The “Ribbon Gate” located at Tokai Forrest has become a powerful symbol for locals, as it represents the fight against women and child abuse and violence. As it has become such a beacon of hope, many are hoping this symbol will soon be recognised as an official permanent memorial.
This colorful display first appeared in March 2016 when the community began tying ribbons to a small section of the Open Road fence following the murders of Franziska Blöchliger, which took place in the fynbos of Lower Tokai and Sinoxolo Mafevuka in Khayelitsha.
Over weekends, community members living in the Tokai area and further come to pay their respects and tie ribbons to the fence. This multicoloured display reminds people to not look away or pretend that abuse and violence doesn’t exist but rather to confront it and challenge it.
Every ribbon represents another person standing up against unnecessary violence that plagues our women and children.
The Tokai Forest that is home to the Ribbon Gate is seen as one of Cape Town’s most magical forests and locals are hoping that by making the gate an official memorial it will bring the community one step closer to taking back this area from the criminals that have tainted it with death and fear.
“To proceed on the memorial and all the elements of the vision, we need SANParks to engage and negotiate with us. So far, they have, at senior management level, been intent on ignoring us and the greater community that we represent, saying that international biodiversity conservation mandates preclude them from doing anything like what is indicated in our vision. We feel, given the urban context of the Park, that SANParks need to factor in both biodiversity AND people, and that greater balance is required in Park management strategies, given that Table Mountain National Park is, rather uniquely, an urban national park,” says Nicky from Parkscape.
Last week Parkscape shared that a group of female wardens from Pollsmoor Prison were denied access to the gate in what appeared to be an act of petty bureaucracy by SANParks’ rangers.
Since this incident occurred more and more people have been coming to the gate to tie their ribbons and support the continued fight.
Parkscape has a vision for a permanent memorial but is still waiting for SANParks to meet them at the negotiation table so that proper plans can be made.
You can support Parkscape in their initiative on their Facebook page.