Bridge Painting for Christmas

About six months ago, two young men from Aberdeen decided that they needed to give something back to the town they grew up in. Zettie Darries and Rolavian ‘Lollo’ Jackson saw many areas where ordinary people could make a difference, and also saw many youngsters with time on their hands and nothing constructive to do.

Their first project was to repaint the stones on the hill outside Aberdeen, which spell out the name of the town. Once this was achieved, they joined forces with some other residents who were working with children to clean up certain areas of the town -one of their early successes was repainting the kerbs and clearing up the litter in the small gardens around the Dutch Reformed Church in the centre of the town.  The men are very organised, and have reflective jackets for the youngsters, who feel proud to be part of a team at work in the town.

Their latest project was to paint the road bridge on Hope Street, linking the town to Lotusville and Thembalesizwe. About three years ago, another resident had donated paint to brighten it up, but over time, the bright rainbow colours had faded, become chipped, and attracted graffiti.

A lady who was in town to renovate a house donated some blue and white paint to the men, and on 1 December, armed with paint and brushes, they set about revitalising the bridge. “We wanted to make the bridge look good before everyone comes home to visit their families over Christmas,” explained Jackson, adding that they had received some good-natured flak from people who asked why they had used DA colours! “We never even thought of that, we were just grateful for the paint we were given,” he said. In fact it is far from a “DA blue”, and most people agree that it looks fresh and cool. 

For this project, Elandre Heynse joined up with Jackson and Darries, and he quickly became an integral part of the workforce.

The men still have some blue and white paint left over, and would like to use this to create a South African flag in stones, on the hill near the Aberdeen sign. They have seen something similar outside Laingsburg, and were very taken which how attractive it looked. The men are appealing for donations of small amounts of red, green, black and yellow paint, so that can be completed early next year, once the children are back at school. “It was just the three of us, painting the bridge, but we really want to involve the youngsters again when we paint the flag,” said Darries.

Anyone who would like to help with paint can contact Zettie Darries on 060 310 2895

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