A bit of history | September 2009 newsletter WESSA Durban branch

Researching the Durban Green Corridor along the uMngeni River this evening I found this newsletter; in some small way WESSA DURBAN BRANCH helped start this great eThekwini project with our donation of R10,000.00 to Gary Cullen and the community of Clermont for the Aller River clean up, a tributary of the uMngeni.

Margaret Burger
15 May 2012

September 2009

Durban branch is pleased to have momentum again!

We thank our outgoing acting chairperson Rob Jamieson for holding Durban branch together through a period of trial and tribulation.  Jean and Cecil Moore have moved to Australia leaving a great void.  Rob has been adamant that we will get through the lean times and he is so right. 

Cheryl Borresen our stalwart secretary was awarded a Certificate of Achievement at our AGM on 13 June 2009 for all the years of meticulous minute keeping!  Cheryl says “I am becoming an activist in my retirement!”

Durban branch welcomes Crispin Hemson as the new chairperson.

Crispin’s message contains details of how Durban branch envisage the next chapter:

Proud of the community, proud of the environment

Let’s take action at a local level to strengthen both the community and the environment.  This is the message of an initiative by the Durban branch of WESSA, called the Proud Communities Projects. 

Crispin Hemson, chairperson of the branch, explained, ‘We want people in local communities to take action on the specific environmental problems that confront them.  The role of the branch is to support and co-ordinate these.’

Already the branch includes Friends of Pigeon Valley, as a group that affiliated to the branch.  Other Friends groups are now joining.  The one practical advantage is that the WESSA fund-raising and financial systems can be used to support the local initiative, without that group having to divert its energies from action to administration.  The branch is also the place where resources and expertise are shared.  In some cases, the branch will provide seed funding to enable the project to take off.

The first new initiative is the Friends of Aller River, in Clermont.  Future projects include working with a youth group in Lamontville, Artistic Movement Youth Organisation, that will undertake litter removal, planting of indigenous vegetation as well as youth entertainment, and a project in Inanda that will link the promotion of indigenous plants and home gardens with the commemoration of those who died in the struggle for democracy.

The intention is to allow a great diversity in the focus of each group.  In Clermont, the issue of environmental health is central, because of the degree of pollution of water sources.  In Glenwood, the attention goes rather on keeping in pristine condition Pigeon Valley Park, that serves as a unique area of biodiversity near the centre of the city.   Just as areas of the city vary, the focus of these projects will shift.  The Friends format is a useful one, but not the only format.

'One of the motives behind this initiative is to make a crucially important point, that humans need an environment that is handled with care.  Too often, people create a lose-lose choice between people, especially the poor, and the environment.  We want to show how people and the environment can benefit from such projects,’ said Crispin Hemson.  

                                      Proud Communities meeting at the KZNSA Gallery


Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB) is a global urban biodiversity initiative.  As WESSA Durban branch we hope to make everyone passionate about the environment.  We hope through education and involvement to trigger awareness that it is possible for urban living to be green and natural.

We are working closely with the Clermont community who are cleaning the Aller River - supporting their efforts in the amount of R10, 000.00.

Durban branch is excited about The Durban Green Corridor Initiative which plans to turn the uMngeni Valley between the sea and Inanda Dam into a world class eco-recreation zone.  The Durban Green Corridor is an initiative of the eThekwini Municipality in conjunction with the Department of Water Affairs and the Duzi uMngeni Conservation Trust.  Gary Cullen is facilitating this project and can be contacted at gary.cullen@iburst.co.za

We have promised to match contributions made by businesses in the Springfield Park Conservancy to a maximum of R5000.00.


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