The event was organised by the Princess Vlei Forum, which is working with the City and the Community to transform Princess Vlei into a pristine nature and heritage site.
Over 60 children from John Graham Primary, Hyde Park Primary and Lotus High attended the event, along with their teachers, family members and several adult volunteers and supporters. The day was held in collaboration with the Watershed Project to mark the start of National Water Week, and to celebrate one year of the community victory in saving Princess Vlei from a shopping mall development.
Azraa Waja, Gabriella Baatjes, Naailah Booley, Aa'isha Harrison from the John Graham Science Club started the day by talking about the importance of conserving water to support the eco-system and human health (download their talk here). After this, teams went out and collected litter. The learners also made origami jumping frogs and learned about the frog and toad species living at the vlei.
To reward their efforts, Gravity Adventures gave the learners a boat ride on the vlei. There were also hotdogs and drinks donated by the local Pick 'n' Pay and doughnuts from Golden Bake.
The event was organised with the Watershed Project to highlight the importance of conserving our local freshwater resources. Princess Vlei forms part of fresh water chain that feeds the Rondevlei, Zeekovlei and Strandvlei wetlands. These all provide habitat for wildlife and ecosystem services. It is critical that this water system be cleared of pollution and kept clear so that it can support a healthy eco-system and be used safely for baptisms and recreation. The Forum is encouraged that the City is taking this seriously and working with the community to find ways to do this.
What people said at the event:
I want to help to create an incredible beautiful place where people can come to create happy memories – Sky Leigh Jones
We came here to clean up Princess vlei to make it look like a real Princess – Rizwaan Kader
We want to clean up and make it more beautiful and so that creatures and different kinds of birds can enjoy the living space here – Nathan Geduld
We decided to join our son and help out to clean up the vlei and make it look pretty again – Shamielah Kader
We came here today because we believe we need to redress the Princess Vlei, we need to get it back to where it was, and before we redress the Princess we have to get it clean. You can't dress without being clean. Our previous job was to save it, our new job is to create place where everyone can come and relax, enjoy, get our play parks, our concert parks, get our board walks, get our skate park our water activities, all sorts of activities ... A year ago we were fighting for the park, now we are celebrating. I’m here to clean up, ready for the redress. Abe Abrahams
I think that we need to help our environment because people are damaging the environment – I really hope that future generations can see this and don’t destroy the environment the way people are today. A’isha Harrison
I think it is a magnificent cause, it shows that Cape Town is responding to a call for action on our wetlands and as a citizen I think it is important to take responsibility - Kelsey BLignaut
I joined the PVF recently because I was inspired by an article I am writing on big urban land issues, I feel as a citizen and youth I think we should encourage more people to get involved because this is our home. - Rifqah Naidoo:
I am very passionate about the environment and as I live down the road so the Princess Vlei is part of my environment and I don’t want to see people destroy it. We are not going to get money or anything like that but this is our chance to keep it clean, if we don’t make a start no one will make a start. Our kids are the future so we start with the kids. But it is disgusting to see people watch us cleaning up, and then just throw their litter, there’s bins by them and they are not using it. We must write to our Councillors and make this an alcohol free zone, like they are doing in other areas - why can’t they assist us? This for us all. Shafiek Isaacs