Scene 5: Last Day in Maitland Garden Village

16 December 2013


As our time in Cape Town comes to an end, it was vital that we gathered the community one last time to present the final park design to them. We thought the best way to do so was to hold another community meeting at the community centre. As sat around the table looking at potential dates, Ronell mentioned that 16 December was the 2nd Anniversary of The Green Light Project. They had plans to hold a community event with fun activities for the children. We took a hold of this opportunity and decided to participate in the celebration by presenting to final park plans to the community on that date. Knowing that 16 December is a Reconciliation Day in South Africa, we hoped we would be able to catch the majority of the community in the village that day.


Cast of Characters:

MGV Park Team: Lucine, Katherine, Tyler, Zack

MGV Community: Naiela, Ronell, MGV Community

Professors Scott Jiusto and Lorraine Higgins


Setting: Soccer Field, Maitland Garden Village



We called a cab to pick us up and take us to Garden Village at 11:15 AM.  We left the lodge a little after 11:30 and hit traffic on the way, with Main Street being closed for the Reconciliation Day parade.  Nevertheless we made it to MGV a little past noon.  In the cab, we recalled our first trip to MGV in a cab. Back then, we had no idea where we were going and were unable to provide the cab driver with directions to Ronell’s house. This final time going into MGV, by cab as we did the first, we knew exactly where we were going as we notified the driver when he made a wrong turn and pointed him in the right direction. We drove by Perseverance Road and caught the same glimpse of the park that we had on that first day. However, this time the paint was bright, the lawn was cut, and there were children going up and down the slide. As we approached Beatty Ave, there was already celebratory activity in the soccer field.

One end of the soccer field had a large tent set up, with the side panels flapping in the strong wind.  We could hear music playing and see all the children running around in their bathing suits, waiting for the slip-in-slide to be set up.  We headed over to the tent and saw Naiela and Ronell busy organizing the activities for the day.  They told us to set up at one of the tables underneath the tent and they would announce our arrival once we were ready. As we finished setting up the poster and displayed the catalogue and final design plan, our advisors, Scott and Lorraine, arrived. They were glad to greet so many members of the community and celebrate the anniversary of the Green Light Project, a result of an IQP in 2011. They seemed pleased with our final results and the atmosphere in Garden Village, dancing with Ronell and Naiela.

It was a little windier under than tent then we expected and ended up holding our papers down with our water bottles and bottles of mayonnaise that Naiela had in preparation for the barbeque.  Shelia Galant, an executive member of the Green Light Project, announced our arrival and within minutes community members surrounded the table to see what we had brought.  They flipped through the catalogue, Park Design: Concepts and Illustrations, enjoying the pictures of park elements throughout Cape Town.  They pointed to several photos that they liked and many of them found themselves in pictures displayed on the poster of the Steering Committee.

Throughout the afternoon we spoke with different members of the community both about the design and our time in Maitland Garden Village. We have gotten to know a lot of community members, so we took this opportunity to thank them for welcoming us into their village and to say a final goodbye.

As it came time to leave, we called the cab and said goodbye to the Steering Committee. We told them how excited we are to see what plans they have to carry out the design process. They promised to keep us updated on their progress. We left the soccer field, walking down Beatty Ave for the last time and heading to get our last look at the park.

Just like any other day in MGV, we sat on the park bench observing the play space as we waited for the cab to come.  On the basketball court, we noticed broken beer bottles on the ground, a common sight in the park.  Lucine and Tyler did their last bit of work picking up the broken glass.  As the cab arrived and our team got in, we all turned around in our seats as we drove out of Maitland Garden Village, taking a look of the park for the last time.


Our presentation to the community was a success.  They seemed to be pleased with the final design and eager to know when it would be completed.  It was sad to leave Maitland Garden Village.  This was a place we went almost every day for the past 7 weeks.  As we said goodbye to the community, we wondered if some of them knew this was our final goodbye but we did not want to bring it up because we were in denial ourselves.

There was a noticeable difference in the park from day one until today and as a group we feel like we were able to make an impact on the community while we were here. We look forward to what the community will do as the current leader of the design implementation process and what next year’s MGV group will see when they pull on to Perseverance Rd. for the first time.