Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
"Mandela would have loved if we got a facelift," declared area leader for Mandela Terrace, Joan Forth, quickly recovering from a momentary lapse when she was reminded that tomorrow will be celebrated as Mandela Day.
Stanford Raffington, the man credited with naming the small community 'Mandela Town' more than 20 years ago, was equally befuddled at the reminder. So was the throng of people - young and old -
Raffington, affectionately called 'Mr Chin', has lived in the community, located in the Waltham Park area, for about 30 years. He said the community was without a name when he dubbed it 'Mandela Town'.
"When I came here it was a little rough track, not even bicycle could be ridden here," Raffington recalled. "I received $100 from the then councillor, Sybil Trowers, when I said this place should be called Mandela Town."
With the passage of time, the Operation PRIDE project roved through the rough patch of land and left behind the official Mandela Terrace.
Was a bush patch
Blossom Hall, a middle-aged woman who has lived in Mandela Terrace for 25 years, recalled that the entire area was a bush patch when she got there. "This was before it even had a name," she said.
Forth, affectionately called 'Shabba', pointed to incomplete concrete perimeter walls replacing what she said was the spate of zinc fences that once dominated the community.
She said 91/2 acres of land was divided into 135 lots, where the people of Mandela Terrace now reside.
"You can see that these are really very small," she said, adding that the community was also in need of a playground for children.