By Tebello Theledi 07 Oct 2020
Acting Director of Community Engagement at VUT Mr Joseph Norman Radebe
The VUT Community Engagement department in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Department of Arts and Culture, Sedibeng District Municipality, Emfuleni Local Municipality, Vanderbijlpark PCO and the Ubaba Oqotho Men’s Forum came together to celebrate South Africa’s unique and diverse histories and culture at the Itereleng Community Park for the VUT/Boipatong Community Engagement Heritage Project on the 24th of September 2020.
Heritage Day is celebrated annually in South Africa on September 24. The purpose of the day is to recognize and celebrate South Africa’s cultural wealth and diversity and inspire all citizens to take pride in living in a country where diversity is embraced and participation in dialogue around cultural differences is encouraged.
This year, according to the event coordinator and the Acting Director of Community Engagement at VUT Mr Joseph Norman Radebe, VUT made the extra special effort in honouring the passionate voluntary work done by the Itireleng task members.
The main activities of the day included tree planting and establishing a vegetable garden at the Boipatong Park. The Boipatong Park was previously an illegal dumping site and hub for criminal and activities and drugs, and it has now been converted to a Community Recreational Park for the Boipatong Community.
In attendance was the MEC for Social Development in Gauteng, Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi, MMC Madisebo Kgomo, Ward Counsellor, Cllr Norma Mokgobotwana and community members of Boipatong.
As part of the festivities of the day, the children from the Boipatong community heeded to the call by President Cyril Ramaphosa, to join in the Jerusalema challenge on Heritage Day. The children responded by adding creativity to the dance moves.
Counsellor Norma Mokgobotwana mentioned that this dumping site was an unpleasant area that attracted illegal activities, “Today we have come to plant trees and flowers to turn this park into a conducive environment,” she said.
As VUT reflected on and celebrated the Heritage Day, this project contributed to preserving the Ubuntu culture and heritage, which combine to shape a society or nations identity.
MEC for Social Development in Gauteng, Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi
MEC for Social Development in Gauteng, Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi, gave her perspective, “This place has been transformed beautifully, and one would not recognise that it was previously a dumping site. It’s a beautiful place that any parent would wish for their children to host their ceremonies at,” she said.
Mr Radebe indicated that the VUT Community Engagement Department will continue with its mandate of empowering vulnerable societies around Sedibeng District Municipality and thereby promoting improved service delivery and encouraging active citizenship.