Clean Village

Sue Retallack launched the Clean Village non-profit as a way to clean the streets of Johannesburg, removing stickers, illegal posters, litter and weeds.


Johannesburg, South Africa – Sue Retallack is a self-professed crazy woman. She says before she started her non-profit organisation, she was very uninvolved and had no interest in anything that was happening beyond her own property.

It all changed when she started taking an interest and wanting to do more for her community. Sue says it all started with the annoying posters and stickers seen on every lamp post and robot.

“My initial obsession started with the illegal advertising signs nailed into our beautiful trees and cable tied onto every pole, stop sign and traffic light – TREE FELLING , RUBBLE REMOVAL , PLUMBER, DRAIN UNBLOCK, ELECTRICAL AND DRAIN UNBLOCK, THATCH ROOF… then I graduated to a much more sinister obsession, PENIS ENLARGEMENT and ABORTION (painless nogal) that were stuck onto every electrical box and Telkom box in Kensington. I don’t know why I had never noticed these before – it was like one day I didn’t even see them and the next I couldn’t see anything BUT them. I have to say I far preferred life before my eyes were open.

So started my new life – I spent hours and hours and days taking boot loads of signs to the dump and climbed trees to get to the high ones. I stole my husband’s hammer, bought a Stanley knife or two, stored my gardening gloves in my car and basically decided that it was WAR, and I was going to WIN – no matter what!”

Sue started researching how best to get rid of the tougher stickers. She found vinegar to be a beneficial tool. She then came up with an even smarter way to prevent illegal posters from being put back.

“Taking signs off trees and street poles is easy, taking signs off electrical boxes, not so much! I researched how to remove these stickers and soon discovered that saturating them with vinegar and using a paint scraper worked. I was SO happy. But soon they were back, and my happiness and hard work were for nothing. So I went to plan B, remove them in the same way and then smear the electric box with GREASE. Good old fashioned grease. So, if you think our electric boxes look grimey, it’s because dust and sand stick to the grease. In my eyes, even with dust and sand, they look pristine compared with how they used to look!”

Michael Blake started to notice the difference Sue was making all on her own and approached her to create a significant difference. That was how Clean Village was born.

Laura Pall, a fan of the work being done by Clean Village said that while the NPO is still only based in Kensington, they hope to grow and assist more suburbs.

To date, the organisation employs four people who keep the streets tidy, pull weeds, removed illegal posters, and so much more. They rely entirely on donations to operate efficiently. They always welcome people who want to get involved; if you want to find more information, you can check out their Facebook page here.

Sources: Facebook 
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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