City of Joburg

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo

 

Johannesburg Zoo

 

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Joburgers turned out in their droves on Friday and Saturday, 17 and 18 July, to pitch in and help Joburg City Parks and Zoo staffers in a range of cleaning and greening activities held across the city.

Jozi shows its greener side on Mandela Day 2015
City Parks staffers join community members in creating a food garden at Ekujabulweni Kwabadala Daycare Centre in Soweto. View larger image

The programme started on Friday at the Zoo, where schoolchildren from a local orphanage were treated to an outing with a difference. The kids not experienced the Zoo, but also got to mix with dignitaries and celebrities as e.tv's flagship morning programme Sunrise broadcast live from the Zoo.

Later in the morning, Executive Mayor Parks Tau spearheaded a cleanup along Vincent Tshabalala Road and the Juksei River in Alexandra, where City Parks partnered with the Greater Alexandra Chamber of Commerce in removing weeds, cutting grass and creating landscape features along the road.

At Sizanane Day Care Centre in Braamfischerville, Soweto, community members joined City Parks in painting playground equipment and carrying out an Xtreme makeover of the centre's food garden.

The programme covered every city region: a vegetable garden for destitute children was developed in Claremont, a Mini Xtreme Park was created in South Hills, a Drug and Alcoholics Anonymous Centre got a facelift in Lenasia, and the De Wetshof Old Age Home in Rhodes Park had its weeds removed and trees pruned.

Joburg City Parks and Zoo MD Bulumko Nelana
Joburg City Parks and Zoo MD Bulumko Nelana talks about the importance of Mandela Day on e.tv's morning programme Sunrise, broadcast live from the Zoo on 17 July. View larger image

And on Mandela Day itself, Saturday 18 July, City Parks and Zoo joined a number of other City agencies and departments, NGO loveLife, Jozi FM, Sweet Kasi Vibes and scores of local community members, in a major sprucing up and refurbishing of Ekujabulweni Kwabadala Daycare Centre in Orlando East, Soweto.

By the time the morning's activities were over, Ekujabulweni Kwabadala - in isiZulu, "Place of Happiness for the Aged" - had been completely repainted, had its plumbing fixed, and boasted a brand new food garden and 50 new beds. Ward 31 Councillor Bongani Dlamini said the City could not have chosen a better place to celebrate Mandela's birthday.

"He taught us to be selfless and to take care of the weak and the elderly. I want to thank everyone who played a part in making today a success," Dlamini said.

Speaking at the launch of City Parks' Mandela Day programme at Thokoza Park on Wednesday, Councillor Mahlomola Kekana, Chief Whip Section 79, said Mandela Day provided a wonderful opportunity to get residents talking and working together.

City Parks and Zoo staffers join in cleaning up the Jukskei River
City Parks and Zoo staffers join in cleaning up the Jukskei River bordering Alexandra. View larger image

"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.

Percy Seale, Stakeholder Liaison for Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo, said 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."

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".