Princess Vlei Forum honours women

Princess Vlei Forums heritage representative, Mary Jansen; Princess Vlei Forum chairperson Gary Stewart; and Joan Campbell from the Cochoqua Khoi Khoi tribe.

The Princess Vlei Forum planted three Milkwood trees in honour of three indigenous women at Princess Vlei to celebrate national Women’s Day and the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

Both these days are observed annually on August 9.

The three women honoured were the Khoi Princess who the vlei was named after, Sarah Baartman and Krotoa.

Another tree was also planted to honour journalist and activist, Zubeida Jaffer.

Mary Jansen, the forum’s heritage representative, said the trees were planted as a reminder of the power of community, the strength of diversity and the importance of roots.

“The trees planted on Women’s Day will be living monuments in honour of the indigenous people and strong women of this land, past and present,” she said.

Those in attendance then had the opportunity to plant more trees to represent strong women relatives who have made an impact on communities.

Altogether, 34 trees were planted at the vlei. The forum is in the process of restoring the fauna and flora of the vlei after years of neglect. A plan to build a shopping centre there was overturned in 2014.

Ms Jansen said the vlei, along the M5, holds an energy and a memory going back thousands of years.

“They said trees were a powerful symbol of connection- they flourish when they grow together, connect and communicate through their roots.”