Manyanani (isiXhosa for “we do it together”) is a leading example of a successful community-owned greening project. This is the first community park to be successfully established and maintained in the informal settlements of Cape Town and was the result of a special partnership project called “Peace Tress South Africa”.
Youth from all over the world joined the youth of Khayelitsha for three weeks in April 1995. During this time they transformed a dry desert into the first decent community managed park in Khayelitsha. It remains the leading model for sustainable community based park development.
The park comprises 1.8 hectares of land on which the following facilities are situated :
- fully established community food garden;
- 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 for the local 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.
- playground with a variety of well maintained equipment, to keep kiddies safe and off the streets after school; and
- 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 core services, like watering 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 the 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 ground cover, shrubs and trees are indigenous Cape Flora. This was made possible by donations received from over 3 000 donors worldwide.
Christina Kaba is chairperson of the Manayanani Peace Park and CEO for Abalimi, 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.
The park is a national model and has earned a number of awards – The Green Trust-WWF environmental award 1995, the Presidents Social Forestry Award 1996 and the Woman of the Year award 2001 for its Chairperson Christina Kaba.