The Kenilworth railway station got a long-overdue clean-up and more, five weeks after the first attempt by community members was cancelled.
On Sunday 2 November, about 49 volunteers from Asez Wao (Save the Earth from A to Z, We are One), in collaboration with Prasa and the City of Cape Town, assisted with a clean-up campaign – including the removal of graffiti from the station building and surrounding fences – and the painting of a mural on the subway’s walls as part of the Kenilworth Subway Art Project.
And, if that wasn’t enough, crime-fighting also ended up on the to-do list. A resident on his way to take a minibus taxi in Harfield Road was robbed of his laptop outside the station early that morning. Witnessing the event, volunteers and Prasa staff gave chase and recovered it.
The City of Cape Town and its partners sponsored the paints, equipment and clean-up material.
Mark Kleinschmidt, the councillor for ward 60, says, in synergy with what mayor Dan Plato is doing with his Keep Cape Town Clean campaign, they are focussing on railway stations.
“Kenilworth is part of my political constituency and Ian Iversen (councillor for ward 59) is a good colleague of mine. We hope to extend these railway station clean-ups into the communities,” he says.
Kleinschmidt has been the driving force behind railway clean-ups at Athlone and Lansdowne railway stations. Next on the list is Crawford, Hazendal and Wetton.
“We have seen how the upgrading of facilities at stations restores the community’s dignity and their respect for their environment. Coming from a faith-based background, I believe the world belongs to God and everything in it belongs to Him. On that premise, we encourage communities to take ownership of their surroundings and also to leave an environmentally friendly legacy for our children,” Kleinschmidt says.
Ian Iversen, councillor for ward 59, says an outstanding job has been done. “It is a vast improvement to the subway and surrounds and I am most grateful for the work carried out by the talented volunteers,” he says. “I wish I had been there to thank the team, but although I am the ward councillor I wasn’t notified nor invited to attend the event.”
The mural was designed by Asez Wao, a group of young adults from the World Mission Society Church of God. Under the auspices of Asez, the international church group leads various clean-up projects around the world in efforts to achieve the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Precious Malete of Asez says the design of the mural supports the 16 Days of Activism campaign.
“The mural’s centrepiece shows the different stages of a woman – from birth to old age. Scissors cut through these different stages, symbolising how gender-based violence cuts short the lives of women. On the sides are the numbers 16 and 365. The message is that we must make those 16 days 365 days of the year,” Malete explains.
Community activist Henk Egberink, who was present at the clean-up cut short on Saturday 28 September, says George Kiewiets, Metrorail special project manager for the Western Cape, was as good as his word.
The earlier project was called off after safety complaints were received from Kenilworth Residents’ Association committee member Rory Moore (“Clean-up goes off the rails”, People’s Post, 8 October).
“After we were chased away from cleaning the embankment, George said he would arrange for the clean-up from Kenilworth to Wynberg station to happen with the help of youth volunteers,” says Egberink.
Earlier this year, Gail Brown and the Harfield Village community cleaned and landscaped the area from Kenilworth to Harfield Station and Bronwyn Davidson and the Rondebosch community did the same along White Road.
Egberink says the next step will be the planting of shrubs and ground covers outside Columbia Park, a flat complex, midway along the rail reserve between Kenilworth and Wynberg where a new fence has been installed.
Kiewiets expresses his gratitude for the assistance and support of Asez, Kleinschmidt, Egberink, Brown, Denzil Frans and the opportunity provided by Metrorail and Prasa Cres regional managers, and facility head of department Enver Dollie.
“The great artwork designed and painted by the youth group will continue to spread the message of creating a safer and cleaner environment for our communities,” says Kiewiets.