Zita Park in Garsfontein, Pretoria – a place of fun and reconciliation for all

Fun in the sun on the last day of school

Friday 12 December 2008 was my daughter Caitlin’s last day of nursery school. Next year it's “big school” – grade 1 and the start of a whole new phase of life!

To mark the auspicious day we invited two of her friends to come with her to a nearby fast food joint for some celebratory junk food and then to a nearby park for a swim.

Caitlin and her two friends Tlotlang Noosi and Canan tucked into burgers and chips at the Wimpy in a nearby mall and then it was off to Zita Park.

I have been taking Caitlin to this beautiful park in suburban Pretoria since she was 18 months old. She has always loved it.

This past year Caitlin has been going to swimming lessons and is now totally confident in the water, though she might not be a threat to future South African swimming Olympians!

The park has a lovely splash pool with a long, fairly steep water slide which is always a source of great fun. The park is also a place where people of many different backgrounds come together to have fun, ride bikes, throw Frisbees, fly kites, play football or cricket, enjoy that quintessential South African outdoor activity, the “braai” (elsewhere known as a barbecue).

The park itself has a somewhat difficult history. Back in 2006 there was a concerted effort by some local residents, in my view from racist motives, who tried to use crime and health scares as a way to force the City Council to start charging an entrance fee for the use of the park.

Nothing came of these efforts, but there was a positive spin-off in that more information about the park and its history came to light as a result of the interest that the dispute aroused in the local historical society, the Tshwane Building Heritage Association.

According to an article in the Pretoria News of 10 August 2006: “The association's research found that the Eastwood location was established on the Garsfontein farm in 1905. There was a cemetery on the eastern boundary.”

Zita Park was created on the centre of this cemetery after the area had been declared a “white area” in terms of the Group Areas Act of 1950. This proclamation of the area as white led to the “removal” of the black residents of the area formerly known as Eastwood Location. The Chief Executive Officer of the Association, Anton Jansen, has suggested that the park be renamed “Reconciliation Park”.

To turn the negative into a positive the association recommended that a memorial stone, garden or wall be erected to commemorate "this tragic history, and to celebrate the spirit of reconciliation and hope for the future".

So in my mind it is entirely fitting that the park is so well used by such diverse people. I find it delightful that my blonde, blue-eyed daughter can make friends with other little girls whose complexions are quite different.

She learns so much from interacting with different children, and I feel so at home in a place where we all just relax and have fun together without worrying about differences. For me the park is truly a place of reconciliation, a place where we can learn to get on with each other despite differences, in an atmosphere of fun and relaxation.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The park is characterised in summer, at least, by wonderful green grass on attractive sloping groundsThe water slide, source of so much funThe splash pool is always crowded with children having funIts a place where grandfathers can take their grandsons for some bonding togetherCaitlin, Tlotlang and Canan enjoying the sunThe three come down the slide...Further down...And into the pool with a splash!The three girls in the poolA group enjoying a "braai" under the trees
The park is characterised in summer, at least, by wonderful green grass on attractive sloping grounds
The park is characterised in summer, at least, by wonderful green grass on attractive sloping grounds
The water slide, source of so much fun
The water slide, source of so much fun
The splash pool is always crowded with children having fun
The splash pool is always crowded with children having fun
Its a place where grandfathers can take their grandsons for some bonding together
Its a place where grandfathers can take their grandsons for some bonding together
Caitlin, Tlotlang and Canan enjoying the sun
Caitlin, Tlotlang and Canan enjoying the sun
The three come down the slide...
The three come down the slide...
Further down...
Further down...
And into the pool with a splash!
And into the pool with a splash!
The three girls in the pool
The three girls in the pool
A group enjoying a "braai" under the trees
A group enjoying a "braai" under the trees

Update - 2010

An entrance fee is now charged - a very nominal one. I just hope that this fee does not discourage people from coming to the park. As far as I can tell people are happy to pay this small fee as there are still lots and lots of people in the park every weekend.

A markerZita Park, Pretoria -
Zita Park, Pretoria 0081, South Africa
[get directions]

Copyright notice

The text and all images on this page, unless otherwise indicated, are by Tony McGregor who hereby asserts his copyright on the material. Should you wish to use any of the text or images feel free to do so with proper attribution and, if possible, a link back to this page. Thank you.

© Tony McGregor 2008

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Comments 34 comments

erica geldenhuys 7 years ago

it is fun for the whole family and and you dont have to swim you can just have fun


Joyce Morolo 6 years ago

We would like to visit your picnic sport on the 16th of December & would like to know your prices. Which ages to do refer as children & do you have different prices for them ?

Kind Regards

Joyce: boikhutsotours@yahoo.com


Andronicca 6 years ago

Hi

We would like to visit your picnic resort on the 26 december

Just want find out what you need and what you do need us to go inside with in the park.Please adv.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

You have a beautiful daughter! And she's lucky to have such a fun dad!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Habee - thank you so much for your kind words. Caitlin turned eight this week and I had to be away from home on business! She is a delight and a joy in my life.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate it deeply.

