Siyabulela Sokomani is co-owner of Shoots and Roots.
Growing up in Khayelitsha, Sokomani began working with plants when his geography teacher, Ronel Baker, noticed his interest and encouraged him to start an environmental club. Immersing himself in this initiative, he experienced proud moments from completing the Cape Town High Schools’ Environmental Quiz to planting the first trees at his school – which remain there today. Sokomani pushed to get a place in the environment management course offered by the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, but after a week, he realised that his particular interest was plants – and the rest is history, or more accurately, horticulture.
Sokomani ran a nursery in the Eastern Cape which later developed into a landscaping business, designing and implementing landscaping projects for the private sector and government. When he moved back to Cape Town in 2013, he sought employment – not an easy adjustment after having his own business, but working for a company called Reliance Compost proved fruitful as he met his current business partner, Carl Pretorius, and established Sokomani Horticultural growing plants and vegetables.
When the opportunity arose to buy a stake in an existing nursery, he grabbed it, and that business is now Shoots and Roots Agriculture, growing saplings for the largest mature tree nursery in South Africa, Just Trees; to supply to Kirstenbosch garden centre; Greenpop SA and many more clients in the tree rehabilitation space.
Shoots and Roots is an ethical nursery, using no herbicides and working to minimize chemical use to exercise respect for the environment.
Sokomani has worked to plant thousands of trees in schools and public areas, partnering with children’s rights activist Ondela Manjezi to form Township Farmers which works with children to teach them a love of agriculture. See The #runningtreecampaign https://www.reuters.com/video/2019/09/16/a-moving-forest-marathon-runners-strap-t?videoId=601126091
As he looks to the future, Sokomani is believing that the green industry can be a powerful creator of sustainable jobs along with its more obvious positive environmental impact, and that South Africa should lead in curbing climate change through green initiatives. — by Cayleigh Bright
Roots and Shoots is an ethical nursery, using no herbicides and working to minimize pesticide chemical use to exercise respect for the environment. Shoots and Roots Agriculture (PTY) LTD is a contract tree sapling grower/supplier to the horticultural industry, land restoration, tree rehabilitation projects, governments departments and municipalities. Shoots and Roots contract grow a wide range of tree species in three tree bag sizes. The cost of the trees is determined by bag size not by tree species type which immediately sets Shoots and Roots apart from competitors. Shoots and Roots contract grows and supply trees in 4L, 10L and 20L Tree bags. Trees need to be accessible and affordable; these bag sizes make that model a reality. We eliminate the tree sourcing struggles for trees planting organisations, making them concentrate on planning their trees planting programs and whilst we grow the trees to specification. We are committed to short term goal to start a restoring project on our farm.