‘Make every day Mandela Day’ — deputy minister

2017-07-26 06:02
PHOTO: Makhosandile zuluPlanting a tree at a community garden in Eastwood to commemorate Nelson Mandela Day (from left) ANC chief whip Truman Magubane, Eastwood war room chairperson Mzwandile Goge, Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs Barbara Thompson and area councillor Mike Amod.

PHOTO: Makhosandile zuluPlanting a tree at a community garden in Eastwood to commemorate Nelson Mandela Day (from left) ANC chief whip Truman Magubane, Eastwood war room chairperson Mzwandile Goge, Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs Barbara Thompson and area councillor Mike Amod.

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THE Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Barbara Thomson, led and participated in the commemoration of Nelson Mandela Day on Tuesday by donating educational toys, books and opening a resource centre for the JC Joshua Pre-Primary School in Eastwood, Pietermaritzburg.

The minister’s commemoration also included honouring senior citizens from Eastwood and Panorama, as well as Eastwood’s 45 volunteers who have helped to rid the area of many illegal dumping sites since the minister donated working tools in April.

“I want to challenge the senior citizens by asking them to buy the cheapest, or a book they can afford whenever they receive their monthly pension, a book which they would then donate to the JC Pre-Primary School,” Thomson said.

She said communities should thrive to spread the message that every day should be Mandela Day and questioned pastors on how they could gather at their respective churches in the name of God yet be seemingly ignorant to the reality that someone will go without a plate of food on that Sunday.

“God would want us to look after his people. Why do we have so many orphans out there? Because we do not look after one another. Mandela stood for the caring of others,” the minister said.

She advised senior citizens from Eastwood and Panorama to work as a collective when seeking to develop their respective groups.

“Senior citizens have a lot to do and to teach to the next generation, we need to play our role as senior citizens, even if it means changing one person’s life every month that will be enough,” she said.

The area’s war room chairperson Mzwandile Goge said since most of the dumping sites had been cleared, the next move will be to initiate sustainable recreational programmes on those sites.

“The problem is that after a dumping site has been cleaned up, three days later something happens,” he said.

Goge said a green project that involves the local elderly who meet every Wednesday to plant and maintain a vegetable garden has been initiated. He added that produce from the garden will be donated to needy families.

Other projects on the cards include starting a garden of indigenous plants in a cleared illegal dump site in an area known as “e-Slabini” in Cinderella, and opening up a bicycle track in Eastwood.

“We want our community to be environmentally stable and conscious in two years time,” Goge said.

The Eastwood (Ward 34) councillor, Mike Amod, said the area’s 45 volunteers is proof that voluntary work is an ongoing culture in the area and lives beyond Nelson Mandela Day.

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