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Cape Town – The Bonteheuwel International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) and the Walking Ladies celebrated the second anniversary of the David Profit Street Peace Garden on the weekend with a youth inspired programme.
The garden is one of the seven peace gardens across the Cape Flats that aims to create safe spaces, youth programmes and foster social cohesion in communities.
IWPG peace ambassador Soraya Salie said the gardens were initiated in 2017 as a peace advocacy project which started in Mitchells Plain with the initial idea of planting sunflower seeds in primary schools.
David Profit Street Peace Garden, a fynbos garden which was started in 2019, is situated behind a church wall and between a school and clinic which Salie said was a dumping site and a crime hub. She said the space used to burn stolen cables and drugs were stored inside the church walls.
Salie said the garden has played a pertinent and important role in bringing the community together especially the neighbourhood of David Profit Street and surrounding areas.
“There are so many open spaces in our communities and people should take ownership of such spaces and be inspired by our peace gardens.
“Our vision is to turn the garden into the next Kirstenbosch Gardens where we can attract tourists to our area and where couples can take pictures for their weddings.
“The garden also is a learning curve for the youngsters where they are taught about nature conversation so that they value mother nature, flora and fauna,” she said.
Women Zone founder Nancy Richards said gardening was one of the unifying exercises used to bring communities together. She said by telling their stories, and listening to other people’s stories people are brought together. She said the peace gardens had managed to achieve that.
Ward councillor Angus McKenzie said Salie had worked hard in creating a better Bonteheuwel by not only making it a safer but also an aesthetically pleasing community.
“Creating peace is not just about more police officers and law enforcement officers but socially lifting our communities, giving them spaces to be in and spaces to feel what it is to be a community again.
“This specific peace garden is one of those places that people can come in and enjoy our rich cultural heritage of not just a community but everything that a community stands for,” McKenzie said.
“I trust that what has been achieved in that peace garden will be something that will be continued throughout the community and various other communities across the Cape Flats that have spiked with crime and social ills.
“We hope other areas will follow suit and see that if one works from the bottom up they are able to achieve the sustainable change that is needed in creating a successful community,” said McKenzie.