Clean-up campaign hits Pretoria streets

Friday, July 11, 2014
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria – Officials from the Department of Arts and Culture rolled up their sleeves on Friday to pay tribute to South Africa’s liberation icon.

In partnership with the City of Tshwane, representatives from the department took their cleaning campaign to the vicinity of the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, where former President Nelson Mandela spent three months receiving treatment for a recurring lung infection.

The campaign did not just stop there – officials picked up litter around Sunnyside as well as in Steve Biko, Troye, Hamilton, Cilliers, Leyds, Bourke and Wessels Streets.

Speaking to SAnews at the hospital entrance, Director General at the department, Sibusiso Xaba, said: “One of the values that [Mandela] introduced not only to South Africans but to the world, was the value of service; serving other people and not expecting anything in return.

“We thought it would be important for us to begin to do those things that demonstrate his values through cleaning up the streets of Tshwane [and] the hospital to demonstrate what we are going to be doing next week Friday in the various communities.

“I want to believe that through what we’ve established today, we are going to see South Africa becoming cleaner.”

Xaba said they chose the hospital because it held a special place in the collective memory of South Africa and the world.

“Remember this is the health facility where our late President spent his last days. To us, this hospital is crucial in terms of a build up towards the Nelson Mandela Day, hence we are here to commemorate his legacy through cleaning.”

Hospital manager James Breedt said they were moved by the gesture.

“As the hospital, we are inspired by the department’s clean-up campaign. This will encourage the whole community towards a cleaner South Africa. We are very excited and we strongly believe that going forward, this should be a way of living.

“As staff and the doctors, we are strongly influenced by the Mandela slogan, ‘Take Action. Inspire change. Make Every Day a Mandela Day’.”

Every year on 18 July, South Africans, together with the international community, honour the former President through embracing his values. This is done through honouring his legacy through humanitarian acts and initiatives that acknowledge his never-ending quest to change the world for the better.

The theme for this year’s Mandela Day is ‘Dedicate 67 minutes To Clean South Africa’. This year's Nelson Mandela International Day is particularly symbolic for South Africans, as it is the first one since his passing.

It offers South Africans and the world, an occasion to honour the ethos of Mandela in the year that also marks South Africa's 20 Years of Freedom.

In his State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma encouraged all South Africans to dedicate 67 minutes of their time to cleaning up South Africa. - 

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