Nazeem Valley's garden.(Jenni Evans, News24)
Worcester - Nazeem Valley's magnificent cottage garden stands out with its pretty roses and delicate green succulents that he tends in his spare time on busy Porter Street, Worcester.
His family piles into the house after a busy day out while he takes a moment to admire the dusk sky.
"I was the first coloured person to buy a house in the white part of Worcester," says Valley, who works in the building and construction industry in the Western Cape town.
He explains that when the Group Areas Act was repealed, he bought the house from an Italian family and moved in, making a symbolic break from the apartheid laws which had restricted where he could live.
"Us coloured people all had to live on that side of Durban road," he says, pointing down the street.
He says the purchase was not smooth, marked by numerous delays, but Valley stood firm, and the house became his.
"When I moved in, this house was pitch dark inside. I had to put in some windows on the side to let some light in."
All his renovations have been aimed at restoring the beauty of the cosy home and from outside one can see gleaming golden wooden floors.
Vote has brought change
His only heartbreak while renovating the house was when he had to cut down a number of trees, including an oak tree planted too close to the stoep, its roots threatening to damage the foundation.
He has kept many of the fruit trees that grow in the back garden, and loves working in the front garden in his spare time, bending his tall frame to tend the flowers.
His daughter and her family bought the house across the road, and Valley is helping them with their own renovations now.
Valley says he will always vote because of the change it has brought to his own life.
"It is very important to me."
As the family finishes unpacking the car and his daughter calls him in, he says, "Wait here," and disappears into the house.
After about 10 minutes he emerges with a bag of pecan nuts from his garden.
"Here, enjoy these," he says as he ambles back into the home where supper preparations are in full swing.
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