On Saturday at 12:00 in Cape Town, South Africa… a group of us gathered at the Alive cafe: creative experience Hub in Muizenberg. We shared stories of the area, some from decades, even hundreds of years ago and some from recent and current times:

  • the battle of Muizenberg centuries before where the Dutch and French fought over who would colonise the Cape;
  • a few decades ago, the apartheid history meant that people of different races were separated on this beach; thankfully, racially mixed people now walk, swim, picnic and surf and play together here 
  • we have heard that a distance out to sea, can be found a sewerage pipe that pumps waste into the sea
  • And then the spot we decided on to create our land art and RadJoy bird, is where the wetlands (we call it a vlei) with its estuary meets the sea. Last year at a time in the cycle when the mouth was blocked off from the sea, all the fish in the estuary died due to gold tide. Vets warn dog owners not to take their dogs walking in the wetlands due to the numbers of dogs that catch ear and eye infections in that area. And in the sand dunes behind where we created our site, its known not to be safe to wander there…the pathways are littered with glass and not fit for walking barefoot and children have been harmed in the past and within the last year tragically the bodies of two children were found in those dunes…

We hadn’t all known about the range of all these stories until we sat and shared them together. We decided to build with all of these stories, past and present… in mind as we created beauty. We went to the spot we had chosen and built a gorgeous spiral sun shape on the top of the small dune to symbolise action to be taken, and a string of children joining hands, outlining them with seaweed so that they stood out on the dune (and to our delight a child came and jumped into that exact area while we were building). We built a Dr Seuss style garden where we planted seaweed and driftwood that cast shadowy shapes on the ground. And we attempted to create some fish and other sea-creatures along the edges of the sand dune, but the sea came to play with us and these were washed away with the tide. Our wish is for the place to be safe and healthy for all forms of life. So we also created our radjoy bird, using shells and kelp collected around us to leave the symbol of radical joy for hard times. It felt good to gather, to honour and to share in this together.

Many thanks, Warm regards: Di, Kate, Shannon, Andrea, Croc-e, Rosemary, Sandra

Koch