Boyd, a retired businessman.
“A homeless man known as Rasta assisted me, I couldn’t do this on my own. So Rasta has been assisting me to clean up and plant the flowers. I do pay him and we work well together.”
Mr Pienaar says he saw Mr Boyd working in the garden and asked him if he could help him, and two years later he is still maintaining the garden.
“I enjoy helping Oubaas. He pays me, gives me food and clothing and I like working here. I’m glad that this is almost done, the cleaning and planting, now we just have to maintain it,” said Mr Pienaar.
“I’m here three times a week to clean, pull out the weeds, spread the compost and water the plants.”
Mr Boyd says that the body corporate where he lives as well as the body corporate next door have backed them financially, allowing them to connect the hoses to water the garden as well.
“The residents of Vantage saw what we were doing and they sponsored us. The owners at my block, my neighbours, have also sponsored us and we could buy the soil and compost, as well as pay Rasta with all the support we getting,” Mr Boyd said.
“We have used waste material as well to beautify this place and as you can see we put these stones around the garden. We found this Buddha statuette among the shrubs, someone just chucked it there.”
Mr Boyd confirmed that the local council have not complained or complimented them on their work.