Tribute to an incredible woman
STILBAAI On World Heart Day and at the end of National Heritage month, 29 September, Marie-Lou Roux (néé Dames) left the world peacefully with an incredible legacy to be grateful for.
If it weren’t for her efforts in the 80’s, Stilbaai East would have been a hill of houses. Instead, we have plants found nowhere else in the world, namely the Pauline Bohnen Nature Reserve. She personally signed a contract with the then Department of Manpower (1986-1992) to employ 20 people from Melkhoutfontein to clear the invasive alien forests when the reserve was declared September 1982.
Had Marie-Lou remained silent and uninvolved, Morris Point and the Walvisuitkyk Shell Midden would now be exclusive hotels, instead of one of the last unspoilt spots in Stilbaai where one can re-connect with our prehistoric ancestral roots.
In 1985 when she was the chief motivator behind the establishment of the Still Bay Conservation Trust, ‘Nature Conservation’ was not yet coined. Her vision extended beyond conserving Stilbaai’s unique natural environment, to include the conservation of our cultural-historical heritage and promotion of sustainable development. She demanded proper public participation process and adherence to the law and facts.
She won prestige for the Still Bay Conservation Trust with the CAPTRUST and EPPIC awards for Environmental Conservation in 1990 and 1991, respectively.
Marie-Lou was a champion fundraiser; R31 500 towards restoring the historic Jagersbos Homestead to a Senior Citizen Centre; R26 000 towards creating paths through Palingkloof Nature Area from Info to the River and R500 000 for Skulpiesbaai Nature Reserve paths and alien plant-clearing. A bench in her honour looks over Morris Point.
In 2010 she revitalised the historic schoolroom beside Stilbaai Info and continued to extend her successful teaching career of over 42 years.
Although born in Pretoria, she grew up in Stilbaai where her mom was clinic sister before there was a doctor. She matriculated at Hoërskool Langenhoven, Riversdale and taught English there in the 60’s for nine years. She miraculously survived a winter’s night on the rocks near the harbour when her car left the road during thick mist, and courageously continued after losing her only child suddenly, her supportive son Abrie in 2011 when she was already 80.
Even in her last days, after breaking her hip in a fall, she took her computer with to hospital to continue with a longstanding habitat council court case to prevent the Martin Melck warehouse-Lutheran Church buildings in a historic zone of Cape Town city from becoming another office block-parking area.
“Although we wish Marie-Lou a well-deserved rest in peace, I’m sure she will remain restless if we don’t continue with her invaluable work. Condolences to her family: Her sister Jeanne Vorster, niece Marie-Helene and her husband Reitz who was with her when she died, niece Deanne and grandchildren Francois and Michelle, as well as other family, friends and conservationist colleagues,” said Janet Naudé.
The late Tol Pienaar, Tobie Joubert and Marie-Lou Roux (19 July 1931 - 29 September 2017) for conservation from Hessequa Municipality during 2006.