Building friendship and beautiful memories

Marianne Winter, standing, with Raphael Johnson and Gill Figaji.

Two mothers have turned an ugly wall in a park into a thing of beauty.

The two women were recently seen taking selfies of themselves and their paint-covered hands at Viooltjie Park, in Steurfhof, recently.

Marianne Winter, of Constantia, and Gill Figaji, of Plumstead, have been friends for many years. Their children have grown up together and progressed from white-belt karate to black belt. But Marianne is leaving at the end of this year and moving to Holland.

Not wanting an ocean and thousands of kilometres to come between them without doing something to make some special memories, they decided to spend time together, preferably doing something the other person had never done.

Some of the ideas include Gill wanting to go horse riding in Noordhoek and Marianne wanting to help replant indigenous plants in the Zandvlei Nature Reserve that were taken out by vandals. Then there was the mural. They even created their own T-shirt for their special project bearing the words “Autonomous Uplifment Squad”.

“So we could uplift ourselves and hopefully others,” said Marianne. “But I made the shirts because it’s fun and we needed something to wear over three painting sessions.”

Gill said they had chosen to paint the mural because she often drove past the park and had noticed how ugly the wall was. They decided that adding some colour would make a difference.

They say this is phase one of the mural.

Raphael Johnson, a pupil at Heathfield Primary School, watched them having fun and asked to join in, careful to keep his uniform clean.

So far they have painted trees along the park wall, and they plan to add some birds and sayings from Dr Seuss, in English and Afrikaans.

However, mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith has warned anyone wanting to paint a mural or any form of graffiti should apply for permission from the City’s department of arts and culture by completing an application form.

If the building where the artist wants to paint their mural is City-owned, the department will seek the necessary approval and permission. If the artwork is on private property, the applicant is responsible for sourcing all permissions. There is no cost associated with the application pro-
cess.

Mr Smith added that in the past they had issued permits retrospectively to artists who had not been aware of the existing by-law.