First they claimed a piece of open space as their own, then they demarcated an area as a playing field before young and old from Ilitha Park played games together.
While there have been a number of protests and illegal dumping in the area recently, Saturday May 18 started differently as the Ilitha Park Residents’ Association (Ipra), partnered with the young people from the area as well as other stakeholders, in a clean-up and renovation campaign aimed at restoring neglected open spaces in their community.
The aim, said the association, was to convert these spaces into safe public facilities for the benefit of the local communities.
Association secretary Lwam Bhungane said: “This is the start of good things to come. This community has no recreational facilities for its children and halls for seniors for that matter.
“We are engaging the municipalities to help us create pools, centres for young people or soccer fields.
“We have also realised that
most of these vacant land are being sold to rich people to build blocks of flats. But that has come to
an end. We are taking our spaces back to us to benefit the community not individuals.” he told
Among the organisations which took part in the clean-up was Love Life, whose representative Themba Maseti told Vukani: “We are here to not only clean but to provide recreational games. We felt that the community has taken a good initiative.
“Our support comes in the form of games. But we also encourage a clean environment.” Also getting her hands dirty was Democratic Alliance PR councillor Vuyokazi Matanzima who encouraged people to clean their areas. “We have a lot of areas where people just dump.
“I think this is a great initiative especially that young people are involved. As community leaders and members we all have a responsibility to clean where we stay. We have an obligation to not litter. I commend the Ilitha Park Residents Association for taking such pride in their area. This is should be taken to other areas as well,” she said.