Youth Speak 4 the Princess
it is important for us as young people to protect a piece of land for future generations to enjoy the beauty of Princess Vlei for eons.- Michelle Mercury, South Peninsula High SRC
Young people have been at the forefront of our campaign to Save Princess Vlei, and have added huge value to the space through clean ups, planting, art projects and other community activities. In 2012, we worked with young people from the area to host a press conference in which they read out their messages for our City's leaders. Sadly none of the invited City Councillors or officials attended. Below are the statements
read out at the conference.
Marissa van Rensburg UCT SRC
Youth month gives us the opportunity to reflect on the fearless role that youth have played in gaining the freedoms that we enjoy today, and there have been some very fearless youth as we know. The youth have been at the forefront of standing up for social justice in our country and today we can see that the struggles not over the saying goes the future belongs to the youth I think actually that the present belongs to the youth and we can’t sit around waiting for everyone else to solve our problems we need to stand up right now as we shall see the youth will do today
The Princess Vlei Forum believes that access to safe recreational green spaces is a critical right for young people and can greatly assist in helping them to deal with the social and economic stresses confronting our communities. Young people have been at the forefront of our struggle to save Princess Vlei from being paved over for a shopping mall, showing greater wisdom than their elders in government in understanding what is of value to our communities. We would like to give them the opportunity to make their concerns known to our leaders, and to show the citizens of Cape Town what the youth have been doing to build a more socially and ecologically sustainable future for our city.
Caylin Prince, Steenberg Primary
Red ons Prinsesvlei
Red ons vlei
Sodat ons ‘n beter lewe kan lei
Is ‘n beter plek om te bly
Ons wil hê dit moet so bly
Sodat ons koekies kan bak van klei
Laat ons sing
Want dit is 'n lekker ding
Want niemand stry
En niemand baklei
Ons wil did lekker maak;
Want ons pieknic kos het 'n lekker smaak
So red ons prinses asseblief
Want ons het haar lief.
Waarom moet ons die vlei red?
Ek wil nie hê die mense moet die vlei na n winkel toe verander nie.
Ons moet dankbaar wees dat die mense vir ons kans gee om die prinses te red en dat hulle baie mense kans gee om te stem en vir ons prinsesvlei te red. Ek sal enige iets doen om vir prinses te red. Want dit sal nie lekker wees vir my om te sien hoe die mense vir die prinses verander na ‘n winkel toe nie.
Dit is vir my soos hulle my hele lewe weg gaan vat want ons gaan hou baie piknic daar ek sal nie laat hulle die prinsesvlei we neem nie ek sal nie daarvan hou nie want op prinsesvlei is die beste park en dit is ook die beste braai plek ons hou daarvan om daar te braai en ek hou ook om op daardie park te speel by prinsesvlei. Vir my gaan dit baie moelik wees om vir prinses net so af te gee want vir my gaan dit wees asof ek my hele lewe weg gaan gee.
Ravaughn Davids Steenberg Primary
I’m writing you the letter to ask you to find another site for the mall because Princess Vlei has a long history. And what will happen to the wildlife and the different speicies of plants? Where will they find another place to settle in? When we just go to the beach or on a hike, we feel a certain joy. That is when you actually come into contact with our Creator’s creations. So Please find another site
If indeed you build a mall, you will endanger our animals. Everyday animals and plants are extinct, but we don’t care as long as we have a few hundred rands in our pockets. Aren’t there enough malls in South Africa? The wildlife and plants might not even exist for our children and all of the future generaions, so please don’t mess up our environment. So keep it in mind and remember me.
Red ons Prinses
Red ons Vlei
Laat ons nooit
Vir haar skei
Verlaat die winkelsentrum
Die seuns gaan by die venster inklim
As die bouery daar kom
Dan gaan ons haar vermom
Dan loop hulle skeef en krom
Red ons Prinses
Red ons Vlei
As jy jou kom kry
Dan is ons bly!
Nuhaa Roberts Steenberg Primary
The reason why I am writing this letter is because we as grade seven learners have been aware of Prinsesvlei. Prinsesvlei is a place that us as people communicate with each other where we feel free and come alive when we reach prinsesvlei. Prinsesvlei is our second nature and a place where people can come to when we feeling lonely and sad. This place connects us when we feel dicsonnected. All the beautiful plants and animals that are going to be destroyed the bacteria that’s gonna destroy the water and everything around it. Princessvlei is like another life to us humans. people always has great respect for the vlei and now the government wants to make it a mall. I think there should be more vleis than malls. Think about how it can affect the people. Prinsesvlei falls into a part of history and comes along way and it continues in every generation. Many people does not want it to end. The vlei is our future and was our ancestors we do not want it to be destroyed.
