In Madiba's foreword of the book so carefully crafted and researched by Anna Trapido called
Hunger for Freedom: The story of food in the life of Nelson Mandela, he wrote
'I was not born with a hunger to be free. I was born to be free. Free in every way that I could know. Free to run in the fields near my Mother's hut, free to swim in the clear stream that ran through my village, free to roast mielies under the stars.....
It was only when I learnt that my boyhood freedom was an illusion.......... that I began to hunger for it' Nelson Mandela
We hope this article sustains the energy expressed in this foreword by Mr Mandela! We, at the Princess Vlei Forum (PVF) are campaigning to save Princess Vlei and the protection thereof of Rondevlei,Zandvlei and Zeekoevlei which are a conglemerate of interlinked Vlei's on the Cape Flats Wetlands. We would like to enlighten the readers of the intense plight we are facing in retaining a well -known and loved Wetland on the Cape Flats, called Princess Vlei.' Dressing the Princess' is our contribution to the rehabilitation process under the leadership of Mr Kelvin Cochrane. Many schools in the area have adopted this campaign and the learners have been directly involved with the rehabilitation process of clearing the land and the planting of trees in partnership with SANBI, WESSO and many other contracting partners.
I would like to preface what the Ramsar Convention is about in brief. South Africa signed in the time of Mr Madela's incarceration on 12 March 1975. The Ramsar Convention provides a framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. UNESCO serves as a Depository of the Convention. The administration is entrusted to a secretariat known as the Ramsar Bureau which located in Switzerland.
There are 118 contracting parties (including South Africa) which in summary have subscribed to a particular code as follows:
• Facilitating the development at national level of policies and actions including legislation
• presents an opportunity for a country to make its voice heard in the principle intergovernmental forum on the conservation and wise use of wetlands
• increased possibility of support for conservation and wise -use of measures
• brings access to the latest information and application on management planning in wetlands
• acess to expert advice on national and site-related problems
• encourages international co-operation on wetland issues
• contracts with multi -lateral and bi-lateral external support agencies including the small grants fund of the Ramsar Convention
• better protection by government, through high level political commitment to maintain the sites ecological character for more detailed reading go to the Ramsar Convention website.
• increased opportunities for Tourism
• profile raising of the wetland through promotion of a flagship for conservation, good management and wise use of wetlands in the region
• For more detailed reading and understanding of the Ramsar Convention codes go to the Ramsar website
Photo: Emile with the Youth of the Cape Flats campaigning for the 'Rights of the Princess' on 16 June 2012