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It's been a busy week at City Parks – two new parks were launched in Zola, in Soweto, and the countdown to Nelson Mandela’s birthday began.
CITY Parks unveiled two new parks in Zola, in Soweto, and also took the opportunity to begin counting down to Nelson Mandela Day.

 

MMC Matshido Mfikoe plants a tree to mark the opening of two parks in ZolaMMCs Ros Greeff and Matshido Mfikoe plants a tree to mark the opening of two parks in ZolaThe member of the mayoral committee for environment, Matshidiso Mfikoe, was greeted by a crowd of energized children who packed a tent at Nxumalo Park, along with residents who were eagerly awaiting the launch of the parks.
 

Mfikoe officially opened Njongo and Nxumalo parks on 17 May, a day before the local government elections. She also launched the “60 days to Mandela Day” campaign ahead of Mandela’s 93rd birthday on 18 July.

Following a welcome from ward councillor Siphiwe Zulu, attendees – among them members of the mayoral committee, members of the section 79 environment committee, and City officials – proceeded to Njongo Park, where a ceremonial tree was planted and a plaque unveiled to mark its official opening.

The group then returned to Nxumalo Park, where the crowd was entertained by dance groups, poets and school groups from Isu’lihle Senior Primary School, Ezibukweni Junior Primary School, Sivuleleni Junior Primary School and Vusisizwe Junior Primary School. A local theatre group also performed.

 

Children enjoy swingsChildren enjoy swingsMfikoe spoke to the gathered residents, before a ceremonial tree planting and plaque unveiling. And then it was time for play, with a scurry of young children racing towards the brightly painted playground equipment in what was surely the highlight of the day for them.
 


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Play
Immune to the magnitude of the event – a day when the first parks opened in the neighbourhood – the children ran around their new play area, inspecting every detail and climbing on every piece of equipment.

A replica lion and rhino gave them a taste of the wildlife of South Africa.

The two parks were recently completed by City Parks and include playground equipment with rubberized surfacing, mini soccer fields, braai facilities, a recycling station, indigenous trees, landscaped lawns, paved walkways, fencing, irrigation systems, signage and concrete sculptures.

Njongo and Nxumalo parks would cater for people who lived adjacent to these open spaces, Mfikoe said. “These two parks were developed at just under R3,7-million [and] are just over 7 000 square metres and 14 300 square metres, respectively, and have generated over 45 jobs to benefit residents.”

City Parks had also started its countdown to Nelson Mandela Day, which is observed globally, Mfikoe said.

 

A raplica of a rhino at the parkA raplica of a rhino at the park“Annually, City Parks is undated with requests by businesses and residents to assist volunteers who would like to participate in a tree planting, or a park or river clean-up. This year, we are launching our 60 days to the 67 minutes campaign as from tomorrow.”
 


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Nelson Mandela Day
She explained: “City Parks will make available seven projects in various parts of the city and businesses and residents can donate trees or participate in a park upgrade or clean-up campaign.”

Noting that this event would likely be her last as the head of environment and corporate shared services, Mfikoe said: “I really want to say that I thoroughly enjoyed playing my part in helping to change the landscape of areas such as Soweto for the better.”

As a Soweto resident, she was proud to say that she had access to these services that had contributed to bettering her life and the lives of those around her. “This park is testimony to all the good that has happened in Soweto in recent years.”

To participate in the Nelson Mandela Day projects, call 011 712 6600.

“We once again appeal to you to take care of this facility,” Mfikoe said, mentioning to parents to ask children to value the park. “Keep it clean, green and free from vandalism.”

 

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