Waterfront Rotaract members paint mural with message at play park

The team from the Waterfront Rotaract, Atlantis Rotaract and the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation which helped paint the mural at Pavilion play park in Sea Point.

Members of the Waterfront Rotary Club’s Rotaract, along with the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation, added a splash of colour at the Pavilion play park in Sea Point by painting a mural which raises awareness about ocean conservation.

Waterfront Rotary Captain Janet Kriseman said more than 80 volunteers and observers popped over to the park in Beach Road last month to paint and watch as the mural took shape, highlighting the aquarium’s sea turtle rescue project.

This was the first project the new Rotaract members from Waterfront Rotary Club had completed. Atlantis Rotaract members also lent a hand.

Ms Kriseman said the plan to repaint the park’s wall mural gave the club the opportunity to involve the new Waterfront Rotaract members.

Rotaract is a youth programme of Rotary International. Waterfront Rotary is the sponsor club and has the support of the V&A Waterfront.

Under the able leadership of Rotaract member Emily O’Ryan and with the close involvement of the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation, a design was created by Jess Sloan, a graphic designer employed by the aquarium, to highlight the aquarium’s sea turtle rescue project.

“A large group of Waterfront Rotaractors and aquarium foundation staff met at the park over three days to transfer the design to the wall. This was first done at night, using a computer which projected the design onto the wall so it could be traced.”

Ms Sloan, from Tamboerskoof, has worked at the aquarium for about six years.

She said the aquarium was approached by the Rotary club to assist, and she helped create and execute the design.

“I decided that the mural not only needed to be visually appealing, but was a great opportunity to help spread awareness for ocean conservation. I decided to use Bob the turtle as an ambassador for the artwork, and for the eventual signage that will be at the entrance of the park, to help tell his story.”

Bob the Turtle, who is part of the Two Oceans Aquarium turtle rehabilitation programme, is the ambassador of the mural.

Bob the turtle has been a resident at the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation’s Turtle Rehabilitation Facility since 2014. He was rescued from De Hoop Nature Reserve with injuries that led to encephalitis, brain damage and blindness.

“After slowly recovering with us for a few months, Bob passed a large amount of plastic. This included plastic bags, and balloons with the string still attached.

Bob the turtle passed a huge amount of plastic, which threatened his life.

“Plastic is a massive threat to all turtles in the ocean,” said Ms Sloan. “By minimising our use of single use plastic we can help protect the home of turtles like Bob.

“For all the children who play there, it is a reminder that we need to work on protecting, cleaning up and fighting for Bob’s home, so that it will be a wonderful safe ocean for him to return to.”

She said the illustration took about two days to complete. Once the artwork was approved, she and the “turtle” team went to the park for a couple evenings the week before the event and drew the outline onto the wall to prepare for the painting.

Ms Kriseman said several of the Waterfront Rotary members have fond memories of taking their own children and grandchildren there, and the board had no hesitation sponsoring part of the renovation. She said the Sea Point Rotary also contributed to the budget.

Ms O’Ryan said the project was a good way to get the team together, and also upgrade the park.

She said she was tasked with setting up a team of young professionals to form Waterfront Rotaract, and she was also behind securing the funding, co-ordinating the design, and then planning the day.

“This project showed me that young people and professionals like me are capable and care, there is just little coordination and cohesion of social projects.

“Everyone says the mural is stunning. It was bright and tells a story, and we also had a chance to connect with different people – the young professionals from the Waterfront precinct, older Rotary members, and a few from other clubs – we all came together for something we care about and love.”

A group of Waterfront Rotarians and Waterfront and Atlantis Rotaract members completing the mural.

Ms Sloan added: “The painting event was a great day of collaboration. Those who came to take part were very enthusiastic and did a great job bringing the artwork to life.

“I hope that everyone that walks past the park will read about Bob’s story and not only learn from his perseverance, but will be inspired to make some changes to ensure a safer and cleaner home for Bob and animals like him.”

Waterfront Rotary was chartered in September 1992 by the Rotary Club of Cape Town, at the time of the development of the V&A Waterfront.

Waterfront Rotary has 35 members of all ages and genders who strive to make a difference in the lives of communities in a changing world.

They are also a member of Rotary international, the world’s largest humanitarian organisation.

Past District Governor of the Waterfront Rotary, June Webber, said there were no longer geographic areas restricting the work of Rotary clubs to a specific area.

“For the last 16 years Waterfront Rotary has been involved in a project in the Kamieskroon area in a desolate area in the Northern Cape, providing libraries and ECD centres. Waterfront Rotary is starting a new club in Langebaan to assist the poorer community.”

The Waterfront Rotary is a breakfast club and meet weekly on a Friday at 7am, previously at the Hotel School, Granger Bay, but at present on Zoom.

For more information on the Waterfront Rotary and the projects they do, visit www.waterfrontrotary.org or mail Ms Webber at corpcon@global.co.za