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One-man green revolution

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Kheyi Masuku (43 years) is an unemployed married men with six children who stays at G75 Mzilikazi high-density suburb in Bulawayo.

He has shot into prominence in the sprawling suburb because of the one-man green revolution he has started. Every morning he goes out to pick up empty boxes of traditional beer and uses them to plant seedlings which he distributes to people for free.

His environmental preservation knowledge has been gained purely from his interface with nature from the time he was a boy growing up in Ntabazinduna in Umguza district before moving to Bulawayo.

Masuku grew up in Ntabazinduna where he developed an interest in growing trees as early as the age of 12. He started the tree planting project four years ago after realising the empty traditional beer boxes were littering the environment and at the same time deforestation in the countrys largest city, Bulawayo, was taking its toll on the environment in the light of load-shedding that has become the order of the day in the urban centres.

It is a unique project meant to recycle waste and at the same time promote the planting of trees, said Ntando Mlilo, an official from the Forestry Commission.

He recently donated trees for the Miss Earth tree planting event. His challenge is getting land for a nursery to grow seedlings.

Residents have also acknowledged receiving free seedlings to grow from him.

Masuku has managed to plant thousands of trees both indigenous and exotic especially drought-resistant ones under the project and distributed them for free.

Collecting discarded traditional beer cartons and growing tree seedlings in them to preserve the environment is an innovative concept by Masuku.
He also has an environmentally-friendly sisal project near a rubbish dump behind the United College of Education premises near Mzilikazi in Bulawayo.

He wants experts to help him use the drought-resistant sisal to produce material that could be used for packaging.

The project is being carried out on a voluntary basis and is therefore beset with funding challenges. At times, Masuku has to travel as far as Gokwe to get seed for his nursery at home.

With the right support, I believe it is possible to plant a million trees in one year under this project and that is my dream. You have to dream big in life to achieve your ambitions.

Growing trees in an important aspect of sustaining the environment, which is faced with a lot of vagaries including the indiscriminate cutting of trees for firewood in this era of power blackouts, says Masuku.

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