Innocent was born in 1992 to Sophy ‘Mimi’ Mgidi, a domestic worker in Pretoria. They are a family of four children. Innocent attended Phuthumani Primary School and Musa Secondary School in KwaMhlanga, Ndebele tribe, Tshwane. 

After completing Grade 12 he was eager to step into the workplace but he struggled to get work. His friend, Joseph, saw a job opportunity for him at Garden Gate Landscaping and he has been employed by GG since December 2014.

Innocent is a loyal worker and has proven to be teachable and eager to learn. He is steady in his work performance and has mastered every task the team performs. He has learnt to use a grinder, a power drill in all its applications, the lawnmower, brush cutter and chainsaw. Innocent is a very good leader and has been appointed as GG site supervisor. He motivates and leads by example. Innocent is an extremely hard worker. He prefers the hard manual labour tasks and exhibits tremendous pride in the completion of a task. As Madiba has said, ‘It always seems impossible until it is done.’ I believe Innocent took him seriously. He has a very good eye for finishing seamlessly. That is not something that can be taught. He would turn back to rake the last leaf and square the last stone…

  • Botha Lebeya 

Botha was born in 1981 in Tzaneen. He left school in Grade 8 (Mahtomedi Middle School) to enter the workplace. He is married to Agnes and they have three healthy children. They live in Donkerhoek.

Botha’s first job was at Premium Trucking (Renier Reyneke Vervoer), where he was a dispatch assistant. They travelled across the country maintaining the truck and managing smooth delivery. Thereafter he worked at OTT Technology. His job description was Assembly and Upholstery. There he had to work with patterns and manage an assembly table. He acquired a great amount of technical skills in this position. His next employer was N4 Trucking, where he worked in the body workshop and became a skilled metal worker. 

Today Botha is the Garden Gate handyman. He runs the power tools and manages the technical installations, from electrical work to welding to waterproofing. His upholstery experience was very handy during our first artificial lawn installation. Botha is enthusiastic about his work and is always willing to pull his weight as a general worker if that is who the team needs him to be.

  • George Tshabangu 

George was born in 1993 to Frans and Sophy Tshabangu, both pensioners today. He grew up in a large family of five siblings and from the start he was a good team player. 

He finished school and has the best handwriting and spelling skills on the team. He is meticulous with detail and this adds value to our work. George started working at Garden Gate Landscaping in February 2016; here he received on-the-job training and experience in irrigation installation. With a design in hand George supervises the installation. He is a quiet but crucial part of our team, with a keen wit and excellent sense of humour.

  • Paulus Mahlagu 

Paulus was born in 1993. He finished school and entered the work field. He started as a general labourer for a cleaning service and moved on to becoming a shop assistant for an Engen garage. Paulus has a driver’s licence.

 He started working for Garden Gate in May 2016 and excelled as a general labourer, out-performing the whole team. Sometimes he would be running around with the wheelbarrow of soil. Paulus has good communication skills and good reading and writing skills as well. He has a fast understanding and is a great assistant to the task leader. Paulus is quiet during work but in our team building sessions he has often surprised us with his observations and inputs.

  • Napo Mdema 

Napo was born in 1995 to Anna Mukwena and January Mdema. Anna is a domestic worker and January is currently unemployed. Napo finished school at Ziphakamisen Secondary School and did casual work until Bafana Radebe, who plays soccer with him, brought him onto the Garden Gate team in June 2017. Napo completed the GG probation period and was offered a position in January 2018. Being the youngest and newest member, he is still discovering his strengths. He has a very pleasant attitude and enjoys his work. I would like to mention at this point that one would not stay in this team if you did not enjoy working hard. 

  • Bafana Radebe 

Bafana was born in 1993. He grew up with his mother and grandmother and has a sister and brother. After finishing school, he entered the workplace. Bafana always dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player but (fortunately for us) never made the team. He is a strong social soccer player and enjoys the healthy release over weekends. 

Bafana and Joseph Mutimunje were the first two friends who came to help Garden Gate construct its first garden in Pretoria. They immediately made themselves available for future work. On a casual basis they would come to work on the team as the first jobs for family and friends started coming in. They would bring their friends from choir and soccer to come and help when necessary, but for the first year they were the core team. We worked extremely hard. As soon as the work became more frequent, we could afford more hands. That is how Garden Gate Landscaping started. 

Being a soccer enthusiast, Bafana always keeps his body in great shape, and his energy was a great motivation for GG in the difficult early years. He is a keen learner and valued team player. In addition, he is an in-house-trained irrigation specialist, and also leads the team with the chainsaw. We receive top-up training at the Husqvarna workshop every year. 

  • Joseph Mutimunje 

Joseph was born in 1992. He finished school and took casual labour until Garden Gate could offer him a position. As mentioned in Bafana’s CV, Joseph helped GG get out of the starting blocks with sheer hard work. Joseph also has good leadership skills. He is bright and fast on the uptake. He has good communication skills and experience in city traffic. In 2016, Joseph was mugged and severely injured. Although he recovered well, he is not as strong as the other team members. He is our driver and fills the gaps with the less strenuous work. His good work ethics shows in his willingness to participate in the labour while taking all the transport responsibility.

  • Sakkie Malaza

Sakkie has a wife and two children. He is a freelance builder and comes onto the team whenever we need him. We would reschedule our building work if it coincides with a building contract he is committed to. He has many years of experience and is known for the fastest hand in the business.

  • Bafana Radebe is our Jack of all trades and a great team player.
  • Innocent Mgidi likes to plan and run all our schedules.
  • George Tshabangu is our man for detail, rhythm and order.
  • Paulus Mahlangu is our gentle all rounder.
  • Botha Labeya understands and operates the power tools and all other handy-man tasks.
  • Joseph Mthimunye is our talented driver who keeps calm at all times.
  • Napo Ndema is a new member to the team. He proves to be hard working and eager to learn.