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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Trees blossom for Madiba

Nelson Mandela turned 89 yesterday, and to mark the occasion 89 trees were planted at Thokoza Park. Another sapling will be added each year on the day.

THE 89 young trees planted in honour of former president Nelson Mandela swayed gaily in the breeze and the colourful ribbons tied around them fluttered gently, much like they were doing the Madiba jive, the political icon's famous dance.

Near by, children from Henley Primary School in Rockville, Soweto, crooned a song specially dedicated to Madiba, lending a celebratory atmosphere to an otherwise quiet Thokoza Park.

Addressing guests who included Nthato Motlana, a trustee of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and the acting managing director of City Parks, Geoffrey Cooke, Oscar Oliphant, the unit's senior manager of media liaison, said 18 July was a special day in the life of all South Africans and the world at large.

"Today we are celebrating the life of one of South Africa's finer sons, Madiba. Also, today we are gathered here to plant 89 trees, a symbolic gesture to mark Madiba's 89th birthday," he said.

City Parks would add one tree every year as Madiba grew older, according to Oliphant. "None of us know when we will stop planting the trees for Madiba, though."

Echoing Oliphant's words, Cooke said the planting of a tree epitomised strength and longevity. "We at City Parks are humbled in enrooting Nelson Mandela's beliefs in making the world a healthier, more peaceful and more environmentally friendly earth for generations to come."

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