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A future defined by the past: Toti CBD gets a face-lift

“I WAKE up every day with the aim to leave a lasting legacy, not only for my children but for the residents of Amanzimtoti, as well.”

These are the words of Clayton Whitaker, better known as Clayton Wayne.

Whitaker, who took the CBD by storm this year, when he, supported by councillor André Beetge, initiated and implemented various projects to uplift the CBD.

“I have various businesses in the CBD, but when I heard that people are scared to go there due to the criminal element that was rife, I made it my mission to clean up the area and send criminals packing. I’ve invested a lot of money in the project, and although I received very little support from other businesses initially, it was well worth every cent,” said Whitaker.

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Being no stranger to a questionable past, he said it has definitely defined his future. “I have learned a lot from my past mistakes, and although I know I cannot change it, I am trying to right the wrongs by giving back to a community that is very close to my heart. Nobody is without skeletons,” he said.

The CBD has undergone some drastic changes since Whitaker made it his main project. The criminal element has been eliminated, and the general aesthetic has changed. “I am personally paying for security and have ensured that some of the buildings received a fresh coat of paint. The owner of the majority of the buildings, George Lithgow, has also spruced up his buildings with fresh paint. The area was rid of litter, and lights were also installed in the square. However, this was not done to boost my ego or to boost my income but to create an area where I can feel safe and where families can come to spend a Saturday morning. Some of my fondest memories of Toti are here, in this place where families came together, drink coffee and watch children play.”

He said the sad reality is that people would rather spend thousands of rands to support a retail shop and not an individual who is trying to make a living and whose products are more cost-effective.

“I know of business owners who had to close their doors due to the lack of support from the community. I would really like to change the mindset of those people. It is nice to support local,” he said. He will also add a big Christmas tree for this year’s Christmas celebrations. He said parents can bring their young ones and their own decorations and decorate the tree in their own unique way.

“Many community members are appreciative of the changes, and they thanked me for returning the CBD to its former glory,” he said, adding that more exciting changes are happening, such as a fence around the CBD to ensure children’s safety when they play in the square. “Parents can enjoy a hearty meal in absolute bliss while they watch their children play.”

Whitaker said the next project will be to ensure that Beach Road undergoes a face-lift, as well. “It is vitally important that we uplift Toti to ensure the return of tourists. My hope is that business owners will join me in my fight to clear the area of litter and criminals.”


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