Grade nine learners from 11 schools presented their suggestions for a new name for the Empire-Perth Corridor of Freedom on Thursday, 30 September, as part of a City of Joburg campaign to get residents involved in the drive to transform the city’s spatial destiny.

Bosmont Muslim SchoolBosmont Muslim School was one of 11 schools that participated in the JDA’s Corridor naming competition.The City’s Corridors of Freedom programme seeks to undo the legacy of apartheid town planning, which saw the majority of Joburg residents shunted to the city’s outskirts, far from access to services, jobs, training and growth opportunities.

It aims to do this by laying down well-planned transport arteries – the Corridors of Freedom – linking mixed-use development nodes characterised by high-density accommodation supported by office buildings, retail development and opportunities for leisure and recreation.

In his State of the City address in May, Executive Mayor Parks Tau said the Corridors programme was the City’s “next area of acceleration”, noting that the planning and budgeting frameworks for the first three Corridors had been finalised and approved.

While the City continues to lay down the transport infrastructure that will form the backbone of the Corridors, it has begun a process of engagement aimed at getting residents to buy into the initiative.

The learners from Bosmont Muslim SchoolThe learners from Bosmont Muslim School take their turn on the stage.As part of this engagement, the City has launched a public campaign to name and brand the first three Corridors that are being developed, namely the Empire-Perth Corridor connecting Soweto to the CBD, the Louis Botha Corridor between the Joburg CBD, Alexandra, Sandton, Diepsloot and Ivory Park, and the Turffontein Corridor.

Starting with the Empire-Perth Corridor, the campaign seeks to create a more inclusive identity for the Corridor, based on the cultures, histories and achievements of communities living along the Corridor.

Tasked with driving the campaign, the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) – a lead agency in conceptualising and implementing the Corridors initiative – started a competition among learners from 11 schools located along the Empire-Perth Corridor.

Guided by postgraduate students from Wits University, groups of five grade nine learners from each school conducted historical research and interviewed community members in order to come up with a proposed name for their Corridor.

On 30 September, they gathered at Rand Girls’ School to present their names to a panel of judges.

JDA Marketing Manager Susan MonyaiJDA Marketing Manager Susan Monyai addresses the learners.Addressing the learners, JDA Marketing Manager Susan Monyai said the Corridors of Freedom would transform settlements patterns in Johannesburg, and thanked the learners for making a vital contribution to the realisation of this vision.

“You are the epitome of positive change,” Monyai told the learners. “You reflect a society that speaks to the dream of our City and citizens of this land.”

A shortlist of five names will be selected by the judges by 12 October. The public will then be given the opportunity to vote, using their mobile phones, for their preferred name. This will result in a final shortlist of three names, which will be presented the City Council to decide on the new name for Corridor.

The 11 participating schools were: Afrokombs College, Al-Azhar Institute, Bosmont Muslim School, Coronationville Secondary, John Orr Technical High, McCauley House, Rand Girls’ School, Sheikh Anta Diop College, Vorentoe High School, National School of Arts, and Vector High.

Each school received R2 000 for its participation, while R700 will be given to each learner in the five groups whose names are shortlisted.