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To: Vincent Botto, Recreation and Parks Director; Ruby Gelderbloem, Property Management Director; Cheryl Waters, Development Management Director; MMC Zahid Badroodien, City of Cape Town

Tell the City of Cape Town to lease the Old Circus in Observatory to the Willow Arts Collective

As Observatory residents and supporters from outside the suburb, we call on the City of Cape Town to halt current attempts to evict residents on the property at 2 Willow Road in Observatory and enter into negotiations with the Observatory Civic Association and the Willow Arts Collective towards leasing the old circus school land for this innovative community-driven project.

You have the power to make the Willow Arts Collective a reality. But we have to act now: We only have until Saturday 15 August 2020 to make our voices heard and show them that the community supports this great grassroots development initiative and opposes the senseless eviction of the people behind this important project.

Why is this important?

The Willow Arts Collective (WAC) is an innovative community project based within the Hartleyvale Sports Precinct in Observatory, Cape Town.

Led by the residents of the property and with the support of a number of organisations in the Observatory area, the Willow Arts Collective has begun to turn a neglected piece of land into an urban vegetable garden that provides locally grown, organic vegetables for the Observatory community. But the vision for the project is much larger.

The Willow Arts Collective aims to lease or purchase the City of Cape Town-owned property (on ERF 28174 and 28181), formerly known as the South African National Circus, and turn it into the first multi-use centre for heritage, arts, recreation and sustainable living in the Southern Suburbs.

The Collective will run the following as part of its transformative agenda for the area:
* An Observatory Heritage Centre for Culture and the Arts, featuring talks, educational workshops, music and performances
* The only urban vegetable farm and permaculture initiative in Observatory focused on heritage and education
* A weekend farmer’s market featuring organic vegetables, food, pottery, arts, crafts and more.
* A garden restaurant providing brunch and lunch to Obs residents.
* A recreation centre housing the Observatory Chess Club and other alternative sports
* A one-of-a-kind ecologically sustainable co-living and co-working environment for current residents on the property

Observatory is known as one of Cape Town's most diverse suburbs. However recent developments in the area have changed the character of the neighbourhood, undermining people's livelihoods and leading to evictions. The Covid-19 lockdown has forced people out of work and made this tendency even worse.

With the above projects, the Willow Arts Collective aims to reverse this and become a unique heritage and recreation node focused on community upliftment, welcoming a diverse array of Obs residents. It will provide the most vulnerable in the area with alternative income through a weekend farmer’s market, garden restaurant and heritage/events space. The living situation will be formalised as a creatives co-living work-play-art-garden and studio space. It will be a place where artists, farmers, culinarians and musicians can collaborate, network and engage in social enterprise. The emphasis on organic food and healthy living will have a positive impact on the city’s green footprint and help improve the health of Observatory residents.

For more information visit our Facebook page at:

Check out our video about the Willow Arts Collective:

See also:
1. City of Cape Town moves to evict occupiers of old circus school
2. Petition aims to halt Observatory evictions
Cape Town, South Africa

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2020-08-12 11:46:53 +0200

1,000 signatures reached

2020-08-04 16:09:02 +0200

500 signatures reached

2020-08-04 02:17:49 +0200

100 signatures reached

2020-08-04 01:53:51 +0200

50 signatures reached

2020-08-04 01:43:31 +0200

25 signatures reached

2020-08-04 01:43:30 +0200

10 signatures reached