City of Joburg

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo

 

Johannesburg Zoo

 

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The suburb of Turffontein, south of Johannesburg underwent an extraordinary transformation on Thursday, 26 March as Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) executed a 12-hour Xtreme Makeover of the historic Rotunda Park.

Rotunda Park transformed in 12-hour makeover blitz
JCPZ workers installing new play equipment and laying rubberised surfaces in the new children's play area during the Xtreme Makeover of Rotunda Park.

The park, one of the largest and oldest in the city, was a hive of early morning activity as JCPZ workers and community members - with the foundations laid in advance - began an intensive, non-stop session of gardening, landscaping, installing and painting of playground equipment and outdoor furniture.

By the time most residents returned home from work, they were greeted with the sight of a completely revamped, modernised outdoor recreational space, complete with new picnic and braai facilities, benches and bins, a state-of-the-art children's play area with rubberised surfaces, a skate court and sports facilities.

One XtremePark Makeover later and a run-down, dingy inner city park had been restored to its former glory - and much more - seemingly at a stroke.

Long-time Turffontein resident Lilian Joseph said she was thrilled with the change. "I am the happiest grandmother today. I look forward to bringing my grandchildren to the park and getting together with friends."

Joseph never enjoyed passing through the park in the evenings because of the threat of muggings. This will all change now, she believes.

Shane van der Walt, who stays nearby and plays football in the park almost every day, said it was "looking awesome … If only it could stay like this, we will be very happy."

Unveiling the revamped park late in the afternoon, City of Joburg Executive Mayor Parks Tau said the aim was to enrich the suburb and through this to restore dignity to residents who felt marginalised in the southern quadrant of the city.

"This will be the future of Johannesburg, and we must celebrate the beginning of the future through Rotunda Park," Tau said, encouraging residents to take ownership of their park. He added: "I hope that this park will encourage others to make similar efforts in building communities."

By the time the Mayor left, residents could be seen strolling around admiring their new green space, while fitness fanatics got down to business on the new outdoor gym equipment, and kids wasted no time in trying out the skate court and starting up ball games on the various courts.