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Princess Vlei gets heritage site plaque for its 'high historical social value'

Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC Anroux Marais officially unveiled the Provincial Heritage site plaque at Princess Vlei off the M5 in Retreat. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency

Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC Anroux Marais officially unveiled the Provincial Heritage site plaque at Princess Vlei off the M5 in Retreat. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency

Published Oct 13, 2021


Cape Town - An official Provincial Heritage Site plaque was unveiled at Princess Vlei, proving a monumental moment for all who fought for the special status.

Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC Anroux Marais unveiled the plaque at Princess Vlei, off the M5 in Retreat, on Tuesday.

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The special recognition of the Princess Vlei Eco Park was made possible by experts from Heritage Western Cape, and the City’s facilitation along with assistance from Khoisan leadership and the Princess Vlei Forum Heritage Committee.

During the keynote address, Marais said: “Princess Vlei is a significant natural heritage resource that has high historical social value as it represents the living expression of the historic evolution of the Khoi and San from past to present.

“The evolution of these people of great significance is intrinsically associated with the sense of place within the cultural landscape of this part of the city.

“Its geographical location as a natural gateway to the south contributes significantly to its aesthetic value within the community. The sense of place of the wetland system extending through Grassy Park to Strandfontein enables an ecological stepping-stone that contributes to environmental value as a biodiversity benchmark site.”

Marais thanked the forum for focusing and promoting the significance of the vlei as a heritage resource within the City.

The Mayco member for Community Services and Health, Zahid Badroodien, said: “The City believes in working with the community and giving agency to organisations and residents who work with us to protect the natural and cultural heritage of Cape Town.

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“The Recreation and Parks Department formalised an agreement with the Princess Vlei forum that allows the organisation to use and maintain the space and give them an equal voice in the daily management of the vlei.

“As a City, we are all celebrating the heritage recognition, and I hope that more residents take advantage of the leisure and rest the vlei offers.”

Mr Kevin Southgate ward 72 Councilor during the unveil of Provincial Heritage site. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)
Willian Leith during the unveiling. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

Deputy chief of the Cocoqua, Edwin Fillies, said the recognition was a significant milestone whereby the historic, present and future hopes of people comes together, and in particular the Khoi people.

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“This is where the power of acknowledgement and to be acknowledged comes into play. It’s indeed a space of recreation, ecological rehabilitation and cultural significance but it’s always a place where we are reconnecting with our identity, dignity and destiny.”

The Princess Vlei is a wetlands area that runs through Grassy Park and Strandfontein.

“It also held significance for the indigenous people as the Vlei was named after a Khoi princess who according to local legend was abducted by the Portuguese sailors while bathing in its waters.

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“Significant victories have been won to keep it as a place to be enjoyed by all the surrounding communities instead of development by big business. So in that sense it is also a place of protest that shows the resilience of these marginalised communities.”

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Cape Argus