Joe Marks Boulevard unveiled

2015-05-05 06:00

Motorists in Retreat and Lavender Hill may have noticed some change during this week after a popular road has been renamed after struggle activist Joseph ‘Joe’ Marks.

Residents and family of Marks gathered on the corners of Prince George Drive and Concert Boulevard on Wednesday 22 April when Concert Boulevard was renamed to Joe Marks Boulevard.

Renamed on what would have been the struggle activist’s 79th birthday, family and residents were happy to celebrate the occasion.

Lavender Hill Civic Association chairperson Charles Daniels says he is pleased the renaming finally took effect after initially being proposed during 2013.

“We are glad that the work of Marks is being recognised in this manner. At first we thought this would not happen but are so grateful that it has finally taken shape,” Daniels said.

In an address by Marks’ daughter, Charlin Marks, she said her father instilled in her and her siblings to “love one another”.

“He always told us that ‘you are the best, and to achieve great things you have to do better’,” she said.

She added her father had a passion for education even though he only attained grade 7. “I can remember he always helped me with my geography and history homework. And although he only attained standard five, he gave us the real story of our history – even though this is still not reflecting in our history books today,” she said.

The family attested to the fact that Marks would always put his community first in everything he did.

Although Marks worked in government for a many years and was earning a good salary, he refused to move away from Lavender Hill, Charlin recalled of her father.

“Many people do not know this, but the only thing my father ever truly bought for himself of his salary was his car. The rest was ploughed back into the community,” she says.

“He could have even left the area and lived somewhere else but he refused to leave his community behind and continued living in Orrel Laan for 42 years.”

Mayor Patricia de Lille said Marks was an activist and servant worthy of being honoured.

“His contribution is vividly remembered by many who expressed their support. Many remember him as being an advocate for the poor and for social issues,” De Lille said.

She added that with the unveiling of Joe Marks Boulevard, they “remember a man who worked tirelessly to serve his community in any way he could. We believe it is fitting to honour his life’s work.”

Recently-elected ward 72 councillor Kevin Southgate said the occasion was a memorable occasion for the community.

“Marks was an inspiration to many of us as young people. He always encouraged us to be sincere community activists who placed the community first.

“Today is a fitting way to honour a man who was a pioneer, a selfless servant of the community and a true catalyst for change,” Southgate said.


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