About The Princess Vlei Forum

The Princess Vlei Forum is a nonprofit, non-partisan organisation comprising individuals and organisations. It was officially constituted on October 31, 2012, but has grown out of a ten year struggle to protect the vlei from commercial development.

Early efforts to protect the vlei were spearheaded by Kelvin Cochrane, who had inspired and the civic- led rehabilitation projects of the Bottom Road Sanctuary and Dressing the Princess. Cochrane and members of the Greater Cape Civic Alliance, the Lotus River and Grassy Park Civic Association, WESSA and others opposed the extension of the rezoning of the property in 2010. The City Council paid heed to public objections and did not extend the rezoning, but in 2012 MEC Bredell overturned this decision. In Response to Bredell’s ruling, various organisaitons and individuals came together to form the Princess Vlei Forum.

The guiding philosophy of the Forum is informed by the wisdom gained through Dressing the Princess, and stresses the importance of empowering communities through engagement; the creation of meaning in a public space through community ownership; and the healing of fractured communities
bestowed by contact with nature.

Enriched by this philosophy, the Forum’s campaign has always been inspired not only by opposition to the mall, but by a vision of a space that can serve the community, restore dignity, affirm identity and reconnect people with their natural and cultural heritage.

This vision has been enriched by the diversity of the forum, which has drawn together religious leaders, community members, trade unionists, musicians, artists, lawyers and environmentalists. Each offers a different lens through which to view the vlei, together creating a multilayered
vision of its potential.

The Forum’s activities revolve around four key objectives:

  • To protect the space: to ensure through legal and civic action that the land is not sold, and that the public open space around the vlei is granted long term protection on environmental and heritage grounds
  • To imagine the space: To gather and consolidate a community vision for how the space could be developed as a nature and heritage park
  • To claim the space: encourage community use of the space for different activities
  • To build connection, and empower community members through networking and organised action.

Read more about our Associated organisations

Read more about our Constitution