‘Mrs Mop’ — clean city crusader

2014-07-18 00:00

MSUNDUZI’S one-woman clean-up crusader, “Mrs Mop”, has not hung up her mop or her broom.

Well into her sixties, she is still cleaning the city, scolding litterbugs and telling the municipality what to do.

“When I talk to them, my words just flow away like water. They are not listening, but I am not giving up,” she said yesterday.

Annamaria Dumazile Cele was once a Pietermaritzburg celebrity as she cleaned up the city voluntarily. She earned the nickname “Mrs Mop” and was hailed as the city’s cleaning champion, regularly featuring in local media.

However, with changing councils and as cleaning the city becoming less of a priority, she was ignored.

Undeterred, she carried on quietly cleaning wherever she could.

She now has a shop in Railway Street, once considered an inner city slum area, which is now as neat as a pin. She plans to plant flowers around the Pietermaritzburg Railway station.

Fuming, she pointed to faded and peeled glued posters on the Unisa Campus walls saying, “I have been telling the municipality for years that we have to sort this out”.

“Mrs Mop”, who describes herself as a community activist, learnt about cleaning as a child and said these lessons stayed with her. She remains the conscience of the municipality and police.

“This week I went downtown and was shocked to see the state of the Imbali taxi rank. I contacted the municipal officials and told them to do something.

“Last week, I was at the police station telling them about the street children. I have been talking about this for years. I told the police that if we did something at that time we wouldn’t be sitting with such a big problem now,” she added.

“Mrs Mop” has not lost her passion for cleaning or her crusading spirit. She is thrilled about the Cleaning up the Capital campaign.

She said she had recently told her ward councillor Judy Lawrence they needed to talk to residents about taking pride in the city.

“I can still do a lot and I would like to sit down with the municipality and talk about what we can do to put the city right.”

She believes that a clean Msunduzi can be achieved. “One day a visitor walking through our city must wonder where he is — in Pietermaritzburg, or England or what. There are clean African cities and we must become one of them,” said “Mrs Mop”.

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