The River Jordan of Cape Town
For generations Princess Vlei has been a chosen venue for this rite of passage due to its seclusion, shallow waters and aesthetic beauty. Princess Vlei is the River Jordan of Cape Town.
Baptism is the central initiation rite in the Christian faith. It is seen as a sacrament in which the believer symbolically rises through the waters of death into the new life of Christ. The practice of baptism by total submersion is common amongst all the independent Pentecostal churches of the Cape.
Many groups come to Princess Vlei from all over the Cape Peninsula for baptisms. More than 150 believers from one church have been witnessed worshipping on the banks of the vlei. Easter is a time when many churches arrive from far afield for their baptism ceremonies. The proposed shopping mall would seriously inhibit or prevent these ceremonies, as it would gravely invade the space and destroy the spiritual integrity, and also seriously compromise the quality of the water.
The Princess Vlei Forum has been building contacts with these groups to ensure that they are informed of the struggles around the mall, and further to ensure that any development takes into account their needs. At a recent meeting with the Greater Philippi Ministers Forum in Samora Michel, General Secretary Pastor Samson welcomed a presentation by forum members, saying ‘If the Mall development goes ahead we will have nowhere to baptize our church members’
Fr John Oliver, Deputy Chair of the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum, stated ‘It is a matter of religious rights. Faith communities have the right to assembly and to the provision of sites to be used for religious purposes. The WCRLF supports its members in preserving Princess Vlei as a Baptism site for future generations.’
It is clear that any future design plan for the vlei must include sufficient space for a baptism site that is safe, accessible and a good distance away from any other activity. Princess Vlei is a place of spiritual regeneration for our communities - a gift not to be squandered.
“ We come here to baptise because the Holy Spirit is in these waters. If they build a mall here, they will
Joseph Dai, Holiness Church of God,
In September last year we created a symbolic cairn at Princess Vlei, blessed by leaders from several different religions. Read more about it...