Zandvlei Trust

Tributes to Cherry Giljam - January 2010.

A woman for all seasons.

Clifford Dorse (curently Biodiversity Co-ordinator for the Biodiversity Management Branch, City of Cape Town): I started to work at zandvlei Nature reserve in April 1998. One of the first people I met was Cherry. I cant remember our first interaction - probably because I must have spoken to her at least once a week for five years I was based at Zandvlei! Cherry is one of those "Champions" we talk about but seldom have the privlege of working with. Her involvement spanned the complete length and breadth of Zandvlei as well as extending up the catchment! However, I feel the most significant contributions she made were in establishing the Zandvlei Environmental Education (EE) programme and Park Island project. She has an amazing passion for environmental education and spent numerous hours with school groups in the Reserve and EE Centre. In fact she painted the mural on the wall outside the Centre.

Cherry (in white top) assiting the EE staff in the         Another occasion at the EE Centre, before the mural
Nature Reserve.                                                      was painted on the white wall at the right.

The restoration of Park Island was a hugely significant project. It involved large scale clearing of exotic trees and we intially experienced a fair bit of opposition to the project. Cherry immediately shared the vision and commenced a funding drive to buy indigenous plants for the restoration of the island.  Tens of thousands were raised from Marina residents. When we reintroduced Cape Gerbils to the island, I remember fondly that Cherry took it upon herself to put food out every afternoon to ensure that they became established.
It is comforting to know that Cherry will only be away for a few years and I am sure that Zandvlei and the Marina will be eagerly awaiting her return.

Cherry on Arbour Day in 2007 planting on Park Island.

Vincent Marincowitz (past Chairman): I first worked with Cherry at the Imperial Yacht Club in about 1990. I was the Vice Commodore at the time she joined and was immediately struck by her energy and drive. She was clear on what she wanted and did not mind doing her bit (and a number of other peoplle's bit as well) to ensure things ran smoothly. As member in charge of entertainment, her contribution led to the most exhilarating entertainment programme during mu tenure.

The work at the yacht club was not enough for Cherry she became an indispensible fixture on Zandvlei Trust committee. She brought her not inconsiderable talents and skills to the table and was responsible for our Newsletter taking on its current form, with improved graphics and better quality printing.

I am not sure how Zandvlei and Marina da Gama are going to cope without her, but thankfully it would only be for a short time.

Gavin Lawson (past Chairman): I know and remember Cherry as a person who asks questions and I have always admired the type of questions she has asked of people, when things dont seem right. Through being involved with her interests in the local community and especially her love for the vlei, she became Chair of the MHOA. She also produced the MHOA newsletter for many years. Park Island is of great interest to her as she lives on the doorstep. Many hours have been spent supervising workers maintaining and beautifying the Island. Through her families boating interests she got involved at the Imperial Yacht Club as secretary of the committee for a number of years. Her concern for the water quality helped instigate the Zandvlei Action Committee (ZAC), a collective of user and interest groups and the responsible City Managers. She has been an active ZVT Committee member for many years. She has also been involved with the running the LINK in Capricorn as well.

She is still involved at the Zandvlei Nature Reserve helping with the after school environmental education of a number of the local junior schools. Many Zerilda Primary school pupils know her well for encouraging the planting of indigenous gardens in the school grounds. She has helped organize and has taken the school groups on numerous outings all over the Peninsula and as far as the Helderberg Nature Reserve on overnight camps. Being able to take children out on the water for the first time in their lives in the canoes (donated by Woolworths), is also a wonderful life changing opportunity for many children. A highlight for her was the election of Gunter Kriel (past Zerilda Primary pupil) as a Junior Mayor Council member for Environment in 2008. He came and gave Zandvlei Trust members a brief overview of his responsibilities at a meeting.

Gunter Kriel past Zerilda Primary EE club member.

I am sure you would like to join me wishing Cherry well in the new phase of her life, free of the commitments she has dedicated to the local community for so many years.


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