Volunteers clean up Voortrekker Monument
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Pretoria - Tshwane heritage and recreational sites will need some attention from the community to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This was the sentiment shared by volunteers who convened at the Voortrekker Monument on Human Rights Day to clean up the site that has been in a dire financial position since the pandemic.
Leading the teams were councillors Shaun Wilkinson and Leon Kruyshaar, together with local pastors, who invited people from across South Africa to break the stigma that the monument was a place for the affluent white population.
Staff from the monument worked hand in hand with the volunteers, including members of the World Mission Society Church of God., who wanted to spend Human Rights Day doing something positive and beneficial to the Tshwane tourism industry, which has been trying to recover from the dire impact of the lockdown restrictions.
Wilkinson said: “The City of Tshwane has been falling behind, because, honestly, it has so much to do on its plate.
“We decided as a people to work together and clean up this important heritage site, and show that we know and understand the dire financial situation it finds itself in right now.
“We understand that Tshwane heritage and recreational sites need people and tourists to go and spend money, but, for that to happen, as society we need to get together and help them recover.
“The pandemic has been hard on these important sites. We need to do our bit to help them cut their costs where we can.
“That is why I’m particularly proud to have worked with members of the World Mission Society Church of God., who have done more than 25 clean-up campaigns across the City’s tourism sites. That is impressive, and it shows that as people we can come together and do positive work.
“Seeing an elderly African woman and her child coming to the monument to help clean it up filled my spirit with joy, because we also want to show that this heritage site is for everyone.”
Esmeralda Springbok from the Voortrekker Monument said the national lockdown had a massive economic impact on the heritage site and tourism in general in South Africa.
She said the site mostly worked with schools, which used to come by bus to the site on a weekly basis before Covid-19 struck.
Their biggest supporters, and an important source of revenue that they had lost, were Chinese tourists, who constantly visited the monument. They could be seen daily taking pictures and spending money in the restaurant, and having a good time with the people and learning about the history of South Africa.
One of the day’s volunteers was Sello Khumalo, who said he partici-
pated in the campaign to promote diversity and tolerance.
He said preserving heritage was comparable to preserving history, and history was important to help people know where they are going and where they had come from.