Seen through fresh eyes, the city glows

2012-11-07 00:00

As an ex resident of PMB and avid reader of the Witness online, I thought that I would provide a fresh perspective following my brief visit back last month (definitely not long enough!), to see close friends and special “little” people, after a four and half years absence.

I anticipated returning to an even more run down, disorganised City and Province than I had last experienced, mainly due to comments received from ex and present residents, articles read, comments on your Face Book site and the general world malaise.

I had no expectation of growth and improvement, which is what I saw.

The growth and development on my drive from King Shaka airport to the N3 Toll and beyond blew me away.

However, what was a greater surprise was growth and development that has occurred in Pietermaritzburg, which is apparent as soon as one reaches its outskirts from Ashburton.

Yes, the mall was there four years ago and it has grown, but so had all the other shopping areas and business areas that I visited, and I discovered new development sites.

Basic services were running better than previously experienced, subsequently read about, and then anticipated. Blackouts were not experienced, as I had previously, though I am aware this is not the case citywide. Rubbish was being collected and the city is cleaner! No, it is not as clean as Perth, but it is a lot cleaner than it was four years ago, and this includes the inner city even on a day when there was a march to Parliament!

I was also surprised at the continued and improved protection of treasured buildings. It was wonderful seeing the renovations, particular after the dreadful fire, and the eventual use after all of these years of the magnificent Colonial Building.

The new monument, on the outskirts of the city, namely the Nelson Mandela Sculpture at the capture site, is incredible. Wow.

Maintenance and the use of the city’s wonderful facilities such as the Parliament (I was lucky to finally have a personal tour around this wonderful building and seat of democracy), the Tatham art gallery, the museum, and the continuation of such wonderful traditions as the open gardens and concerts at the City Hall and Botanical Gardens, were great to see.

Pietermaritzburg is still a city that it is loved and protected by its people, vibrant and colourful and full of community spirit. It is not perfect, and yes, there still a lot to be done. However the improvement and growth was a surprise and I thought I should open your eyes to what changes have occurred and say well done.

I hope I can visit again soon, and not have to wait another four years. I am looking forward to coming back to a city and province, which continues to be maintained and experience growth.


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