In 1994 whilst South Africa was celebrating its emergence as a Rainbow Nation, a few thousand kilometres up the east coast of Africa in Rwanda nearly one million people were killed over a 100 day period in one of the bloodiest genocides in recent history.
Twenty years later Kigali is now one of the cleanest cities of the world and its people live in relative peace in no small part brought about by the operation Umuganda. Umuganda can be translated as ‘coming together in common purpose to achieve an outcome’.In traditional Rwandan culture, members of the community would call upon their family, friends and neighbours to help them complete a difficult task. To this day, once a month all Rwandans work together to clean their cities and by working together they have created a sense of purpose and togetherness amongst their people.
Inspired by Mayor Herman Mashaba launched A Re Sebetseng, a monthly city-wide cleaning campaign, which means “let’s work.” The campaign strives to encourage all of Johannesburg’s residents to take care of the environment; and seeks to promote a culture of reducing, re-using, and recycling our waste to ensure that Johannesburg becomes one of the cleanest cities in Africa.
In the HGC our monthly A Re Sebetseng cleanups on the Spruit and Hurlingham Park bring parents, children, residents and the homeless together to clean up our beautiful green spaces. If the horrors of genocide can be assuaged through community co-operation, what better way to fly the flag of our Rainbow Nation.
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