A park for the people of Marabastad

A mother and her son enjoy some shade at the park. Photo: Thato Mahlangu.

 

The park which sit on the capital city’s first township is a hit among locals and those who frequent the city.

The Marabastad Jazz Square attracts a number of people who visit the area to buy food, fresh produce and clothes from the markets scattered around Marabastad.

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The park was officially launched in 2010 by the then mayor of Tshwane Gwen Ramokgopa. The project was designed by Responsive Environmental Design.

It consists of grass berms forming an amphitheatre; a stage where outdoor jazz performances can be held; meeting spaces and areas for recreation.

Gogo Martha Mlangeni (66) said the park give her and other city frequenters a “sense of community”.

“You meet different people who want to relax after a stressful day at work or who want to pause a little from the city’s ‘noise’. You get to make new friends here and exchange more than just greetings,” she said.

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But because Marabastad is no longer a residential area, a great sense of loneliness fills the areas which has now become a business district.

“A sense of community has been robbed and there is less of social interactions between people as it used to be and the presence of children has faded,” says gogo Martha.

The lack of a residential area means crime manifests itself in great numbers where those who travel into the area are always on guard for any tsotsis who may come their way which raises safety questions among city travellers.

“Crime is a problem especially near the park ever since some of these houses were turned into business premises,” said a taxi driver Tinyiko Mboweni.

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Mboweni who has been working in the area for years said when the park was introduced he thought crime would drop.

“In fact it is on the increase though police try to patrol. It is in the early and the very late hours of the day when people get robbed at the park.”

An artist from Mamelodi Thabiso Mbewe said the park is a great place to host art events as there were fewer places in the city that he and his friends could use.

“We come to the park once a month to perform our songs and people like it. You have to see how this place and the people light up when we come and perform here,” said Mbewe.

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  AUTHOR
Thato Mahlangu
Journalist

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