Twin Avengers working to save Earth

Umhlatuzana twins, Joshua and Ezra Lazarus, are breaking new ground in the Shift to Thrift space - promoting care for the planet by reducing, recycling and reusing everything from clothing to dishes to baby goods

Joshua and Ezra Lazarus

Published Feb 15, 2024

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Umhlatuzana twins, Joshua and Ezra Lazarus, are breaking new ground in the Shift to Thrift space - promoting care for the planet by reducing, recycling and reusing everything from clothing to dishes to baby goods.

Encouraged by social entrepreneur Kiru Naidoo, who manages the Saturday night and Sunday community markets at Depot Road School in Bayview, the seven-year-old boys have emptied out their toy cupboard, and shipped their prized collection to the market to earn cash.

"Maybe some kid will like my skateboard," croons Joshua, sporting a smile through sprouting front teeth.

Ezra adds that their robot men might be hard to part with.

The boys will sign up as vendors - like any other small business at the market - and take their space among the 40 or so regular traders.

"These are tough times for everybody and we need to teach our children from early on that better than job hunting is creating one's own business," said Naidoo.

Shift to Thrift encourages South Africans to adopt a more mindful approach towards consumption, rethinking choices from clothing and dishes to baby goods. Instead of opting for regular retail outlets, Joshua and Ezra advocate for shopping at flea markets, charity stores, and online platforms that promote second-hand goods.

The environmental movement not only aims to reduce waste but also looks to support local economies and build a sense of community.

Naidoo sees the impact of the duo's mission to drive positive change at grassroots level. In addition to shopping at their weekend Chatsworth markets, he points to the hospice shops in Silverglen and Pinetown, the SPCA stores in Kloof, Springfield and Durban North as well as the charity outlets at the Phoenix Youth Centre and St Giles Home in the Durban city centre.

"I wore pre-loved clothes for a year to make a statement that cotton pollutes the planet more than plastic but I had to draw the line at underwear," chuckled Naidoo.

He is confident that the Lazarus lads will inspire meaningful change and do their bit to build a more sustainable future for generations to come. For further information, call Naidoo at 082 940 8163.