Many people have a passion project – something they really enjoy doing that falls outside their usual daily work. And when that project makes a real difference in the lives of their community, it becomes something truly meaningful.
It’s against this backdrop that the City of Cape Town acknowledges the work of individuals that has resulted in meaningful positive results for the citizens of the city. And, during December last year, three members of the local Jewish community were recognised for their passion projects.
Congratulations to Patsy Bagraim, Gary Anstey and Shani Judes – you have all given of your time and your energy to take actions that have provided significant benefits to your fellow citizens.
The Breakfast Club
Patsy Bagraim, co-founder of The Breakfast Club at Good Hope Seminary Junior School in Gardens, which she has run since 2016 says, “We realised that, among the children coming to the school, many leave very early from their township homes to get to school and there isn’t time or money for their parents to provide them with a healthy meal to start off the day. And, as we know, a person needs good nutrition to be able to learn, so the provision of food before the start of lessons is crucial for these children.”
Patsy and her team provide an E’Pap and fruit breakfast to up to 350 Grade R to Grade 7 children every day during term time at the school. (E’Pap is a highly nutritious food that’s of great benefit to those unable to afford the cost of nutritious foods.)
The feeding project has grown substantially in the years since Patsy initiated it, and it’s a core part of the children’s school day. And, in addition to the feeding of the children, the project is also helping to develop leadership skills among other children. As Patsy explains, “The breakfasts are prepared, served and cleared by teams of Grade 6 and 7 girls. As these girls develop a sense of commitment, responsibility and leadership, we believe that The Breakfast Club is developing leaders of the future.”
In recognition of her dedication and work, Councillor Francine Higham awarded her a Certification of Recognition Civics Award.
Friends of Van Riebeeck Park
Another project receiving recognition from the City is the Friends of Van Riebeeck Park. Founder and current Chair of the Friends is Gary Anstey, a resident of Highlands Estate, which is where the Park is situated.
Gary explains that, “The Friends organisation was started in 2015, with a view to rehabilitate the open public space in order to protect and conserve the flora, fauna and heritage of the unique ecosystem. A vision was created in association with landscape and heritage architects to restore the link between Table Mountain and Table Bay, and to establish the park as a natural link along green belts between the harbour and Platteklip Gorge.”
While Gary comments on the difficulties associated with the project, such as trying to satisfy all parties and the onerous task of meeting the City of Cape Town’s many requirements to ensure accountability and transparency, the efforts have clearly paid off: the City’s award speaks to the dedication and service to the community and to the service delivery evidenced by the project.
“Today,” says Gary, “the intervention has proved enormously successful. The area is utilised by walkers, runners, cyclists, dog walkers, and for celebrations, picnics and film shoots. The Park’s popularity is enhanced by its magnificent views of Table Mountain and its distinct ecosystems.”
In association with a church outreach programme caretakers are deployed in the park seven days a week, and their presence results in a cleaner, well-maintained area that draws in more visitors each day.
The majority of the funding for the fence, the attractive pedestrian gateways, and vehicle entrances was provided by residents in the immediate vicinity of the park, a few businesses, schools, and the City of Cape Town. In 2019 Suma De Bruyn conceptualised the Platteklip Trust and put the resources of her law firm behind the vision and negotiations with the City. The Trust is a registered s18A and this facilitated fundraising for the first stage of securing the Park.
Looking to the future, there are various ideas for how to expand on the use of the park. These include: the development of interpretive displays and guided walks up to Tafelberg Road, the development of informal working spaces in the less windy areas of the park, the establishment of steps and bridges to descend river banks and crossings, tree ID signage, and the renaming of the park.
Public Art in Cape Town
A key driver in the field of public art in Cape Town, Shani Judes, received a Civic Award – Certificate of Recognition from Councillor Nicola Jowell in December last year.
Shani explains: “The award was for my contribution to the city with regards to over a decade of public art. I have had the privilege to put together a number of amazing pieces through the city and often in Ward 54 (Atlantic Seaboard). This includes murals, sculpture work and the photographic exhibitions you see on the Sea Point Promenade.” She has been involved in 24 of the current public-facing murals citywide, three current photographic exhibitions on the Sea Point Promenade and some of the sculpture works there.
Most of the work has a conservation message attached to it, especially ocean conservation. Shani has a deep passion for the ocean and art. “Bringing the two together is my contribution towards spreading the message in an easily accessible way for the public.”
According to Councillor Jowell, “Shani has been the inspiration, hard worker, driver and implementer behind so much of our beautiful public art that graces some of our public spaces. Shani really does leave a legacy with this public art. Not only creating a special place for people and to enhance their experience of public spaces, but a legacy in public art.
“Shani is passionate about public art. In the last few years we have had stunning murals painted on the Milton Play Park toilet blocks. And also three sets of changing photographic art exhibitions on the Promenade wall. Most recently Shani has been the South African project director for the international Sea Walls Project which has rolled out 500 murals in 19 countries, all with a conservation focus. Shani had the mammoth task of installing 17 murals across our city.”
Shani is very appreciative of the effort that the ward councils put in to keep their wards running smoothly. “Projects like mine wouldn’t be possible without their support,” she says. “Receiving this award is important because it confirms that the work in this space is meaningful. It’s also great to be recognised in my home town of Cape Town which I love.”
The public projects we’ve highlighted in this article all offer opportunities for you and the wider public to get involved.
So, if you’d like to join in, see below for what help is needed and maybe you’ll identify something you’d really like to work in.
THE BREAKFAST CLUB
– Volunteers needed to assist with washing up and drying dishes, spoons and bowls
– Monetary donations needed A Section 18A certificate for tax can be issued
Contact Patsy – firstname.lastname@example.org
FRIENDS OF VAN RIEBEECK PARK
– Assistance with public relations and social media
– Volunteers who are creative thinkers and can come up with ideas for how to maximise the utilisation of the Park
Contact Gary – email@example.com
– identify public spaces for use for public art
– Help to raise funds for projects
– Assist with education at schools about ocean conservation, water safety and art
Contact Shani – firstname.lastname@example.org
• Published in the February 2024 issue – Click here to start reading.
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