Beaches in South Africa are classified as public open spaces, and according to legislation within the Sea-shore Act should be accessible for everyone to enjoy. The government goes a step further in their attempt to ensure beaches remain public spaces by actively opposing attempts to privatize any section of coastline by individuals or businesses for self-serving reasons.

We need public spaces and the protection such status provides because these areas play an important role in society. Beaches, like other public spaces, are where people interact, meet, socialize and discover common interest. It is also where we affirm our shared rights of access to the environment and the benefits it provides to one’s physical and spiritual health.

But who looks after these open spaces that look after so many of our personal needs?

Yes, municipalities have infrastructure in place to service these areas. However, how often do we as the public search internally in order to ask ourselves what are we, as beneficiaries to these areas, actually doing practically to ensure the health, longevity and preservation of the spaces we so enjoy?

The Great Brak River Conservancy would like to invite you to elaborate on this topic and conservation as we stand alongside artists and residents on 2 September as part of the Muse festival at Suiderkruis Beach, Great Brak River. We would love to hear your perspective and input as well as inform the broader public as to what our role as a Conservancy is within these shared open spaces.

We will also be hosting an International Coastal Clean-up Day event on Saturday 16 September at Suiderkruis Beach and we invite everyone to come participate in the morning’s activities.

Yellow bags for beach clean-ups will be provided on both dates and we encourage readers to play an active role in conserving the coastal environment which provides us so much on a daily basis.