PAUL NYIRENDA, Adri Brooks and Abraham Newa in one of the gardens they created and maintained at the traffic circle on the corner of Waterkloof and Rupert streets in Brooklyn. Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - All residents need self-introspection with regard to humility and personal responsibility for caring for the environment.

Adri Brooks, 48, has decided to take a stand. “To me, structuring proper walkways is the key because most of our areas do not have proper walkways; at times people are compelled to walk on roads.

“We have seen a lot of cyclists being knocked down by motorists because there are no designated spaces for them or for pedestrians, runners, and mothers with a pram.”

In this regard, Rhythm and Grace was launched earlier this year with the aim of upgrading paved pathways and spaces bordering roadsides.

“We have been getting funding to get the work done from the affected nearby residents, schools and businesses in Waterkloof, Groenkloof, Brooklyn, Muckleneuk, Sunnyside, Clydesdale, Menlo Park and areas of Waterkloof Ridge,” Brooks said.

Four years ago, she started many WhatsApp groups to alert her community of impending load-shedding schedules and safety concerns, emergencies, free recycling collections and facilitate reporting of problems with power, water, street-lights and potholes.

According to Brooks, the group also provides the opportunity to report broken fences, stolen drain covers and areas where criminals can lurk.

“What is giving me the drive to make sure that our surroundings are well kept is that I have forever been a community person. My children often ask me why I always feel the need to have answers and solutions to every problem in my community, and my answer to that if there was better communication between people, then there would be better understanding about problems and what needs to be done.

"I try to educate the people I work with that we are not here to clean up after the mess that the municipality leaves after its road projects. My mission is to clean and prepare soil with the expectation that we are going to plant there. Some of the plants we use also come as donations from communities who see the good work that we are doing.”

Brooks said she was aware of the many unemployed people in Pretoria. Therefore, she wanted to expand the project to other communities.

“Expanding Rhythm and Grace to more communities will open more job opportunities to people who are not afraid to get their hands dirty, to gain self-value and to responsibly look after environments, and those who would like to make a difference to their own lives by earning some regular income.”

Pretoria News