In 2006, in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the June 16 Student uprising in Soweto, the route from Morris Isaacson High School to the Hector Pieterson Memorial was paved with red pavers. This was the first stage of a broader project to pave all the routes learners took on 16 June 1976 on their way to Orlando West, where the violent confrontation with the police took place. Red pavers were initially chosen to symbolise the bloody sacrifice made by the students on this day and in those immediately after.
Over the years, this project evolved and is currently also linked to the beautifying and greening of Soweto. Many of the routes in commemoration of June 16 have been completed while the red sidewalks almost became a Soweto trademark. The plan is to eventually have paved sidewalks throughout Soweto, that will serve its community more effectively.
Apart from obvious aesthetic reasons, various socio-economical and safety considerations played a crucial role in the decision to upgrade Soweto’s sidewalks. One such consideration was emphasized by a recent high profile incident where school children were knocked down by a celebrity on a public road.
Since the inception of this project, Bosun has been a supplier of red interlocking concrete pavers to the JRA. According to Musa Mkhizwana, sales director at Bosun in Midrand, the company is extremely proud to supply the JRA with pavers and kerbs used in the upgrading of Soweto’s sidewalks. Mkhizwana says even though we are constantly involved in the supply of paving and kerbs to various prestigious projects like Gautrain and Rea Vea stations, the Gauteng Freeway Improvement project and various private commercial developments, it always gives us great pride to see our product being installed in Soweto and actively improving the lives of residents. At the same time we see a constant improvement in the skills of those employed to lay the sidewalks. Laying the paving has been a public works empowerment programme, in partnership with the national Department of Public Works. Men and women were employed after undergoing initial training in the laying of paving and kerbs at the inception of the project. This in itself was an extremely successful initiative.
Most importantly though, it gives us a sense of contentment to see people using Soweto’s sidewalks instead of walking in the road. The beautifying of Soweto is a long term project and we hope to stay actively involved for many years to come.
One of Bosun’s major strengths is the ability to supply projects of this magnitude. Projects like this, simply can’t afford to have inconsistent supply and Bosun proved their capacity to deliver where and when required. Bosun’s products are further known in the industry to not merely comply with, but in most instances exceed SABS specifications. For us, as a company, this is of critical importance. Our philosophy has always been to do things properly. We actively live this philosophy and all employees are constantly reminded of it by our slogan – “Expect the Best”. In a world where mediocrity seems to be an accepted norm, we strive to be a pocket of excellence, Mkhizwana concludes.
Mkhizwana further notes that apart from supplying product for the construction of sidewalks, Bosun also supplied private contractors who designed and constructed various parks in Soweto. Our product was used exclusively in the construction of two parks in Zola, historically one of Soweto’s most deprived areas. These parks are world class recreation facilities and give our children a place to play, the way children are supposed to.
Contact Musa Mkhizwana or Gert van Wyk on 011 310-1176.