Princessvlei is who we are
It was always nice and not so far
People always had fun
When they sit and play in the sun
All my memories will fade away
When princess vlei shades away
They want to build a mall
And make the princess vlei fall
Princess vlei turns mad
We will all be sad.
Michelle Mercury – South Peninsula High SRC
Our SRC has been involved in the campaign to save princess vlei since the campaign started. We ourselves at Peninsula High are waging a battle to preserve a piece of land at our school. We are therefore aware of the frustrations, disappointments and sometimes helplessness one feels when contesting issues with authorities
We are 110% behind the Save the Princess vlei campaign. With Mr Kelvin Cochrane, we have been encouraged to look after a piece of indigenous vegetation on the southern side of the vlei we have therefore learnt the importance of indigenous vegetation as opposed to alien vegetation … we have been made aware of why it is important for us as young people to protect a piece of land for future generations to enjoy the beauty of Princess Vlei for eons.
Our SRC recently looked for avenues through which to expose people to environmental issues and we believe that Princess Vlei can serve this purpose to the huge areas of Grassy park and its surroundings. As a piece of land it could be used for open air concerts…it could serve as an area to bring green issues to the public… we can see schools getting together to research the history of the Princess
This is our country. Many young people died so that people could have a better life in South Africa we as the youth must ensure that the work was not in vain. We will not allow big businesses to dictate to young people in South Africa. Be assured that all students, parents, and teachers at South Peninsula high school oppose the building of a concrete jungle on the beautiful Princess Vlei. We will make sure that the Princess Rests in Peace.
Kayiln Spiers, Steenberg Primary
My letter to the government
Honestly, I think this “Shopping mall chaos” is just nonsense! Why would anyone want to build anything at Princess Vlei? Yes, our economy is going bad, yes our country has debt. But whose fault is that? Because of the corruption, frad and wrong doings in South Africa. We have our so=called president spending millions of rands on his home and wants. While our people are suffering from hunger, diseases, people are homeless and unemployed, lack of schools and hospitals our leaders are setting BAD examples! What is our country to you? A free for all? A circus? During Apartheid the Prinsesvlei was or us the black and mixed race, now you want to take it away.
Prinsesvlei is not just a vlei, it’s not just land and water waiting to be destroyed. It’s a place of memories, our heritage and our life. My mom and her friends grew up being at Prinsesvlei, and so did many other men and women. They had children and they wanted to let their kids experience the same things they did. Prinsesvlei has history no vlei could ever maintain. Why would you want to take that away?
Braam Hamekom ANCYL National Task Team
I want to thank Natalie and PVF for bringing such vibrant youth, because including the youth brings not only vibrancy and energy but actually builds them in their lives and in their futures and I think this is a very principled, clear and obvious campaign where certain individuals have their own pockets and interests and it is clear that they are more concerned in providing for the wealthy elite so they can spend and earn large monies instead of providing a space for the youth and the people from the community around grassy park to play in, to enjoy and to grow in.
So I think from the side of the ANC youth league I myself as a national task team member of the will certainly be trying to get national support for this and once we put in place a provincial task team and a regional task team to replace the outgoing exec I will put as much pressure as I can to ensure that they are very much involved in this campaign while recognising that this campaign is a non political campaign but we do believe that student politicians like the other rep who spoke have an obligation to involve themselves.
There is a big silence from certain role players who are at the forefront of implementing these actions thereby violating the rights of the community and their Princess Vlei by forcing on them a mall that would only serve as a gated complex that would limit freedom of movement of those who cannot afford to purchase things from a shopping mall. We believe that a free open space would bring environmental benefits that should be protected, the youth should be allowed to grow up in such an environment, people should not have to pay to access that area they shouldn’t have to be customers of a shopping mall. That is public space, it should be made public space.
I think as we approach youth day tomorrow it is very important to encourage other youth to be very much involved in the campaign and we also undertake to engage COSAS, the Young Communist League and our other partners like SASCO in the province to say that they should actively support this campaign but recognising that is a non political campaign so if DASO or the DA youth or any other formation is willing to join the campaign we would be very much happy if they come and join the campaign but if they don’t I think that is a statement on its own. So thanks very much for inviting us and I fully support this campaign and I will undertake to get organisational support in this campaign.
Waseema Abrahams Lotus High
Why should we plant trees at Princess Vlei?
I think we should keep Princess Vlei as a nature resort instead of building a mall there. By planting trees and plants there we are not only helping the environment but we are helping ourselves and all the animals there. We all know we need oxygen to survive and by planting trees at Princess Vlei we are doing just that. We also provide a home for small animals. Princess Vlei is a beautiful place and we are saving it and making it more beautiful by planting trees. It would also be wonderful to have an outdoor green house there.
