City of Joburg

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo

Johannesburg Zoo


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The ever-popular 702 Talk Radio Mothers' Day concert at the Joburg Zoo was again a success. Hundreds of families enjoyed picnics and music beneath the golden autumn sun.

Making the most of the sunshine at the Joburg Zoo are Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and 702's John RobbieMaking the most of the sunshine at the Joburg Zoo are Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and 702's John RobbieFAMILIES gathered around the bandstand at Johannesburg Zoo yesterday, under glorious autumn sun, for the annual 702 Talk Radio Mothers' Day concert. The 110-year-old zoo is a favourite place in Joburg.

It was donated to the city and its people in 1904 and is managed by the Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo unit. On Sunday, hundreds of families took the opportunity to relax with their picnic blankets and baskets to enjoy the concert and pay tribute to their mothers. Children took full advantage of the supervised rides and playground area nearby and, of course, many people strolled around, enjoying the zoo's large variety of animals.

Curator of the Joburg Zoo, Tshepang Makanye, welcomed those attending the fun-filled event, pointing out that the City has the "best outdoor recreation facilities on offer". He called on residents to value these spaces. "So, this Mother's Day, let's … love the world around us. We have just one Mother Earth and it is up to all of us to take good care of her too."

He then wished all the mothers present a very happy Mother's Day. "Mothers remain the gatekeepers to families adopting healthy lifestyles and we would like to salute their commitment in our strides to build a healthy nation.,"

It was then the turn of MC Aki Anastasiou of Talk Radio 702, who got the crowd cheering for all the mothers in attendance. He praised the country for holding another peaceful election, and said how wonderful it was to celebrate the day at the zoo, "a special place and vast green belt in the middle of the city". South Africans lived in the "most beautiful country in the world", he added. Anastasiou even had a go at conducting the orchestra, which had the audience covering their ears.

Mom Jenny and daughter Amy, aged three, enjoy their Mother's Day outing to the zooMom Jenny and daughter Amy, aged three, enjoy their Mother's Day outing to the zooThe crowds were treated to a line-up consisting of Idols' winner Elvis Blue, singers Jamali and a capella group Complete, accompanied by the rich classical sounds of the Chamber Orchestra of Johannesburg, conducted by Kutlwano Masote. Popular songs from the 1960s through to the 1990s and beyond had the visitors singing along and jiving to the melodic sounds floating through the surrounding golden-leafed trees.

Stand-out songs included Jamali paying tribute to the mothers in our lives with the Aretha Franklin song Natural Woman, Complete, with a flawless rendition of Ladysmith Black Mambazo's Homeless, and Elvis Blue wowing the crowds with his some of his own compositions.

Contributing to the pleasant atmosphere of the day were generations of Joburgers eager to share their views on mothers. Three-year-old Tayden's family was represented by four generations – his mom, Shelly, and dad, his granny, Carole, and her two sisters, Sharon and Helen, and grandpa and great-grandmother, Eyong, 88. The three sisters praised Eyong, whom they said was "soft-hearted, most giving, loving person, always thinking of others and doing her best for us. We thank her for everything." The family was impressed by the organisation of the concert, saying it had a "nice vibe" and "it was great to celebrate [the day] at the zoo together".

Accompanied by granny Viggie, parents Zakkiaya and Fawz were there with five-year-old Imaan and four-year-old Zaeem. Imaan giggled mischievously and said she loved her mom because "she's crazy". Her brother Zaeem, 4, said: "I like mommy's food."

Courtney, who was picnicking with her husband, toddler and mom, Shelley, said: "I love my mom for always being there and being a constant support."

Dad Zwakele and mom Nomaxabiso of trendy eight-year-old Ziyamthanda smiled proudly when their daughter said: "I love my mother because she makes me clothes." Neil and Carol, parents to little Reneilwe, six, also beamed. She shyly said she loved her mom, "because she always helps me".

Young Siyamthanda loves her mom Nomaxabiso “cos, she makes me clothes!” Dad Zwakele makes up the trio relaxing at the Joburg ZooYoung Siyamthanda loves her mom Nomaxabiso "cos, she makes me clothes!" Dad Zwakele makes up the trio relaxing at the Joburg ZooReilly, five, said he loved his mother because she "tucks me in every night" and brother Evan, seven, added "she does lots of things for the family". Dad Murray praised his wife, Kona, and his mother, Dianne, saying: "It's a blessing to have these women to inspire us. My mother always puts everyone else's needs before hers." And Dianne added: "It's a special treat to come here and be together in the sunshine with my family."

Moms Neo and Bongiwe had heard about the Mothers' Day concert through their children's crèche and brought Omomemo, two, Intokozo, four, and Nthlantla, four, to participate. Originally from England, Rachel and Patrick, parents to Evangeline, two, and Gabriel, nine months, said it was the first time they had attended this event. They thought it was "well organised and great for the kids to be able to play outside". They praised the country, saying: "South Africa has been good to us."

A group of children playing in the sun said they were having fun and had seen lots of animals, including "flamingos, the hippos, the lions and the monkeys". Mpumelelo said he loved his mother "because she gives us lots of surprises"; Ofentse loved her mom because "she gives me sweets"; and Kamo and MJ joined in enthusiastically, saying their mothers "give us sweets and doughnuts".

In addition to enjoying the music, many visitors also opted to view the latest new attraction in the zoo, the Temple of the Ancient with its gigantic anacondas, moustached monkeys, poison dart frogs and a walk-through freshwater aquarium.

The zoo sits on the boundary between the modern suburbs of Saxonwold, Forest Town and Parkview. It is a favourite spot for residents and visitors, with more than 5 000 visitors each weekend. The zoo spans more than 55 hectares and houses more than 2 000 animals from over 320 species.