Trees planted to honour women

2019-08-13 06:00
Charlene, Lorna and Anthea Houston planting a tree to remember and honour their mother.PHOTO:

Charlene, Lorna and Anthea Houston planting a tree to remember and honour their mother.PHOTO:

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Close to 100 residents from Grassy Park and Retreat planted 35 trees at Princess Vlei to mark Women’s Day and International Day of the World’s Indigenous People on Friday 9 August.

Emma Oliver, secretary of the Princess Vlei Forum, said the organisation hosted its tree planting event on Friday in line with the organisation’s mandate – to restore the area which has a long history and heritage. The forum is committed to restoring the land and the water body around Princess Vlei which is a place where people want to spend time safely and happily.

Some of the speakers at the event included Tanya Gradwell, who spoke and read a poem about Krotoa, a translator working for the Dutch during the formation of the cape colony.

Representative of the Khoi/San community Princess Chantal Revell spoke about Sarah Baartman and also presented Chief Mary Jansen of the Khoi community with a book in honour of her work.

The organisation planted a magical Milkwood tree with powerful historical connections in honour of The Khoi Princess after whom Princess Vlei is named.

Zubeida Jaffer, award-winning author and journalist who was also active in the South African anti-apartheid and the trade union movements, said the trees served as living monuments in honour of the indigenous people and strong women.

A tree was also planted to honour Jaffer and the work she has done for the country and its indigenous people.

The Princess Vlei Forum said the trees reminded them of the power of community, the strength of diversity and the importance of roots. “The trees are a powerful symbol of connection and they flourish when they grow together, connect and communicate through their roots,” Jaffer said.

Residents who took part in the festivities stepped forward and planted trees in honour of different strong female relatives who made or continue to an impact in local communities.

Siblings Charlene, Lorna and Anthea Houston planted a tree to remember and honour their mother.

“We passed the mic around to give everyone a chance to speak.

“Some people planted trees to honour famous people while others planted trees to honour their mothers, women who died of cancer, their aunts, their grandmothers and women who have contributed to their lives,” said Oliver. “The day was everything we hoped it would be and it was a gathering of strong women.”

V For more information on the work they do, follow @PrincessVleiForum on Facebook.

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