Scene 4: Planting the Seeds

14 December 2013


The formation of the steering committee provided an opportunity for community members to step up and make a difference in the park. The group decided it would be worth making an investment in the form of a planting day to not only beautify the park, but to also give people a chance to remain invested in the park by putting something in the ground. Plants were provided by the City Parks Department as well as some compost, shovels, and gloves. The implementation of the first landscaping phase was underway!

planting day scene pic

Cast of Characters:

MGV Park Team: Lucine, Tyler, Katherine, Zack

Community Members: Naiela, Ronell

MGV Steering Committee



Perseverance Park



When we came through the Oude Molen gate just across from the park, we could already see Uncle Marty digging a hole to begin the planting. The plants that we would be planting that morning were already spread out on the ground in the places they would soon consider home. We wasted no time in joining Uncle Marty digging into the hard ground. Just a few minutes later other community members began to arrive, many of which were members of the Steering Committee. Everyone who came took up one task or another to have their part in the plantings. Some picked up a shovel and began to dig more holes while others spread compost over the new plants or secured buckets of water for the first watering the plants would receive.

Hard work was being done and the area was bustling with activity. People weren’t just doing the work, they were excited about what was happening and happy to contribute to the park. Since we had heard at one of our meetings at the soup kitchen that members of the community didn’t call the park Perseverance Park we brought up the idea of finding a new name for it, one that the community would want to have for the park. Some of the names suggested were “Garden of Eden” and “Mandela Park”. Others liked “Perseverance Park” due to its underlying meaning to persevere.  However, the group did not come to a conclusion while planting. They found it difficult to find one name that would encompass the sense of community that the park stood for. The naming of the park is something that the Steering Committee will continue to think about during the redevelopment process as one more way to take ownership of the park.

Once all the plants were in the ground and the soil had been spread,  it was time to water them. Janine, a member of the Steering Committee, and Lucine walked to Janine’s house to fill two buckets of water. We thought we would need to refill the buckets, but when Gershwin went over to the sprinkler valve with Uncle Marty, we soon realized the part of the park where the plantings were placed did indeed have irrigation. After some trial and error getting the right set of sprinklers to turn on, the plants were getting sprayed with water. Children were playing in the sprinklers, splashing us as we stopped to observe the successful work of that morning.  We left the park, leaving the park full of excitement and great hope for the future.



While putting a few more plants in the ground was a relatively simple activity, the visible momentum of the activity meant so much more. People walking about could see that a large group of community members were working hard to make the park a better place and enjoying themselves in the process. We are reassured that the redevelopment process will continue once we leave Cape Town thanks to the group of people who showed their commitment, passion, dedication, and pride for their community today in the park.