A FOL update

The Friends of the Liesbeek are often mistaken as the authority wrt to the environmental management of the Liesbeek. Perhaps, it is an honor for this small donor funded organisation to be recognized as such having worked tirelessly for over 20 years looking after the Liesbeek and it’s environs, especially so with the introduction of a full-time Liesbeek Maintenance Project (LMP) “Dream team” some 11 years or so ago. The team rely on a dictated team of volunteers whom secure funding for their operations and remuneration, and of late like most NPOs have found us facing funding challenges during the Covid 19 pandemic. However, having secured the trust of the public and assistance from several City of Cape Town government departments which have unique but similar interests and perspectives, particularly in relation to the pursuit of sustainability. Our collaboration efforts have allowed us a comprehensive appreciation of environmental challenges and encouraged each other to use our expertise and exchange resources to achieve our sustainability goals. It is through these collaborations that a real difference can be made. I would like to take my hat of to all stake holders more so our sponsors, the various city departments such as Recreation and Parks, Catchment and Storm Water Management Branch, Cape Town Invasive Species, Residence Associations and not forgetting the CIDs and sister organisations as well as the many volunteers that dedicate their time working along the Liesbeek. On behalf of the “Dream Team” thank you friends. Below are a few photos appreciating our relationships. To find out how you can contribute to our cause be it through your time or donations please visit www.fol.org.za

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Liveable Urban Waterways

This video forms part of a Living Lab series in an Orange Knowledge Project called Bridging the Waters. We explore how to transform an urban canal into a river. One of the labs involved the Liesbeek along Rosebank.

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11th Annual Peninsula Paddle

The 4th of October saw for the 11th Peninsula Paddle whereby a select few representatives from Future Water UCT, Khayelitsha Canoe Club, Sea The Bigger Picture, City of Cape Town and environmental advocates paddled from Muizenberg to Milnerton via Cape Town’s vlei’s, canals and waterways to raise awareness around the health of our rivers and wetland ecosystems. A lot of pollution and plant overgrowth were to seen along the course of the paddle caused by waste service delivery issues and litter awareness experienced by the city and its citizens. The paddle hopes to bring about positive and transformative change for the life veins of our city. Water quality tests and a video to come.

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2020 AGM

This year’s AGM was held on Zoom as per COVID-19 regulations, a first for FoL. We thank all those who attended as well as our very special guest speaker Dean Impson, A Cape Nature Senior Scientist on Indigenous fresh-water fish in the Berg River Catchment, with a focus on the Liesbeek’s extant & historic species. Furthermore, The Douglas Metcalfe River Warden Award was presented to these 3 fine humans (in absentia) at the Friends of the Liesbeek AGM, with thanks for all they do for our River.

Attached is Sabelo’s Annual Liesbeek Maintenance Project Managers Report Video

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A Brave New World

Maxxor.com have been hosting our website and email for a long long time. It all started off as a year free hosting that I won in a competition and donated to FOL. maxxor kept up the free hosting and support after that but have now moved their core business away from hosting.

We are now hosted on a Hetzner server and I will be approaching them to see if they will be prepared to offer us a hosting deal similar to Maxxor.

In the mean time expect the web site to be revamped and freshened up a bit


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AGM 2018

Friends of the Liesbeek AGM

You are invited to participate in the general annual meeting of the Friends of the Liesbeek

Jeremy Shelton from the Living Labs will address the meeting.

When: 6 pm, Tuesday 24 July 2018
Where: The Splash Cafe, Vineyard Hotel, Newlands

Please RSVP to secretary@fol.org.za

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River Walk with Fynbos Phil in Paradise Park

The African Monarch butterfly rests on its host in a canal near Paradise Park. Thanks to the Liesbeek Maintenance Project’s work along the corridor, the canal’s are slowly transforming from sterile cement to novel habitats.

On Thursday the 5th of October, FoL Chair Phil McLean, affectionately known as FynbosPhil will be leading a river walk inside Paradise Park.

Paradise Park is one of the pride and joys of the Liesbeek river corridor thanks to the Friends group of residents in the surrounding community who have taken serious initiative to upgrade this public green and blue space. The Park has numerous natural play features for children to enjoy the scenic riverine environment. But the attractions of this space extend beyond classic playtime fun. With Phil’s biological insight the walk is sure to help reveal a more subtle beauty of the eco-system within the park area. The talk will be aimed at the younger generation but the more experienced are more than welcome to join in on the conversation.

The walk will start from the bridge below the swings at 2pm, invite your friends and share the event on social media. This is a great opportunity to spend time learning about the Liesbeek river and how we are all reliant on the health of it’s eco-system.

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WESSA National Group Award for FoL

Friends of the Liesbeek has just returned from Durban after an amazing weekend with WESSA. We were privileged and honoured to be recognised for the years of work that we have been doing along the Liesbeek river in receiving WESSA’s annual national groups award. The award is aimed at,

“Any individual, corporate/organisation, community group, educational group, conservation or environmental group who have done outstanding and sustained work for the benefit of environmental conservation and/or education in South Africa.”

