Can you find seventeen checkpoints all around Princess Vlei in one hour?
This was the challenge for participants of the Checkpoint chase on 22 October – the second orienteering event at the vlei to be organized by the Peninsula Orienteering Club (PENOC), supported by the Princess Vlei Forum, and with the blessing of the City Council.
In the words of PENOC organiser, Bruce Meier, “Orienteering is an exciting outdoor adventure sport. It involves walking or running while navigating around a course using a detailed map and sometimes a compass.
“The aim is to navigate in sequence between a set of control points, deciding on the best route to complete the course in the quickest time. It does not matter how young, old or fit you are, as you can run, walk or jog the course and progress at your own pace.
“Orienteering events are held anywhere from remote forest and countryside to urban parks and school playgrounds. It’s a great sport for runners, joggers and walkers who want to improve their navigation skills or for anyone who loves the outdoors.”
In preparation for the event, checkpoints around the vlei were marked out by Penoc members, and a detailed map given to the participants.
Seasoned orienteers went on the longer course and the novices, including families with young children, on the shorter course. Approximately 120 people took part, including learners from John Graham Primary School in Plumstead, and members of the First Wetton Scouts, First Naruna and Constantia Scouts, Constantiaberg Rovers and First Plumstead Scouts.
An hour after the start the participants were making for the finish and handing in their cards. Soon the winners were announced and the prizes distributed - there was great excitement as various treats were handing out in the lucky number draw.
Bridget Pitt from the Princess Vlei Forum spoke briefly, and said the Forum was engaging with the City to improve the condition of Princess Vlei and make it even more suitable for such events. The event closed with a prayer from Bishop Christopher Gregorowski.
In the words of one of the members of the winning team, Qaanit Baderoen: “It was so exciting, filled with adrenalin, sometimes suspense because you couldn’t find the codes… The surroundings are very scenic, there was a cool breeze off the vlei, and nice to walk around and see the new plants.”
The transformation of Princess Vlei was taken one step closer on October 8 2016, when around thirty passionate individuals gathered to share their creative ideas.
The Princess Vlei Co-design workshop was made possible by the voluntary facilitation of Zaylia Foster and Graham Falken of ZAG Consultants. This talented team ran several similar workshops for the City of Cape Town as part of World Design Capital 2014.
The transformation of Princess Vlei began some years ago with Kelvin Cochran’s People’s Plan. This plan was discussed and deepened through several community workshops and surveys conducted by the Princess Vlei Forum. Ideas were collated in a document called the People’s Vision, which was presented to the City in 2014. The City has since drawn up a Concept Development Framework, which was finalized after a further process of community consultation.
We now are in the process of refining the community’s ideas into workable designs. The co-design workshop is an important step in this process, enabling people to work with designers in developing workable concepts.
The workshop began with an invitation to people to share their stories about Princess Vlei. There was a rich sharing of anecdotes – some hair-raising, such as the story of the headless corps in a suitcase, there were tales of a huge likkewaan (Leguan) which gave rise to stories of a water monster, the legend of the Khoe Princess who wept, as well as many happy memories of playing as children and picnicking with families. The richness of the stories well illustrate the vlei’s complex history, and its wealth as a repository of memory and culture.
The stories were used to identify some of the problems and opportunities at Princess Vlei, summarised below:
Participants were asked to create a collage to represent what they would like to see at Princess Vlei, and then to take that vision and construct a model of the Princess Vlei they would like to see. Some of the ideas represented on these models include:
Since the workshop, the Princess Vlei Forum has been collating these ideas, and consulting designers to help refine them further into specific proposals. We are also in the process of sourcing funds – lobbying the City, and seeking donors and others sources of additional funding. As the plans become more refined, the broader Princess Vlei community will be given further opportunity to comment on and engage with proposals. If anyone has ideas for possible funding sources, or further ideas around the proposals, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posts by Bridget Pitt unless stated otherwise.