The learners came from Lotus High, John Graham Primary, Immaculata High School and Oaklands High. They were accompanied by Abe Ebrahim, the science teacher at John Graham, and Shafiek Isaacs, who teaches lifes sciences at Lotus High.
The workshop was facilitated by a number of volunteers, including artist, teacher and environmentalist Paul Hendricks, Liesl Hartmann (principal at Frank Joubert Art School), Fabian Hartzenber (art teacher, Frank Joubert), Ayesha Price (principal at the Childrens Art School), music and art teacher Brendon Bussy, environmental educationalist Alice Ashwell, and others from the Princess Vlei Forum.
The learners worked hard, designing and creating giant puppets out of paper, card, sticks and plastic. They were given photographs of the birds that live at Princess Vlei as inspiration.
Alice Ashwell spoke about the birds at the vlei to a small group who were decorating boxes with bird drawings. These boxes will be used to collect views from the public on what should be done at Princess Vlei.
The event was thoroughly enjoyed by the learners, many of whom have few other opportunities for creative expression, and few recreational activities on weekends. In the words of Temia May from John graham Primary, 'I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the day – I like making things, and I learnt a lot about art. I love birds, they are gentle and sweet animals, and I think their lives are very important. They are part of life.'
Her feelings were echoed by schoolmate Cara Lipari: ' I liked building the body and the wings of the bird, it was very exciting. I’ve never done this before. I like all birds, but I like pelicans best.'
Their teacher, Ebrahim Abrahams, said, 'I think that it was an awesome opportunity for the children not only to express themselves through art, but use art to show that they care about birds, their environment and indeed Earth itself. They enjoyed the day so much that they insisted on follow up projects.'
Melanie Czernitzky (Intern Social Worker from Germany) said, 'I really enjoyed the art workshop. I am impressed to see the children working so well together in their groups and having so much fun. Their artwork is of very good standard. I am so happy to have been part of the workshop.'
The puppets will be carried in a parade on 27 September, by these and other youth. The parade is to honour and celebrate the natural life at Princess Vlei, and to celebrate the community victory in stopping the mall. It will be followed by a concert of youth drama and music performances at Princess Vlei. Any schools or youth groups who have drama or music acts they would like to perform can email us as soon as possible.