The award was handed over by WESSA’s CEO who had the following to say about our project,

“In recognition of their progressive, community-managed local stream rehabilitation initiative, resulting in the conservation of the ecological-corridor of the Liesbeek river while also creating employment for the rehabilitation of the riverine eco-system.

They have effectively included the river community, residents and relevant stakeholders. This innovative and unifying work is an example to be up-scaled to other parts of South Africa.

WESSA acknowledges their dedication to promoting public participation in being ‘People Caring for the Earth”

Hence it would be obvious to state that we have returned to Cape Town with a renewed vigour and inspiration towards our project of rehabilitating and conserving the ecological corridor of the Liesbeek. We would like to thank all of those involved with FoL whether that be formally or informally. We are, after all, a community organisation and it would not be possible to have implemented these interventions without an active community.

Phil McLean (FoL Chairman), Mncekelekeli Klaas (LMP Supervisor) and Conor Eastment (LMP Manager) receiving the National Groups award from WESSA chairman and CEO.

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‘Life on the Liesbeek’ Walk & Talk with Phil McLean

On Friday the 7th of July, Friends of the Liesbeek will be hosting a walk & talk on the Liesbeek river in Paradise Park (click on link for directions) led by Phil McLean, FoL chairperson and invasive species specialist. The event is open to any interested members of the public but is specifically aimed at children.

Titled, ‘Life on the Liesbeek‘ Phil will lead participants around Paradise Park, identifying and explaining the diverse array of life which occurs on the urban river. Phil is a biological ‘guru’ and an experienced outdoor guide with quick wit, so the event is sure to have children enthralled by different forms of life found. However, this does not mean that parents and other ‘older’ people aren’t more than welcome to attend. Having recently been recognised by the City of Cape Town’s invasive species unit for his excellent contribution to the spotter network, there will be more than enough opportunity to have more, ‘boring adult’, conversations pertaining to FoL’s biodiversity rehabilitation work being done on the Liesbeek.

Paradise Park is arguably one of the best spots on the Liesbeek River, with the Friends group of the park having spent plenty of time building up the park’s rest and play spots. The walk & talk will start at 3:30 and last for 30-40 minutes, but make sure to get there early or leave time to enjoy the park after.

Looking forward to spending time with all of the Liesbeek folk!

Phil McLean and City of Cape Town Biodiversity Manager, Julia Wood.

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FoL wins ‘Eco-Logic’ silver award for biodiversity and eco-community categories.


Mncekelekeli Klaas (LMP supervisor) and Conor Eastment (Project Manager) representing Friends of the Liesbeek in Pretoria with the Biodiversity and Eco-Community Awards.

Friends of the Liesbeek has just returned from a successful trip to Pretoria for the 2017 Eco-Logic Awards. The annual awards are hosted by Enviropaedia, a South African environmental encyclopaedia and networking platform that promotes social and environmental sustainability. The awards are held in order to recognise organisations which represent ‘eco-logic’ values. The categories which FoL were nominated for were, the Biodiversity and Eco-Community awards. Represented by project manager, Conor Eastment and Liesbeek maintenance project(LMP) team supervisor Mncekelekeli Klaas the organisation walked away with silver awards for both categories. With a judging panel including government officials from the department of environmental affairs and respected professionals in the environmental field, these awards can be considered a great privilege.

A big congratulations is, therefore, required for all members of the Liesbeek community. Our organisation, founded in the early 90’s has been hard at work restoring and maintaining ecological functioning of the urban Liesbeek river, none of this would be possible without an active community. From the related friends groups of Paradise Park, Rosebank and Mowbray Greenbelt, WESSA, City of Cape Town, SANBI, the Two Rivers Urban Park Association, previous river managers, committee members and volunteers to corporate support from Omni HR consulting, Tuffy and principal funders in ABAX and SAB, our strength lies in the diversity of supporters.

However, our work does not only include ecological restoration. The LMP team, supervised by Mncekelekeli Klaas, are employed on a full time basis to complete this hard work. They are currently enrolled in an environmental practices certificate at Omni HR Consulting in order to ensure that the members are empowered through employment as well as education. The team has been able to practice what they have learnt through FoL’s environmental education portfolio. They have been involved in the facilitation of school outings and corporate volunteer days. Some examples include a recent clean up and tree planting with SAB on World Environment day and hosting the Round Square schools adventure day.  It is our aim to ensure that these hard working environmentalists may utilise their time in the LMP team to become catalysts of change in their respective communities. And so, it seemed fitting that the longest standing LMP team member, Klaas joined in on the trip up to Pretoria for his first flight…ever! Thanks to the financial support from ABAX and SAB, we were able to not only go to the awards, but also appreciate some of the historical sights of South Africa through a visit to the Union Buildings, a tour of Freedom Park and walking around the city centre.

Moving forward, we are going to use this accolade as inspiration to strengthen the project and increase it’s positive impact. If we can be successful with 8 team members working along 9km’s of river then imagine what an expansion of the LMP team could achieve!?

Thanks to all of those involved and hopefully see you out on our beautiful river soon.

Mncekelekeli Klaas, our maintenance team supervisor for 8 years, embracing Madiba’s stance at the Union Buildings.

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