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The opening of the Extreme Park at the weekend brought joy and honour to the community of Diepkloof, the mayor of Johannesburg has said.
The R4,2million multi-functional park has a soccer field, playgrounds, multi-purpose court, splash pool, landscaped lawns, park benches, concrete walkways, and an amphitheatre with a big screen.
It also houses the Vuyani Mabaxa Memorial - to remind people of the young ANC cadre who was killed by police in 1991 - and is also littered with water features. The extreme makeover of the park was done in 24 hours, which was inspired by a television series.
Luther Williamson, managing director of Johannesburg City Parks, said the park would cater to the needs of both adrenalin-seeking visitors and residents who just want to enjoy the tranquility of open space recreation.
Executive mayor Amos Masondo said the park was for the community to enjoy. He said the challenge was to maintain the momentum and an ongoing involvement of the community in the park. He said the park added to the rich struggle history of Diepkloof.
Masondo said he was humbled to be the first person to lay a wreath in the Vuyani Mabaxa Memorial. He said Mabaxa and other struggle heroes from Diepkloof should be emulated because they deepened the fight for democracy.
Njabulo Sithole, 6, Sfiso Sfiya, 5, Zakhele Shabalala, 6, and Katlego Mogamme, 8, from Zone Two in Diepkloof, said they were happy about the opening of the park and they would come and play in it after school and on weekends. They said their favourite section in the park were the swings.
Evelyn Radebe, a resident, said she would come to the park to relax and her five grandchildren would have a safe place to play in.
Landiwe Nkosi said the park was a great initiative and she would protect it. "The patrols by our brothers at night will look after it and I will see when there is a problem and call the police because I live next to it."
Thinene Aphane, who lives opposite the park and owns Like Mama kitchen, said the park was a good idea for the community and she hoped it would be good for her business.
Aphane said she would look after the park. "This used to be an open space and people used to be robbed here. With this big change I feel safer. If I see nonsense I will not hesitate to take action to protect the park."
Sifiso Nxumalo, owner of Buhlalo Pap and Stew, said the park was long overdue and felt good that it had finally been built and it would be good for his business.
Nxumalo said as a young person he does not think other young people would vandalise the park. "This is not the first park, other parks have not been vandalised. They will not vandalise this one."
Eslinaa Mabaxa, mother of Vuyani Mabaxa, an ANC member honoured with the memorial site inside the park, said she was glad that his son is being recognised. "Though it is painful to lose a child, I am happy that the ANC is honouring him."