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Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo

Johannesburg Zoo


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There's a City Parks activity taking place near you on Friday - show your greener side and get involved for Mandela Day 2015!

Mandela Day: join City Parks, go green, get involved!
A candle burns in front of the Nelson Mandela mural in Thokoza Park ahead of the late struggle icon's birthday on Saturday, 18 July. View larger image

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) has called on the city's residents to use the opportunity of Nelson Mandela Day 2015 to take ownership of their public spaces and get involved in keeping them clean and green.

City Parks and Zoo will be holding a range of Mandela Day cleaning and greening activities across the city between 9am and 3pm on Friday, 17 July, and has invited Joburgers to pick the one closest to where they live or work and join in.

JCPZ launched its Mandela Day programme on Wednesday, 15 July in Thokoza Park, where Nelson Mandela himself planted a tree and unveiled a mural in 2008.

Speaking at the launch, Councillor Mahlomola Kekana, Chief Whip Section 79, said Mandela Day provided a wonderful opportunity to get residents talking and working together.

"We talk about building social cohesion, and Mandela Day does exactly that, as it affords us the opportunity to come together for a common good," Kekana said.

Councillor Mahlomola Kekana
Councillor Mahlomola Kekana, accompanied by Ward 33 Councillor Ronald Phamodi, speaks at the launch in Thokoza Park. View larger image

"This year, to commemorate Mandela Day, Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo will be tackling clean-ups, improving open spaces and working with communities to end hunger through food gardens."

Friday's programme of activities ranges from removing alien vegetation, weeding, pruning and tree planting to beautifying flower beds, developing food gardens and, in South Hills, building a Mini Xtreme Park.

Kekane told the gathering of dignitaries, local veterans, school kids and community members at Thokoza Park that by working together, everyone would be able to create a greener, more beautiful Soweto.

Children from a local creche
Children from a local creche get ready to perform for the crowd. View larger image

"It is unacceptable that one-third of our budget, which includes our rates and taxes, is directed to picking up litter and repairing vandalized parks. Let us work together in keeping our parks clean, free from litter, vandalism and degradation."

Percy Seale, Stakeholder Liaison for Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo, said the agency aimed to commemorate Mandela through taking action, inspiring change and making a difference.

"It is important that the community members know about the various activities that will be taking place for Mandela Day to ensure there is community involvement," Seale said.

Children from a local creche
Percy Seale, Stakeholder Liaison for Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo, is happy to be upstaged by the kids. View larger image

"Mandela Day belongs to everyone and can take place anywhere. By giving a little of your time, you make a difference to the life of someone else."

Wednesday's launch was attended by children from a local crèche, who treated the gathering to a performance of a song about the icon before releasing white balloons in his honour. A candle was lit before the Mandela mural to mark the end of the launch.

International Nelson Mandela Day has been celebrated on the late struggle icon's birthday, 18 July, every year since it was launched on 18 July 2009 following a unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly.

It was inspired by a call that Mandela made a year earlier, for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world's social injustices, when he said that "it is in your hands now".