Tree causes gogo grief

2018-11-01 06:00
Thobeka Tshokotshela points at the tree that is causing trouble PHOTO: SIYABONGA KALIPA

Thobeka Tshokotshela points at the tree that is causing trouble PHOTO: SIYABONGA KALIPA

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When Elizabeth Nyamza moved to a house with a small tree in Gugulethu in the late ‘60s, she couldn’t have imagined that it would grow to be a giant and a curse in her latter life.

Then, she was loved and became friends with all her neighbours, for the shade it offered in the Cape’s hot summer months.

But today, for the aged and frail Nyamza, 82, the same friends who loved and sat with her under the tree, including their children, she has become enemy number one.

They accuse her of witchcraft on account of the towering tree in her backyard. Over the years, nocturnal such as owls(which feed on mice), have been attracted to the tree, and have made it a dwelling place.

During spring, leaves falling from the tree scatter into their yards, causing more animosity.

In an interview with City Vision, the old lady said she had become a sitting duck in the community for all types of slander and aggression, and all her efforts to unroot the tree have been in vain.

She is now appealing to anyone with a good heart to come to her rescue.

Nyamza, visibly in pain, said she began witnessing problems a few years ago, when some of her neighbours started to complain about the tree. As if that was not enough, the younger generation began accusing of witchcraft, after they spotted owls in the tree.

She was advised to approach the City for help, to no avail.

She said she was told by City officials that since the tree was in her yard, “Yimhemhe yakho,”.

Nyamza said she has been unable to remove the tree as all the people charged her ridiculous amounts of money.

“The people I was referred to for help with this tree were all charging me huge amounts of money,” she said.

She relies on her old age pension for a living and simply cannot afford to raise the amount required to cut the tree, she emphasised.

“People get cross with me thinking that I planted the tree, but it was already here when I moved in 1969,” she said.

The roots of the tree are visible and they are already causing some damage to the house. Nyamza said she is worried that one day they would completely damage her house.

Ward 41 councillor Sharon Manata said she it was her first time hearing about this problem. She said if the tree is indeed in Nyamza’s yard it becomes her problem because the City does not allow for such work to be done in people’s property.

However she promised to visit the grandmother and see how she can be able to help her out.


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