Messages from loved ones are seen next to the Civic theatre in Joburg garden of memory in Braamfontein.This is a garden where families who've lost their loved ones through road accidents csn go and write messages and remember them. Picture:Paballo Thekiso

Noni Mokati

The City of Joburg’s Garden of Healing is a place where family and friends can go to remember their loved ones who have died in road accidents.

In November, transport member of the mayoral committee Rehana Moosajee officially opened the garden situated on the Metro City premises.

The launch was attended by families who had lost their loved ones as a result of car accidents. These include the families of pupils killed during a drag racing stint by convicted hip hop gospel star Molemo Jub Jub Maarohanye and his co-accused Themba Tshabalala.

All the families present were encouraged to inscribe small messages on white pebbles scattered around a symbolic tree in the garden.

Speaking to the Saturday Star this week, Moosajee said the problem with car crashes was that they were sudden and didn’t allow loved ones to find closure or prepare themselves.

She said a disheartening factor was that the public and the media often focused on statistics and never the implications of the accident for an individual or their families.

“We never know how the families feel when all is said and done, how they survive the trauma and shock, and how people can help,” she said.

She added that the garden was a mechanism that allowed many to grieve as they wished and to relate their own experiences.

The city said after the launch that it had received positive feedback, with most families saying visiting garden was a therapeutic process for them.

Moosajee said those who paid a visit were welcome to leave messages. She said only time would tell if the concept was something that Joburg residents loved.

“If they do indeed love this we will look at rolling it out to other areas in the city. This garden is not about its physical appearance, but is a way of telling those hurting that the city acknowledges their pain and that we are here for them,” she said.