City neighbourhoods celebrated at the annual #JoziWalks weekend

Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA)
For immediate release
23 May 2018

City neighbourhoods celebrated at the annual #JoziWalks weekend

On May 19 and 20 almost 600 Joburgers joined in 25 free community-led walks in 11 different neighbourhoods across the city as part of the Johannesburg Development Agency’s #JoziWalks2018 weekend.

Sponsored by the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) in partnership with local community activists, entrepreneurs, tourism operators and heritage specialists,
#JoziWalks provides a platform that encourages Joburgers to explore and walk the lesser-known areas of the city together with the people who bring them to life and to share their insights, questions and new ideas about the city’s neighbourhoods.

City officials join #JoziWalks2018

“I am always amazed at how #JoziWalks serves to uncover the richness that already exists in communities in which we work, and to reflect on the impact of any
development projects in those areas,” says Douglas Cohen, Executive Manager for Planning and Strategy at Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA).

“#JoziWalks2018 has been such a constructive way to help the JDA, as an area-based development agency, understand the city and appreciate the people who
bring it to life. This approach elevates what are the priorities from the bottom-up which is essential in building a better, more sustainable and creative city.”

City of Johannesburg officials from outside the JDA also attended #JoziWalks this year, using the platform as an opportunity to learn more about the areas they are
working in.

As part of #JoziWalks in Hillbrow, youth from the Outreach Foundation Hillbrow Theatre Project led a theatrical walk through the neighbourhood to share the history
of the area as well as their personal stories of life in Hillbrow and the challenges they face. It was attended by the MMC for Development Planning Reuben Masango,
Stakeholder Manager Poppy Cynthia Louw and Director of Strategy in the Office of the City Manager Krishni Gounden.

“Inspiring and fulfilling”

Many of the hundreds of Joburg residents that joined the walks remarked it was the first time that they had visited parts of the city in which these walks were being held. Some commented that they had been prevented from exploring Joburg by safety concerns or had previously been unaware that there were so many interesting things to see.

Stuart Dilworth, who was one of more than 60 walkers who joined a walk in The Wilds led by artist and leader of a volunteer clean-up initiative James Delaney,
described the experience as “inspiring and fulfilling”. Dilworth says he previously had no idea how beautiful and safe the park was and that the walk was a valuable
opportunity to “listen to the people leading change, learn from them and work with them”. Dilworth says he plans to return to the park with friends soon.

Photographer Andrew Kingston praised the #JoziWalks initiative for highlighting the city’s disparities and the difficulties faced in poor neighbourhoods in an accessible and thought-provoking way. Kingston, who joined a walk through Troyeville, Ellis Park and Doornfontein led by activist and artist Andrew Lindsay described #JoziWalks as “a wonderful initiative to get people out of their comfort zones and to see and experience things that are challenging.”

Other walkers said that they had been inspired by the young leaders working in marginalised communities who were finding creative ways to overcome neighbourhood issues. Liz Delmont, a guesthouse owner from Craighall Park who joined a bike ride through Diepsloot, said “the best thing of all was meeting the
young people involved in these walks. Amazing, motivated, dedicated, passionate, focused, and such pleasant young people. I left so impressed and enriched.”

Place making and celebrating communities across Joburg

The walks selected for the #JoziWalks2018 weekend covered a broad range of areas where the JDA is planning to run projects or already actively running projects
including: Hillbrow, Sophiatown, Fietas, Newtown, Johannesburg CBD, Troyeville, Doornfontein, Ellis Park, Diepsloot, Soweto, Orange Grove, Alexandra and Orange
Farm. They highlighted a variety of themes from art, music, literary culture, theatre and youth empowerment to cycling, heritage preservation, land rights, recycling and the rehabilitation of public parks.

The #JoziWalks platform was taken on by walk hosts across the city as an opportunity to showcase the challenges and triumphs of their neighbourhoods to a
wider audience, to pursue ongoing collaboration and interaction with the JDA and to form partnerships with other organisations working in similar areas.

Walkers and their hosts all talked of the energy, enthusiasm, support and goodwill that the walkers who joined in the #JoziWalks2018 weekend brought to their
neighbourhoods. As Ayanda Mnyandu, an entrepreneur and skateboard tour operator working in the inner-city, says “it brings communities together to celebrate
what they have and share it with other people… and it's an opportunity to share your passion and neighbourhood with outsiders”.

Images from #JoziWalks2018

This year’s official photography partners were the photographer network Joburg Photowalkers who documented each walk, its hosts and walkers.
Find a selection of #JoziWalks2018 Press Images here

#JoziWalks2018 community champions and walk hosts:
Hillbrow Youth Walks: The Outreach Foundation - Hillbrow Theatre Project
Walk Soweto with Notes: Tshidiso Setshogwe from His and Hers Jams
Township into Towns (Alex): Maboneng Township Arts Experience
#BikesMustRise (Diepsloot): Lucky Nkali from Black Bite Productions
Honing in on Hope (Troyeville): Andrew Lindsay from Spaza Art Gallery
City Skate Tours (CBD and Newtown): Ayanda Mnyandu from City Skate Tours
Walk The Wilds: James Delaney
Orange Farm Walk: In-Touch Youth Development & Community Justice
The Underground Booksellers of Johannesburg (Joburg CBD): Griffin Shea from Bridge Books
De-Tour: Living Landscapes after Forced Removals: Salma Patel from Fietas
Museum and Tshepo Letsoalo from Sophiatown The Mix
Time Flies and the Spruit of Braam’s Fountain (Orange Grove): Dr Myer Taub

Media requests and Interviews
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Issued on behalf of the Johannesburg Development Agency by Johannesburg In
Your Pocket City Guide.

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