Save the Vlei Prayer meeting: 22 September 2013

We come here to baptise because the Holy Spirit is in these waters… Any one who builds a shopping centre here must know that he is fighting with God because God chose this place for us…

– Joseph Dai, Holiness Church of God.

The Princess Vlei Forum will be holding a multi-faith prayer meeting at 2pm on 22 September 2013. The meeting will celebrate the spiritual and cultural richness of the vlei; build our vision for a nature and heritage park at the vlei and unite Capetonians from all faiths and cultures behind the call to stop the mall. It will be held in honour of Reverend John Oliver, a dedicated Princess Vlei Forum executive member who suffered a fatal heart attack in July this year. The meeting follows the call made by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu last month to conserve the vlei.

Princess Vlei has long been a sacred site for people of different faiths. The legend of the Khoi Princess, and the vlei’s cultural history, have identified it as a sacred site for Khoisan tribes. It has been a popular baptism site for as long as anyone can recall. Every weekend, several churches go there for baptisms, coming from as far as Upington and Gauteng. For others, it is a place to feel close to God and nature, a place that offers peace and solace in a troubled world.

The prayer meeting will incorporate speakers, prayers and ceremonies from Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Bahai, Buddhist, Hindu and Rasta faiths. The leaders of the House of Xoraxouhoe and the House of Cochoqua will also be present and will perform Khoisan cleansing rituals. Speakers will include Bishop Geoff Davies, from the South African Faith Communities Environmental Institute; Archbishop Stephen Brislin from the Catholic Church, Elder Petse from the Gospel Church of Power, and Imam Rashied Omar from the Claremont Mosque.

The meeting will incorporate a communal act of commitment involving the creation and blessing of a cairn at Princess Vlei. The cairn will be created from stones brought from all over Cape Town, and will symbolise the unity of different faiths and cultures that are brought together by Princess Vlei. Members of the public are invited to bring stones to add to the cairn

The prayer meeting celebrates our vision for the transformation of Princess Vlei into a heritage and nature park, which will offer a space to grow a future Cape Town that is united in diversity. We call again on the authorities to work with all of us in realising this vision, and to put a stop to the sale of the land for a mall.

For more information, contact Bridget Pitt 0824621308


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