Unsung heroes visit Table Mountain for the first time
Vogen Sylvester, 13, and Chadley Williams, 14, went up the cable car for the first time, saw a dassie sunning itself, marvelled at the views of Cape Town and made lots of notes of their experience on top of one of the New7Wonders of Nature.
The boys were part of a group of unsung heroes the Cableway treated to a trip up the mountain, in recognition of their selfless work in their communities. The Cableway is committed to responsible tourism, of which corporate social responsiblity is a key pillar.
The very special group of people were all featured on e.tv’s South African Heroes programme, and it was the show’s executive producer, Enid Roets, and producer, Meesha Aboo, who approached the Cableway. It was a request to which the company was more than happy to say yes.
The trip had to be postponed as it rained on the chosen day, and was rescheduled to last week. Thursday dawned bright and sunny, making it the perfect day to go up in the cable car. Even though they live in Cape Town and see Table Mountain every day, most of them had never been on top of the mountain.
For Vogen and Chadley, the trip was a dream come true. They see the mountain every day, but had never imagined that they would one day stand on top of the mountain, looking down on Cape Town and experiencing the flora and fauna for themselves.
Seven years ago Vogen and Chadley were the inspiration for a feeding and homework programme at the Lansdowne library. Library assistant Charmaine Verus said Vogen and Chadley came to them a few years ago asking for food, the staff fed them and the next day they arrived with some of their friends.
Now, every weekday, 25 children, from the Sewende Laan informal settlement are fed and their homework supervised at the library. Library staff use their own money to take care of the children.
Vogen, who says he wants to be a policeman, and Chadley, who has set his sights firmly on the business world, said being on the mountain was amazing. “It is such a beautiful mountain, you can see so far,” Chadley said.
Geneva Classen runs a shelter for abused women and children in Eerste River. Over the years she has raised money to renovate a dilapidated school, and with her own money and donations she keeps Geneva House running. Classen, a very shy woman, said being on the mountain was a wonderful experience and one she she would treasure for a long time.
“I was so scared to take the cable car, but was also interested to see what it would be like, to see Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain,” Classen said.
Phumla Mosia’s face lit up when she took a stroll on the summit. The animated primary schoolteacher has a very special ability: she is fluent in sign language and teaches deaf Grade 1 and 2 children at the Mary Kihn School in Observatory. She has also taught hearing parents how to communicate with their deaf children.
“It changes lives and relationships when parents can start communicating with their children,” she said. It is not often that teachers are acknowledged for the work they do, she said, and being able to be on Table Mountain was a wonderful gesture.
Alice Tafeni cooks food for the children at Umnqophiso Pre-primary School in Lwandle. She has spent most of her life in Cape Town and says she had never imagined that she would one day be on top of Table Mountain. Her colleagues, teachers Fezeka Mtengwane and Zimkita Gedezana, are both completing early childhood development courses.
As a child Gedezana attended the pre-primary school, which started out in a container. The school was a dream come true for Victoria Mangqwengqwe and three of her friends. The four were all domestic workers who saw the need for a pre-primary school in the township. Last year the school won a Western Cape Education Department award for its work in early childhood development.
After a few hours on Table Mountain, the group made their way to the Upper Cable Station, still marvelling at their experience.
“Sjoe, you can see everything from here, and it moves,” Chadley observed as the cable car made its way down the mountain.