In a bid to make Port Elizabeth greener, the city’s received 601 trees in honour of the late Nelson Mandela’s vision. Schools are the main beneficiaries. The trees will offset an estimated 221 tons of carbon dioxide.

Mandela advocated for better environmental protection. The commitment is being passed on to the next generation. Learners say that they learned the importance of trees.

“I learnt the importance of protecting the trees because they give us oxygen and let us live forever,” says one learner.

“We are planting trees today because it’s Mandela Day. Trees are very important because they give us food,” says another learner.

500 of the trees will be planted at schools. 101, symbolising the age of Nelson Mandela, will take root at the Donkin Reserve.

Jemina Mkhiza, Facilitator from Food and Trees for Africa, says that they want to educate people on the importance of trees.

“We want to educate people. We want to educate learners and everyone that trees are very important. They give life, shade, oxygen. We need to try plant as many trees as possible.”

Warren Diakos, Branch Manager of Konica Minolta says that they are committed to the environment.

“We are very committed to the environment and ensuring that everyone knows how to protect it. There’s global warming now and it’s important to educate everyone. And because this is one of Mandela’s values, we are happy to be able to contribute.”

More than 45 000 trees have been planted across the country since 2008 when the initiative kicked off.