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 tabulate 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 where possible, 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.
WHAT happens when you bring art, nature, and young people together? A special kind of magic which we have called the Flight of Dreams! Run by the Princess Vlei Forum and the Peter Clarke Art Centre, the Flight of Dreams has been running for four years, and involves a number of projects involving art and environmental education, including an annual street parade. The artworks of this exhibition have been created as part of this initiative.
But the Flight of Dreams is about more than nature and art. The children benefit hugely from participating in this project. Many of the kids involved come from communities challenged by gangsterism, drug abuse and domestic violence. Being able to create something beautiful helps them to develop a positive identity and to aspire to a way of being that is not defined by the negative influences around them.
This is why we felt it important to exhibit the children’s work, not only so that the the community can have the pleasure of seeing these lovely artworks, but also so that the children can learn that they are capable of producing work that is valued and treasured by others. The work includes paintings, drawings, multi-media, ceramics and paper sculptures, a well as two of the puppets used on the parades. The quality of the work is remarkable, and certainly will reward any who take the time to view it.LIBRARY HOURS
Picnickers at Princess Vlei may have been startled by the sight of nine giant birds and a giant praying mantis on Heritage day. The creatures were part of the colourful Flight of Dreams parade, held annually by the Princess Vlei Forum to celebrate the natural and cultural heritage of Princess Vlei.
In the weeks before the event, children learnt about important species of birds found at Princess Vlei and other wetlands in a series of "Meet the bird" workshops. The Forum and the Peter Clarke Art Centre co-hosted a workshop for teachers, who discovered how to make a colourful wetland food chain, including a bird, fish and insect, from a paper plate (see "Is it a bird or a plate"). Vincent Meyburgh of Jungle Theatre prepared Lotus High Students for a Story telling performance, and Michelle from Naturali Catchi Rhythms helped to prepare the Fairmount High Marching Band
On September 24th, learners from the Dominican Grimley School for the Deaf, Lotus High School, Hyde Park Primary, John Graham Primary, Levana Primary and Harmony Primary came together to decorate the bird puppets create by children last year, and to create headresses.
At two o'clock, all the paraders began to assemble outside LOFOB for the parade
The colourful Parade set off up First Road and down First Avenue, keeping time with with the drummers of Fairmount High. The giant bird puppets flew over the heads of the paraders.
At Princess Vlei, the Paraders moved among the crowds enjoying their Heritage Day picknics and braais.
The Fairmount High Band was put through its paces, and the Lotus High learners performed the story of the Great Bird Race, a Khoisan legend of how the weaver came to be the king of the birds.
After the performance, the children enjoyed being part of a drum circle, while organisers arranged the birds and other artworks by the learners into an art display at the water's edge. A few pelicans swam past to view these unusual species.
When the display was up, the children enjoyed looking at their work, and celebrating a day of birds, creativity, community and most of all fun.
Posts by Bridget Pitt unless stated otherwise.