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Friday, 23 July saw the official launch of the Agricultural Nutrition Project, which will see a skills transfer from Nelson Mandela University's George Campus students to inmates.
This strategic partnership between the George Campus and the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) is an initiative of Student Life & Development together with the Agricultural Society on the campus.

At the mask to mask ribbon cutting ceremony, the Area Commissioner, Ndileka Booi officially allocated land to the University to kick start the poverty alleviation garden. This garden, which is located inside the prison complex, will be managed by the Agricultural Society and Student Life & Development under the leadership of Dr Sefoko Ramoshaba, Deputy Director and Dr Ernest Dube, Senior Lecturer. It is envisaged that this garden will provide training on production of various nutritious vegetables to inmates and prison staff, as well as internship opportunities for Mandela agriculture students. Produce from this garden will also be donated to the local community for poverty alleviation efforts.

In her opening address, the Area Commissioner emphasised the importance of the strategic partnership with Mandela University in achieving self-sufficiency and sustainability of the DCS.  Such a partnership would enable skilling of offenders and prison staff, as well as increase food production for poverty alleviation through the DCS poverty alleviation gardens.

“Offenders with a criminal record struggle to get employment and without skills for self-employment, many become repeat offenders. It is therefore important for the DCS to equip offenders with skills that enable them to become self-reliant outside of the prison. Correctional facilities cannot achieve these goals alone. Our doors are open for collaborations and partnerships. We need partners in order to transform offenders into responsible citizens of the country,” said Area Commissioner  Booi.

On behalf of the University, Dr Ernest Dube from the Agriculture Department articulated the need for the University to lead by practical examples in the local community.

“This partnership with the DCS allows the University to expand its community engagement efforts, as well as provide training for Mandela students who seek internship opportunities. As a University in service to society, it is important for us to respond to the immediate needs of these societies by offering our knowledge and skills”, said Dr Dube.

Soil preparation of the garden commenced immediately, done by Mr Barnard of the DCS and his team. The planting of the vegetables will commence in September 2021.

The Department of Correctional Services has agreed to assist the University in carrying out its community engagement programme. This includes the Agricultural Nutrition Project for their students and/or designated University recipients on the farming fields of the Department of Correctional Services and allows the University to participate in Youth Developmental Programmes for the Offenders as and when designed by the DCS or the Centre.


A university in service to society … Dr Ernest Dube (far right) representing George Campus Agricultural Society together with  Area Commissioner Ndileka Booi,  Mr Udesh Rampersad, DSC and Mandela Uni officials at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Contact information
Ms Milisa Piko
Communications Manager: George Campus
Tel: 044 801 5098