AS SOUTH AFICANS come together to honour the late Tata Madiba on 18 July, when Mandela Day is commemorated each year, each person works to do good.
In Orlando West in Soweto, a group of individuals and organisations are working to clean the neighbourhood- the Kliprivier river and an illegal dumping spot.
Organised by the City of Johannesburg (Pikitup and the Department of Water and Sanitation) and spearheaded by Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba, along with various sponsors, the clean-up is also an opportunity to distribute 30 Qhubeka Bicycles to a group of youth, women and men who are passionate about the environment and spend their spare time voluntarily cleaning up and monitoring illegal dumping zones.
“It’s wonderful to see people of all ages and backgrounds coming together to do good work in the memory of our late former president, Nelson Mandela,” says Qhubeka Executive Director Tsatsi Phaweni.
“At Qhubeka, public private partnerships are something we get excited about, and we love the chance to see them in action. We’re also excited to be distributing 30 bicycles to the clean-up volunteers from Emaplatini Heritage Site, who do this regularly.
The Qhubeka Bicycles, funded by grassroots fundraising from our corporate partners, Dimension Data and Deloitte, will help the volunteers to travel faster, to carry more at one time, and to patrol the dumping sites more easily.”
Chairman of Pikitup, Bheki Shongwe, highlights that it’s important to do great things every day – not just on Mandela Day. “Greatness is not for one day; it’s for all the days of our lives,” he says. “What is being done here today should be done in all communities in South Africa to make sure that the country that we love so much lives up to its potential.”
Frans Ngcobo, Co-Founder of Emaplatini Heritage Site, says the Qhubeka Bicycles are “empowerment in disguise”.
He explains that many tourists visit the area, which is along Soweto’s heritage route, but that there is a problem with illegal dumping, which causes health hazards.
“The area is huge, so we need to patrol it to guard against illegal dumping,” he says. “The bicycles will help us to do that.”