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Man Spends 12 Years Building Johannesburg in His Backyard from Recycled Materials

The city features a replica of the FNB stadium built during the preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Man Spends 12 Years Building Johannesburg in His Backyard from Recycled Materials
Mulalo Nego Negondeni for IE

If the mountain will not come to you, then you must go to the mountain. Such is the case with a man in Africa that decided to build a mini-city in his backyard because he could not go visit the FNB stadium built during the preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

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Mulalo Nego Negondeni, from the Mukula village in Limpopo Province in South Africa, told IE that he first saw the impressive stadium on TV and wanted desperately to go visit it. Unfortunately, his family could not afford the ticket.

Man Spends 12 Years Building Johannesburg in His Backyard from Recycled Materials
Source: Mulalo Nego Negondeni for IE

So the 26-year-old young man came up with an ingenious plan: to build a replica of the stadium in his back yard. From there on, a whole city started to slowly emerge.

At first, he used mud mixed with water but as his city started to grow, so did his creativity. He then began to use cement, soil, and waste materials such as wires, plastics, cardboard, and fabric.

Man Spends 12 Years Building Johannesburg in His Backyard from Recycled Materials
Source: Mulalo Nego Negondeni for IE

The new materials did not just make his city livelier, they were also meant to send a message about recycling and re-using waste. "I'm trying to send a message out there all over the world that we must re-use waste materials instead of throwing everything away," Negondeni told IE.

"Artists can use waste materials to create beautiful pieces especially here in Africa."

Man Spends 12 Years Building Johannesburg in His Backyard from Recycled Materials
Source: Mulalo Nego Negondeni for IE

Negondeni also added that it took him 12 years to build his city. This is because he was not satisfied with the first versions and kept destroying and rebuilding the city's structures.

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However, by 2018, he had a design that was 80% complete. Negondeni also explained that he still wants to add some new structures to his never-ending city but he is limited by space. We can't help but feel that the artist will come up with yet another ingenious solution to this limitation. Perhaps a city in his front yard?

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