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Monday Nov 11, 2013

Durban's Japanese Gardens 'to be renamed after Mandela'

The Japanese Gardens will by next March 'most likely' be renamed Mandela Gardens, it has emerged.

The park, known for its enchanting lakes, waterfalls, and overall Japanese theme, will no longer have these distinct features when the city has completed its R1-million upgrade next year.

The plans will include refurbishing the toilets, parking area, fish ponds and entrance to the park.

The head of the city's parks, recreation and culture unit, Thembinkosi Ngcobo, said while adverts calling for public submissions for a new name would be placed in newspapers next week, the park would 'probably' be named after the former statesman.

This was after the city received a submission from a KwaZulu-Natal academic who urged the city to name the garden after Mandela.

'It will be very difficult to compete with that name,' said Ngcobo, adding that the academic had given the city valid reasons why the park should be named after Madiba.

Some of the reasons are that Mandela delivered his most significant speech in the city in 1990, his third speech after being released from jail. Mandela also cast his first vote in 1994 at Ohlange School, in Inanda.

According to the academic who would not be named, Durban was the only big city in the world which does not have 'any tangible' infrastructure named after Mandela.

Ngcobo said this could be an ideal opportunity. 'We will also have a plaque in the park with quotes from the speech,' he said.

The proposal to change the name of the park was greeted with mixed feelings two months ago when the city announced the move.

Ngcobo said the park would be changed to display a more 'natural environment' reflecting the culture and heritage of the city.

He said the park needed to be enjoyed by people of all colours and creeds, saying it was predominantly visited by whites and Indians.

DA Durban North councillor Dean Macpherson, who was against the move to rename the park, said while he had no opposition to the new name, the onus was not on Ngcobo to decide on a suitable name.

'What is the point of calling for public submissions if Ngcobo is going to decide on a name?'
The Independent on Saturday


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