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City Parks held its first Corporate Greening Concert to highlight climate change after officially opening the musical fountain at Pioneer Park.
ON a wet, cold Sunday evening, the refurnished Pioneer Park Musical Fountain was lit up with blue and yellow fireworks, as Executive Mayor Amos Masondo switched on the lights to declare the park officially open.


Executive mayor Amos MasondoExecutive mayor Amos Masondo opens the new Pioneer ParkHe also ushered in the inaugural Corporate Greening Concert, held to raise awareness of climate change. The crowd applauded as the mayor shook hands with his colleagues after officially declaring the event open.

Joining Masondo was the member of the Joburg mayoral committee for the environment and corporate services, Matshidiso Mfikoe; the member for development and urban planning, Roslynn Greeff; and the acting managing director of City Parks, Geoffrey Cooke.

It was held at the Wemmer Pan Amphitheatre on Sunday, 20 March, the eve of Human Rights Day. Pioneer Park falls under City Parks, which also hosted the concert.

Masondo also planted a ceremonial tree. As if the heavens were also in a celebratory mood, it heavily rained moments after he turned the shovel. “A blessing from above,” he said.

The event was hosted by City Parks in conjunction with Kaya FM and the Gauteng provincial government. It was attended by corporations and companies who support the Greening Joburg initiative.

“Today I feel blessed, opening the first Corporate Greening Concert to combat climate change and opening the magical Pioneer Park Musical Fountain on the eve of Human Rights Day,” said Masondo.


Reveller dance away the rain Revellers dance away the rainReflecting on the work done by a democratic City council, he said: “I wonder if you recall Soweto in 1994.The roads were dusty, the streets were bare of greenery, and parks were generally non-existent. Johannesburg today when looked at from outer space resembles a rain forest.”

It may be one of the most treed cities in the world, he added. “We have over 10 million trees.”

Although Masondo praised the work already done in terms of greening the city, he acknowledged that a lot of work still lay ahead. “The benefit and distribution of these initiatives is far from equitable.”

The Corporate Greening Concert, which will be an annual event, is part of the City’s Bridging the Green Divide initiative aimed at overcoming the greening disparities. The northern suburbs are traditional green and treed, while the southern suburbs were dusty and neglected.

“At the end of 2010, Johannesburg came second among 23 cities that entered a Liveable Communities awards competition that was held in London,” said Masondo.

Among other City projects that participated in the international competition, were the Dorothy Nyembe Environmental Education Centre, Ivory Park and Moroka Wetlands.

In addition, to date City Parks has planted more than 200 000 trees.


The musical FountainsThe Musical Fountains are quite a sight to behold at night“I have always maintained that businesses that adopt a green ethos, are smart businesses and I urge you to foster a culture of reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink in your organisation,” added Masondo. “It is these small interventions to mitigate the impact of climate change [that] can generate bigger returns, including increased productivity in organisations.”

Echoing his sentiments, Mfikoe said the City would continue working with all stakeholders to ensure that it achieved its vision of building a world-class African city.

She said: “It is only right for our people to enjoy these beautiful recreational spaces. We are encouraged as the City to see our people enjoying the fruits of living in a democratic South Africa … Characterised by its beautiful lake, Pioneers Park Musical Fountain is surely one of the most beautiful establishments in the city.”

Highlighting the refurbishments to the park, she said the amphitheatre area had been re-landscaped and paved, new trees had been planted and some had been pruned back. Laser lighting and an ablution block had been installed, and a viewing deck constructed. A permanent stage would be erected, to be complemented by a 24-hour security presence.

Entertainment on the night was varied, with people enjoying performances by acclaimed South Africa artists. The most highly-anticipated artist of the night was Theo Kgosinkwe, who mesmerised the audience with tracks from his latest album, including the much-loved, Pap ‘n Vleis.

Jazz lovers were also catered for, with an electrifying performance from Selaelo Selota. Other artists who performed were Loyiso Bala, Bryce Anderson, the Grammy-award winning Soweto Gospel Choir, Denim, and the Joburg hip-hop group Volatile.

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