Scene 5: Park Clean-Up

15 November 2013


Our team wanted to do an activity in the park early on in the project to show the community that something was being done while most of the background design work was going on.  We felt that a great way to do this was a simple park cleanup.  We planned for a small workforce consisting of our team, co-researchers, Ronell and some workers from the Parks dept.  All the necessary tools and equipment was to be supplied by the Parks dept.

 Cast of Characters:

MGV Park Team: Lucine, Tyler, Katherine, Zack

Community Members: Ronell, Naiela

City of Cape Town Parks Dept. Team



It was a sunny but very blustery morning as we arrived in Perseverance Park.  Throughout the course of the day, the sky darkened and the wind increased, making it difficult to pick up rubbish and manage the trash bags.


scene 5


Soon after we arrived, a large truck bearing the City Parks Dept. logo pulled up and a team of men in work clothes got out.  Lucine explained that we were here to help them clean up the park today.  They seemed confused as to why the grass wasn’t mowed first, and explained that it would be difficult to clean up and rake without it being cut.  Our team  had not been told any specifics on the cleanup crew Jude had organized, and thus did not know what the mowing situation was.  One of the men made a phone call and stated that the mowing would take place on Monday.  Their team seemed to indicate that they would prefer to begin cleaning up on Monday after the grass was cut.  This did not really fit with our schedule so we asked if we could use their tools to get started.  They handed us one pair of gloves, a broom, and a number of plastic bags.  The truck left and we hoped that they would return with more equipment.  In the mean time we each grabbed a plastic bag and began picking up rubbish by hand.

Sometime later, after a few bags had been filled, the truck returned and provided the remaining pairs of gloves.  By this point we had managed to cover quite a bit of the park, and swept the concrete pads and the blacktop of the basketball court.  Grass had begun to grow overtop of some of the pads, and using a shovel we ripped it up and cleaned up the edges revealing that they were lined with bricks.  The remaining bench areas were raked, and the broken glass and garbage was removed.  After a quick water and snack break, it was back to work to wrap up the cleanup.  Afterwards, the truck returned and picked up the bags with a big hoist.  We looked out over the park it definitely appeared much cleaner than before and as we left, a mother and her children lay in the grass.



It felt good to be able to put work in the park to make a noticeable difference.  As we worked, people who walked by noticed what we were doing and a few even made comments to Ronell in Afrikaans.  We hope that this will be a first step in the redevelopment of the park, and one that will get the community excited and interested.