About Princess Vlei
“Princess Vlei has always been a place …where the bird life with its joyful sounds soothes the sometimes angry inner soul.” – Phillip Bam
The Princess Vlei is the gateway to the wetland system that runs through Grassy Park, purifying the water before it runs into the sea. The Vlei has long been treasured by the many citizens who have enjoyed its beauty and tranquility.
The Vlei was named after a Khoisan Princess, who, according to local legend. was abducted by Portuguese sailors while bathing in its waters. During the years of apartheid, it became one of the few natural areas that “coloured” people could visit, after they were forcibly removed by the government to housing estates on the Cape Flats. Though loved by the people, it was neglected by the authorities, and became further degraded when a road was built through it with little regard for conserving its ecology.
Despite the authority's neglect, local residents, environmentalists and concerned citizens campaigned to save Princess Vlei from commercial development, and embarked on a process to restore the natural fynbos on the site. This was started by Kelvin Cochrane who managed a project called Dressing the Princess, and has continued with volunteers.
But what is it about Princess Vlei that has made the community defend it so fiercely? Below are some of the unique features of this site:
Watch the following documentary made by STEPS/SANBI. This film is available on DVD for groups and institutions who would like to use it for educational purposes.
"She cries more than just a river, she cries more than just a lake...
Our Princess of the Vlei, will we her again forsake?"
Listen to Emile Jansen and Mixed Mense's song about Princess Vlei.
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