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Alexandra is turning a hundred. To mark the milestone, plans are being put in place to grow it as a brand and as a tourism destination.
THE Alexandra Heritage Centre and Mandela Yard are among the prominent places earmarked for redevelopment in a drive to position Alexandra as a tourism destination.

Alex100This is the objective of a project that aims to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the township, called Alex 100™. It is a joint venture between the Greater Alexandra Chamber of Commerce and Industries (GALXCOC), the Alex Youth Chamber and the City’s department of economic development.

Alex 100™ will run a range of community development initiatives throughout the year. In pushing the economic development angle, talks are under way to redevelop various legacy places that are regarded as instrumental in fast-tracking economic growth and creating job opportunities.

The heritage centre building is something of an architectural masterpiece. It is a potential tourist attraction that would create a substantial amount of jobs if it was used properly.

Developments are planned to attract potential investors and position Alex as a tourist destination, making use of its rich history, which is not adequately recorded, explains the president of GALXCOC, Mpho Motsumi.



He adds that the focus is to position Alexandra as a brand: “We want to sell this place to the world, and there are a lot of business opportunities here.”

A house that former president Nelson Mandela Former president Nelson Mandela's house is a heritage siteHowever, the project leaders have yet to acquire funds for the their plans, but Motsumi is hopeful that all the money needed will be available in time for the launch, which is planned for the end of April. “We are in the process of negotiations with the City of Johannesburg, so we are hoping that they will assist in that regard.”

A number of private organisations have also declared an interest in the project, and he discloses that the National Lottery has promised to inject money into Alex100™. “Our goal is to ensure that by the end of the celebrations, the lives of the people of Alexandra are empowered socially and economically.”

Other infrastructure upgrades are planned, including the refurbishment of the Kings Theatre, the biggest and one of the oldest theatres, and improving London Road. It is a major and very busy thoroughfare is not able to cater for the many vehicles that use it daily.

Also high on the agenda is environmental hygiene – Alexandra is known for its litter-strewn streets, and sewerage and water running on to the roads, as well as the polluted Jukskei River. The City has made it a tradition to hold annual clean-up campaigns to encourage the community to cultivate a culture of caring for the environment.




Dysfunctional: The Alex Heritage CentreDysfunctional: The Alex Heritage CentreMotsumi says GALXCOC plans to roll out educational programmes to influence people to change their mindsets. “We want this community to take ownership of their own environment to ensure that Alex is kept clean.”

Throughout the year, there will be various themes that will be talked about on community platforms. One of the topics is safety and security; residents will discuss ways of alleviating crime. Other topics will be published on the day of the project’s launch.

Cultural and sporting activities will also be staged. Well-known sports people and musicians from the township will be invited to participate. Motsumi explains that sports and cultural activities will play an instrumental role in creating social cohesion.

Young and upcoming entrepreneurs will learn business skills at a business expo planned to take place after the launch.

Any organisations interested in supporting the initiative can contact the president of GALXCOC, Mpho Motsumi, on 011 882 9516 or send an email to GALXCOC is located in the Alexsan Kopano Resource Centre in Alexandra.


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