Witsies, members of Wits Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO), the City of Johannesburg and community members got down and dirty to clean up the streets of Braamfontein for the #AReSebesteng clean-up campaign on Saturday, September 30.
Volunteers and members of Johannesburg Metro Police cleaned outside Noswall Hall and around Bertha Street, picking up even the smallest items, like cigarette butts, and pulling out weeds.
First-year BA general student, Neo Makobo, who passed by during the clean-up said, “Braam is dirty and we want cleanliness, I think this concept should be encouraged broadly.” She was not aware that the clean-up was taking place around Braamfontein on Saturday, but seeing the volunteers encouraged her to join next time.
Chahracan Amod, Councillor of Ward 60 in Johannesburg, said that the volunteer campaign “strives to encourage residents to take care of the environment by promoting a culture of reducing, re-using and recycling of waste to ensure that Johannesburg becomes one of the cleanest cities in Africa”.
He added that by taking part in this initiative, Johannesburg residents can connect with one another while creating a space that they can be proud of. “Cleanliness is not next to godliness, cleanliness is godliness, and we need to encourage especially young people to take back the city collectively,” he said.
The monthly campaign was launched by Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba last month. A Re Sebetseng, which means “let’s work”, is based on the African Clean Cities initiative established in Maputo, Mozambique, in April 2017.
Economic growth and increasing populations mean African cities are facing growing waste issues, one of the initiative’s partner organisations, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, said in a press statement. The African Clean Cities initiative aims to provide support in solving waste issues so that cities are able to achieve healthy living conditions and grow in an environmentally sustainable way, it added.
South Africa is not part of the 24 African signatories to the initiative.
Mashaba noted that he was also inspired by how clean Rwanda is and he said that country’s initiatives had influenced the A Re Sebetseng campaign. “I am a strong supporter of a model that promotes the city’s residents as the agents of change,” he wrote in the Daily Maverick.
Floyd Nyalungu, campaign manager for Daso Wits, encouraged more students to join the campaign to ensure a cleaner Johanneburg. “It’s an open invitation and everybody, not only Daso members should join,” he said.
The next clean-up will take place on Saturday, October 28, and the last Saturday of every month after that.
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