Diepsloot gets an environmental centre

Sowetan Reporter

An unlikely urban nature reserve in Gauteng is a sewerage farm bordering one South Africa's largest squatter camps.

Northern Farm Nature Reserve was proclaimed as the Diepsloot Nature Reserve in 1960, long before it became famous as home to one of the most squalid informal settlements in Mzansi.

Diepsloot is now a thriving RDP development alongside the teeming informal settlement. Social problems abound in the poverty-stricken area situated near some of the most expensive real estates in South Africa.

But this weekend the Northern Farm Environmental Education Centre was launched, which in its own small way hopes to close this gap.

The centre will offer its facilities to everyone, from the nearby northern suburbs' effete bourgeoisie to raw township kids next door.

Two guides from Dieplsoot are being appointed. Once trained, they will run the facility, direct visitors around the 2500ha facility and help inculcate an appreciation of nature.

Johannesburg Water runs a thriving cattle farm on the property and most sewerage treatment is now confined to a plant across the road.

Organisers say the new facility will give them an opportunity to develop an appreciation of their natural birthright at a time when it is rapidly succumbing to the onslaught of development.