Manayani (Xhosa for “we do it together”) is a leading example of a successful community owned greening project. This park is the first community park to be successfully established (in 1994) in the informal settlements of Cape Town. It remains the leading model for sustainable community based park development. It comprises 1.8 hectares of land on which are situated the following facilities:
- indigenous Cape Floral lawns, trees and groundcovers
- an open air amphitheatre used for cultural and community events.
- formal pathways, drinking fountains and benches
- a half size practice soccer field, home base for the Citi-Hilights soccer club
- a full size open air basketball court , home base for the Slik-Nikes basketball club
- a small community center with hall, toilets and store-room. This centre hosts women’s job creation projects such as a thriving sewing group and a catering initiative.
- play ground with a variety of well maintained equipment, to keep kiddies safe and off the streets after school.
- a hand painted wall mural, painted by the youth and extolling peace.
With the assistance of Abalimi, the Peace Park committee negotiated a ground breaking agreement with the Municipality, whereby the community is paid a monthly stipend to manage the park and the municipality provides capital repairs and cores services, like water and mowing. As a result, two full-time caretakers – unemployed men or women- are employed by the community at a fraction of the cost of one municipal job. This benefits Municipality, as they are overstretched already. The local community is empowered to control a vital resource and provide subsistence jobs to otherwise unemployed men and women.
The Manayanani Peace Park is also the foundation for other community initiatives that base themselves at the park, for example, a women’s’ sewing and beadwork group, sports clubs, public events and environmental youth clubs. The Manayanani peace Park, with the support of Abalimi has also been a major force behind lobbying for and building of the first- and only – Olympic size public swimming pool in Khayelitsha! This is another story. Please feel free to ask us about it.
Christina Kaba is chairperson of the Manayanani Peace Park. She is also Outreach Coordinator for Abalimi and our “township politics professor”, winner of the ‘Women of the Year 2001 Award’, and our very own ‘Green Queen’. She has been the major force for positive change in Khayelitsha and surrounds.