Mandela tree gets champion status
YOU cannot cut it‚ prune it or even get into the fenced area where it is planted. That is the tree planted by the late president Nelson Mandela in 2008 at Thokoza Park in Soweto‚ which has now been gazetted by the Gauteng Heritage Resource Authority as a champion tree.
When the indigenous white stinkwood tree was planted‚ it was about three years old.
Yesterday‚ Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo celebrated the status that the tree has received among the millions of trees in Johannesburg. A champion tree‚ in terms of legislation‚ means that it must be protected and preserved‚ City Parks spokesman Jenny Moodley explained.
“Our responsibility as Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo is to make sure that the tree remains tall and strong‚” Moodley said.
Inside the fenced area are two plaques — one an extract from Madiba’s Nobel peace prize acceptance speech and the other the timeline of his journey from birth.
“This tree will not be cut. If it is going to be pruned in the near future it will have to be done in consultation with an arboriculturist and so on. You can’t expect a normal street team to come and prune this tree‚” Moodley said.
“We are absolutely grateful to the residents of Soweto that to date this place has not been vandalised.
“We would like to think that they honour this site so we do not anticipate any incident on the site.”
She added that tourists visit the tree frequently and take pictures next to it.
GREAT WHITE STINKWOOD: The tree that former president Nelson Mandela planted at Thokoza Park has now been gazetted by the Gauteng Heritage Resource Authority