Love and peace

Tony


queen cleopatra profile image

queen cleopatra 6 years ago

How I wish I live in your part of the world! Zita Park seemed a fun place to go with the whole family and friends. Thank you for sharing such wonderful photos of the three cute girls. I wonder who's Caitlin? Must be the cutest one :D Please say 'hi' to Caitlin for me, tonymac04. I love your daughter's name :D


farica 6 years ago

plz tell me where can i find a numb for zita park?????


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Farica - contact me via HubPages (see link above) and I will provide info if I can.


Marise Zwanepoel 6 years ago

hi pls give me more info on zita park?


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Marise - please call me on 0791632463 and I'll give you what I know.

Thanks for the visit.

Love and peace

Tony


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

What a beautiful park and nice to know that it is now open to one and all.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Peggy - thank you for the comment. It is a lovely place and I too am grateful that it is open to all.

Thanks again

Love and peace

Tony


Andronica Mutavhatsindi 5 years ago

Good day

we wanted to visit Zita Park we want to know the entrance fees and if there are braai facilities


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago

Very pretty Tony. Thank you for another great introduction and virtual visit to your neck of the woods. God bless my brother Tony!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Micky - so glad you stopped by here! You are always so welcome. Glad you enjoyed the visit.

Love and peace

Tony


swedal profile image

swedal 5 years ago from Colorado

It looks like it would be a blast Tony. My daughter would love it. Thanks for sharing!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa Author

Swedal - it's a great place for kids, that's certain! They always have a blast there.

Thanks for stopping by.

Love and peace

Tony


brendan 5 years ago

hi

thanks for the article..

does anyone know how much the entrance is?

Thanks :)


Nuraan 5 years ago

Hi, i was at Zita park on New Years day. Fee was very low...i think it was around R2 for kids and R5 for adults. Actually planning to have a picnic for my son's third birthday there. Very nice, calm and relaxing.


Etrezia 5 years ago

A great park with great memories for me and my children. My parents lived walking distance from the park and we spend most of our holidays there. I still remember when to pool opened. The slide was still plain cement! But it was great fun! Now my kids enjoy the park!


Mathoto 5 years ago

We would like to hold a party at Zitha Park on 16/12/2011, kindly advise me about the rates and entrance fees


CLIVE 4 years ago

Ahm tomorrow we would like to visit zita park how much is entrance


Dipuo 4 years ago

Hi i would like to bring my family to enjoy Christmas, i want to know the entrance fee.


Lee 4 years ago

Hi Tony

I would like to book the park for 1 day. Do you do this and how much would it cost?

Kind regards


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 4 years ago from South Africa Author

Thanks for all the comments which I appreciate. Must point out though that I wrote this Hub as a person who enjoys the park. I am not in any way responsible for entrance fees and bookings! Information about Zita Park can be found at http://www.tshwane.gov.za/Services/Swimming%20Pool...


bernadine 4 years ago

Hi is there a telephone number for zita park


Cynthia 4 years ago

Hi there, we would like to know what is the procedure to book/host a bithday party for two boys turning 13yrs and 11yrs on the 30th of June 2012 and also please advice of the entrance fee for the kids and the adults.


stephen maina 4 years ago

actualy i see that park looking atracting and being fun in there although i would like to ask wheather we as small youth we can b given a chance to exhibit in that park if it is possible u can contact me on my email as mainanjeru@yahoo.com or cell number as 0763047482


Liezl Boukan 4 years ago

On our way to Zita Park, will be our first time!


De Greek profile image

De Greek 3 years ago from UK

Good to see you in such good form again Young Man ;-)


ANNECKE VIVIERS 3 years ago

I went to Zita Park yesterday, for the 2nd time.Me and my 2 boys enjoys it a lot, but I just need to bring it under your urgent attention, that the wooden jungle gym far in the corner at the back is broken.My son of 2 yrs fell through the bridge yesterday, because 2 of the wooden strats on the bridge are loose on 1 side.So I saw, while walking towards him how he was crossing, and then he just fell through.His chin hit the bridge as he fell, and he fell right onto his back.His tung and chin was bleeding.I intend going there again soon, for his 3rd birthday party in May.I surely hope that the bridge is repaired by then? It could have been much worse.I am sure you put the needs and safety of the kids first.So I surely hope that something is done about it soon.Hope to hear from you soon.koeitjie5@gmail.com.Mrs A Viviers.Tel:079 814 3907


Celeste 2 years ago

Hi TonyMac04, I would like to know where I can find more information relating to the history of the Garsfontein area. I read in your article about the Eastwood location being on the Garsfontein farm back in 1905, please could you help me with links or where I can get more info on the area please.


sthembiso 2 years ago

Add Your Comment..i would lyk to take my kids to your mnth end so plz can u tell mi how much is your fees for kids and adult.


Refiloe 2 years ago

how much is the entrance free and do you have braai facilities?

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