John Graham Primary -Science Leadership Club Joint statement read by Lamees Ismail, Khadija Mohammad, Chelsea Goosen, Yaseen Ali Rawoot, Aidan Groenewald, Asemahle Cebisa, Samir Hassan
Youth for the Princess
The John Graham Primary Enviro-Science Leadership Club is a club where we learn how to interact with our environment in a positive way, are trained as leaders and learn about scientific principles.
The members of our club cannot understand why an important historical and beautiful place such as Princess Vlei must be bulldozed so that another shopping mall can be built. Planet Earth is the only planet we can live on. We need to take great care of planet Earth by looking after our natural environment. Princess Vlei is part of our natural environment.
Previous members of our Science Club have been planting fynbos at Princess Vlei since 2010 to make her more beautiful than she already looked. We planted trees at Princess Vlei last year and do regular clean-ups. We attend programmes held at Princess Vlei that make people aware of the important cultural heritage of the area. Our school brought visiting teachers from America and the United Kingdom to enjoy Cape Town’s natural beauty. We will continue to improve Princess Vlei so that our community, rich and poor, can have a place to relax and enjoy.
We would like Princess Vlei to be developed into a place where friends and families could meet to have a picnic or a braai while the children play in a skate park or on the swings. It would be good to have a safe area to exercise, run and keep fit. It will be very educational to have a centre at Princess Vlei where can learn more about the environment we live in.
We would like our local political leaders and government leaders to act responsibly and not make decisions that will destroy our natural environment but to support us in our plea to save Princess Vlei as a safe green space for many generations to come.
Save Princess Vlei!
Saarah Brown Grade 7 John Graham Primary
Firstly I would like to say good afternoon to you and to thank you fro attending this Youth for the Princess press conference
As you all know, June is Youth month and a great time to remind people about the environmental heritage we have here in Cape Town alone, one of which is Princess Vlei. Princess Vlei , with its critically endangered cape flats sand fynbos, has been around for a 500 year recorded history starting from the princess of Elephant’s eye and the vlei. The main reason of which we are all gathered here today is to educate you of why a mall should not be built at Princess Vlei. One of the reasons is that there are clearly enough malls in other area, secondly the development of the mall should be a choice that the communities decides on and according to residents living at the surrounding area, 99% of them are in agreement that the mall shouldn’t be built, and on behalf of my fellow peers and educators I’d like to tell you that we say no to the development of the mall at Princess Vlei. Finally I have come to the main point of my speech and that is although it may take years to dress our princess with natural vegetation it will all be worth it in the end and our generations to come will have this lovely place to enjoy. So as an individual I preach to you, start now and it will make a difference to our future.
Lotus High Daniel Hector I have always had a love for nature and when teachers informed us about the plight of the Princess and the importance of wetlands and open recreational spaces, I just had to get involved . In 2010 I was chosen, with another student from the school, to go on a camp called the YSA ( Youth Safety Ambassadors) camp. The camp taught us how to address issues affecting our community. One of these were environmental health and safety. The camp is held twice a year. Then at the end of the 2012 I attended MKK( Media KIdocracy Konference) with a number of other students. I was asked to deliver a speech on the future of our environment and how we see it as a matriculant from our school.
Since these camps, the students from Lotus High have been involved in the greening of our school by planting indigenous plants with the help of our Life Sciences teacher, Mr. Isaacs. Some of the plants planted at Princess Vlei were propogated here at our school. Our school has been checking up on Princess Vlei on a regular basis. We were involved in the planting of at least 50 trees at the Vlei. We have also been to Princess Vlei on Mandela Day, offering our 67 minutes to cleaning and planting at the vlei. We attanded the People’s Plan for the Princess convention. At the convention the youth gave suggestions on the type of recreational activities they would like to see at the vlei. Statements were given by everyone who attended.
Since then, the school has continually been involved in the saving of Princess Vlei. The school is committed to preserving the biodiversity that has always existed at the one and only Princess Vlei.
Personally, I see the Princess as a mother and an ecological key factor to our community. Taking away the Princess will be like taking away a mother from a child, because as mother nature Princess Vlei is a part of that and as she has looked after us we should take it upon ourselves to look after her
SAY YES TO THE PRINCESS AND NO TO THE MALL
Domonique Affinand , Lotus High
I’ve been helping out at the Princess Vlei for a year… as you can see on the side there are pictures of what we and the other schools have done - we actually put our blood sweat and tears in literally … don’t build another mall, rather build a recreational facility for us. Because building another mall, who’s it actually going to benefit? Us, or people who have more money than us or wealthy people? Whereas with a recreational facility you can come and bond with each other, you can be as God wanted us to be because God created Princess Vlei and he wanted us to look after it because when we never had a home. Princess Vlei provided us with a home