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Beautiful News

Beautiful News

Denisha Anand
A wetland rich in history runs through the Cape Flats. Legend dictates that a Khoi
princess was abducted here by Portuguese sailors. Her tears ran into the marsh, which
was named Princess Vlei after the tale. Flowing through Grassy Park, the site’s vital to
all who’ve lived near its banks. During apartheid, it was one of the few recreational
spaces for people of colour. Today, the wetlands are still an essential part of the
community, and at the forefront of protecting it is Denisha Anand.
As the biodiversity manager of Princess Vlei, she ensures its conservation. Anand
classifies the wetlands as a biocultural landscape – one that is both valuable for its
cultural heritage and ecological wealth. People swim, fish, and braai here, and the vlei’s
social importance has been passed on through generations.
When developers announced plans to build a shopping mall on the wetlands, the
community fought back. Princess Vlei is now a protected biodiversity site that Anand
oversees. While alien plants took over at one stage, the vlei is flourishing again under
her guidance. This year, Anand and volunteers planted over 1 000 indigenous plants.
Endangered plant and animal species such as the Cape Flats Dune Strandveld and
western leopard toad are also preserved here.
Brigitte Reeve-Taylor
The curtains part, the spotlight is on, and the dogs take to the stage. Lithe, elegant, and
graceful? Not these entertainers. But with tails wagging and paws tapping, they
certainly are charming. Affectionate border collies and energetic Jack Russels share the
podium, twirling around and leaping into the air. Their antics are raising the roof – and
much-needed funds – to improve the lives of their fellow canines.
Brigitte Reeve-Taylor is the mastermind behind the spectacle. In 2012, she rescued a
puppy off the highway and came face to face with the suffering stray dogs experience.
An established dancer and choreographer, Reeve-Taylor decided to change their
situation by using her skills and contacts in show business. She founded Dancers LOVE
Dogs to raise money for animal sterilisation – one of the most vital measures to prevent
the increasing number of neglected strays.
Jenny Cullinan
Jenny Cullinan is allergic to bees – but that doesn’t stop her from advocating for them.
Across the world, the insects are bred in hives for their production of honey. Cullinan
believes they deserve a bigger buzz. The precious creatures are responsible for
pollinating crops, and their wild nests are integral to functioning ecosystems. But
globally, bee populations are on the decline. As a conservationist and avid sculptor,
Cullinan is protecting South Africa’s colonies and promoting their role in nature.
Michael Mazibuko
When Michael Mazibuko speaks, hearts shatter. The thespian’s voice penetrates the
soul of all who listen. Mazibuko’s intensity stems from his history. He was kicked out of
home in matric after defying his father’s wishes for him to leave school. Mazibuko spent
countless nights fighting the biting cold. As time passed, he began to understand how
life on the street renders people invisible. But this dreamer grasped on to his hope for a
career in the arts – and it paid off.
In 2016, Mazibuko joined Johannesburg Awakening Minds, a troupe founded by
Dorothy Ann Gould. The award-winning actress uses theatre to upskill, uplift, and
channel the voices of those who are homeless.



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