“This is the Great Sky Goddess. She protects all the creatures of the sky such as sea birds, wetland birds, and flying insects. At Princess Vlei the Goddess protects wetland birds such as the Grey Heron, the African Fish Eagle and the weaver. We can help the Godess by minimizing air pollution and taking care of flying creatures.
This is how Damica Fortuin (16) from Lotus High introduced one of the Nature Guardian figures installed at Princess Vlei on Saturday 21 September.
The installation was part of the Flight of Dreams Parade, which is held each year to create awareness of and to celebrate the wildlife at Princess Vlei, and to showcase the artistic talents of our youth.
Due to the rain, the parade did not go through the streets this year - instead a shorter parade was held on Princess Vlei itself. However, this did not dampen the spirits of the 200 children who turned out to take part. They were keen to showcase the Nature guardians, totem poles and puppets they had been making throughout the year, as part of the Forum’s work in using the Princess Vlei to instil a passion for nature amongst local youth.
Also featured on the parade were young members of the Jungle Theatre Company’s drama club and the fabulous creations of eMzantsi Carnival. eMzantsi’s Blokka band provided a lively beat for the paraders.
The three nature guardians were created from natural biodegradable materials, and have been installed at Princess Vlei to remind us of our work as humans to care for the environment. The eland, introduced by 12 year old Julius Bolligelo from Harmony Primary, represents the earth plants and creatures, and the spirit of the animals that have been displaced by humans It helps to keep nature in balance. Speaking of the Water Guardian, Nicole Anthony (17) from Lotus High said, “This is the Fish guardian, guardian of all creatures of the sea and the water. At Princess Vlei it looks after the fish and wetland birds. We can help it by keeping the waters and the ocean free of pollution.”
Children tied cloth around the poles to symbolize their promise to care for the planet. Xavier Anders and two other learners read out intentions written by Primrose Park Primary learners. They pledged to pick up littering, and keep wild creatures form harm and other pledges. The pledges which were written on sticks were suspended from nearby branches.
The high poles are aimed at providing perches for raptors, as Princess Vlei has no tall trees. They have been placed in the semicircle of trees which were planted on 9 August in honour of strong women and our indigenous mothers.
After the parade, participants took shelter from the rain at the Jolly Carp, where they enjoyed a rap performance from Quan Michaels (16) from Grassdale High, who is a member of Heal the Hood; spectacular cultural dancing from the young Khayalitsha based 7784 Performers, and a play called the Mantis and the Bee by the JTC. This recounted a traditional Khoe creation myth, and reminded the audience of the need to care for the earth. The afternoon ended on a high note with performance by Emile Jansen and Mixed Mense.
The event formed part of the African Climate Alliance’s week of Positive Action. Princess Vlei Forum supports the ACA’s work in urging government and business to take urgent and effective action to mitigate and limit the devastating impacts of climate change.
Special Thanks to the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust for funding our rehabilitation and educational work at Princess Vlei; to Brent for so generously donating his time and sound equipment, which greatly cheered up the grey skies; to the Jolly Carp team for taking us in out of the rain; to Sarah Oliver for taking the pics and to Siraaj Roomaney for donating juice. Thanks also to our organizing partners PCAC; eMzantsi and Jungle Theatre Company, especially Fabian from PCAC for late nights stitching Guardians; to all the Forum team, and to our amazing community of learners and teachers.
Posts by Bridget Pitt unless stated otherwise.