Ricochet News

Eastern Cape communities help to beautify national roads

Dec 16, 2017
Eastern Cape communities help to beautify national roads

A community involvement initiative which sought to both uplift and inspire ownership of the recently rehabilitated R410 national road between Lady Frere and Quiba, in the Eastern Cape, encouraged approximately 36 primary, secondary and high school pupils to hone their artistic skills and beautify over 40 dilapidated bus stops in the area.

Twelve schools located along the route participated in a bus stop mural competition hosted by the South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Ltd (SANRAL). Pupils were provided with the materials and tools needed to design and paint the bus stops and traffic calming and safety measures were put in place on the days that the painting took place.

“Forty-four bus stops located within the project limits that were found to be in poor condition, were included in the initiative. Competition participants were given a timeframe in which to complete the murals and the winning murals were selected by the Project Engineer, Project Manager and contractor,” Mbulelo Peterson, SANRAL Southern Region Manager said.

First place went to Bathandwa Ndondo Senior Secondary School located in Mnxe Village, Cala, whose bus stop mural is situated at km48.6 along the route. The winning mural’s school received a R1000 cash prize.

Second place went to Nompumelelo Junior Secondary School, situated in Percy Village, Lady Frere and third place was won by Ntlalontle Junior Secondary School, located in Lady Frere. Second and third place received R750 and R250 respectively.

“I am so proud of how well the children at our school do in visual art as a subject. The children are so happy they won. The money will be used to buy material for painting,” Busisiwe Gqweta, principal of Bathandwa Senior Secondary School said.

Sibaphiwe Manyingiza, a Grade 12 learner at Bathandwa said this was the first time he participated in a competition. “This was such a wonderful experience. Winning the competition means so much to us,” he said.

Another Grade 12 learner, Mthetho Matomela, dreams of being a professional artist one day. “I am so happy that we won. I want to study art after high school,” he said.

Buhle Gomba, a Grade 11 learner says he is passionate about art. “We need more people to come to our school and work with us on art projects. This was the second time I entered an art competition. I am so happy that we won,” he said.

“This initiative assisted the community to take ownership of the facilities that they make use of on a daily basis, and will hopefully ensure that the bus stops are not vandalised in the future. The finished bus stops add to the aesthetic of the completed road and beautify the area through which this portion of the R410 traverses,” Peterson said.

A recurring theme among the murals was one of road safety, which is indicative of the impact that such a road has on local communities. “It is hoped that the completion of this project, including the safety improvements that were undertaken, will contribute to improved road safety for those that live and work along this section of the National Route R410,” Peterson added.

This community involvement initiative followed the completion of SANRAL’s periodic road maintenance project on National Route R410 between Lady Frere and Quiba. The approximately R60 million road maintenance project included periodic maintenance on existing roads in the area which were showing signs of deterioration in the form of potholes, cracking and stone loss.  Road safety signage and pedestrian safety measures were also improved.

“SANRAL is looking to implement similar community involvement initiatives across the region,” Peterson concluded. 

Image: WINNING MURAL: Bathandwa Ndondo Senior Secondary School, Mnxe Village, Cala, received the first prize of R1000 for their murals on the sides of a bus stop along the national route R410 between Lady Frere and Quiba in the Eastern Cape. Principal Busisiwe Sidumo-Gqweta (left), art teacher Sakhisizwe Ntwana visited one of the winning murals the learners painted. Some of the learners who painted the mural were (standing from left), Mthetho Matomela, Sibaphiwe Manyingiza and Buhle Gomba.   The bus stop mural competition was a community involvement initiative rolled out by SANRAL following a recent periodic maintenance project in the area.