In a collaborative effort between Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) and the Japan Institute, a global cultural initiative, a symbolic tree-planting and plaque-unveiling ceremony took place at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens in Emmarentia on Tuesday, 05 December 2023. As per the City of Johannesburg, the event aimed to cultivate peace and dialogue between Johannesburg and Japan. It witnessed representatives from the Portland Japanese Garden, Joburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ), and esteemed guests.
The ceremony, which marked the beginning of a meaningful partnership, unfolded successfully, with MCC for Community Development Cllr Lubabalo Magwentshu expressing gratitude to the Japan Institute for fostering the relationship with Joburg Botanical Garden. He acknowledged the institute’s trust in designating the garden as the new home for the Celtis Africana tree.
“As we gather for this significant occasion today, may this tree taking root in our African soil symbolise the enduring spirit of peace and cooperation between nations. May these joint ventures inspire creativity, build bridges, and leave an indelible mark on our shared journey toward a more peaceful and interconnected world,” said Cllr Magwentshu.
The event featured a vibrant African dance performance by the local crew Afro Beatz, infusing the celebration with an authentic African vibe. Drake Snodgrass, the President of the Portland Japanese Garden Board of Trustees, expressed honour in collaborating with the City of Johannesburg and envisioned the planted Celtis Africana as a symbol of their fruitful partnership.
“As we plant this Celtis Africana, I envision a future where it blossoms into a magnificent symbol of our fruitful partnership. In 20 years, may this tree stand tall, reflecting not only the growth of nature but also the enduring strength of the bond between our communities,” said Snodgrass.
Thanduxolo Mendrew, Managing Director of Joburg City Parks and Zoo, expressed excitement about welcoming the Celtis Africana to the Botanical Garden family. He highlighted that the tree would contribute to the ambience of the botanical garden while providing shelter and space for reflection and hope.
The celebration concluded with the unveiling of a plaque, symbolising the meaningful collaboration between Johannesburg and Japan, fostering a more profound connection through shared values and the spirit of cooperation.
Picture: X / CityofJoburgZA
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