The company that collects trash in Johannesburg – the superbly named Pikitup – has been on strike for four weeks now. The workers that are part of the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) are demanding salary increases and a change of leadership. The striking is illegal and has been quite contentious, and negotiations don’t yet seem to be reaching any kind of conclusion. Scabs have been working through the night to pick up the backlog of rubbish, but have apparently been facing intimidation and even violent threats.
The striking Pikitup workers have been hitting the streets downtown, overturning trash cans throughout the Central Business District. The growing piles of trash and the scattered litter through the streets was enough reason for us to look for somewhere a little less urban to spend our Saturday.
So, on the last weekend of summer, we went to the nearby Johannesburg Botanical Gardens. The gardens offer a huge amount of green space and are a serene respite on the edge of the Emmerantia Dam.
The prettiest, and busiest, part of the park was the rose garden. It was packed with multiple brides and wedding parties and guests and photographers vying to get the best shots with all of the colorful roses.
Lots of other Joburgers had the right idea, spreading blankets across the grasses in the shady area and enjoying picnics on such a beautiful day.
I’m finding myself feeling a bit sad that it is already turning to fall, even if the temperature is still a pleasant 80 degrees. Having already skipped over one winter, it’s pretty greedy of me. At least it is driving me to soak up every last drop of the glorious African sunshine while I still can!