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“There is a wild sea-forest growing beneath the wind and waves at the southern tip of Africa. Here, millions of creatures live in a borderless realm still ungoverned by man and it is strange and beautiful beyond the telling” – The Sea-Change Project

Join us on 31 January 2019 to celebrate the awesome kelp forests of South Africa. 

Our expert, passionate and world-renowned speakers - Craig Foster (the Sea-Change Project), Roushanna Gray (Veld and Sea), Prof John Bolton (UCT) and Loyiso Dunga (SANBI) - will be talking about their connections with kelp forests and sharing stories from the ocean's depths. 

We will host four speakers who are passionately connected to kelp forests and who will share their stories about these underwater forests.  Join us for an evening of beautiful images of these forests and the animals which call them home, discover how kelp grows and why it flourishes off our coastline, hear about the life-changing and healing power of the kelp forest, and be intrigued as we delve into the secrets of kelp and seaweed as nutritional and healthy choices in human diets, both now and in the future.  

"The sea chose me" - Loyiso Victor Dunga

Loyiso Victor Dunga is a second year Masters candidate at the University of Cape Town with the goal of mapping our South African kelp forests using advanced Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems. The simplest question his research seeks to answer is “Where is our kelp?” - we can never conserve what we cannot find.

Loyiso Dunga surveying the kelp at Betty's Bay

Loyiso pursued his undergraduate studies at the University of Western Cape majoring in Geo-hydrology up to Honours level. He only heard the ocean calling during his research assistant time at South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) in 2016 and that was the beginning of his "voyage". Loyiso is a simple young man, who is passionate about marine conservation -  his favourite quote, "the sea chose me",  is from the animated movie Moana.  

Wild food innovator and avid forager - Roushanna Gray

Founder of Veld and Sea, Roushanna Gray is a wild food innovator and avid forager. She introduces indigenous edible foods through educational and immersive experiences, with a focus on sustainability, connection and creativity. Inspired by the local edible indigenous plant availability, she has been experimenting with the exciting flavours and diversity of fynbos and indigenous plants for over ten years. The wide range of delicious and nutritious culinary offerings from the beautiful inter-tidal rock pools and kelp forests along our South African coastline also play a major role in her cooking. classes and workshops. 

A lifelong seaweed biologist - John Bolton

John Bolton is a lifelong seaweed biologist, and lectured in marine botany at UCT for 35 years until his retirement at the end of 2017. He has co-authored 2 books and a website, as well as around 140 scientific publications, on southern African seaweeds. He is currently Emeritus Professor and Senior Research Scholar at UCT, still fully involved in research into seaweed biology, kelp forests, and the integrated aquaculture of seaweeds with abalone and sea urchins.

John also knows the Aquarium’s kelp forest well as he co-wrote a consultancy report on growing kelp for the Aquarium before it was built, and has had a couple of Honours students work in the exhibit some years ago.

The Great African Sea Forest – Craig Foster

Renowned filmmaker and author Craig Foster has spent a decade diving in and exploring the kelp forests off the Cape Peninsula almost on a daily basis. His dives, sans wetsuit, have shown him the enchanting world of marine creatures and have revealed secrets previously unknown to science. He has discovered new species, tracked animals using similar methodologies which he learned during his time with the San, and described unknown behaviours for the first time. Through these experiences, he has reconnected with nature and rediscovered his own wildness. He tells these stories and more in the recently published book Sea Change (pssst... you can win this book) which he co-authored with Ross Frylinck. Craig is the co-founder of The Sea-Change Project, an NGO which is a community of scientists, storytellers, journalists and filmmakers who are dedicated to exploring and conserving the ocean.

Craig will show the trailer of a forthcoming film called “My Octopus Teacher” which tells the story of how Craig’s time with an octopus in the kelp forest transformed his life.

Event details

  • Date: 31 January 2019
  • Time: 18:30 for 19:00
  • Price: R190 per person (includes a snack) 
  • ​Cash bar available

The recently published book Sea Change which Craig co-wrote with his friend Ross Frylinck will be on sale on the evening.

Did you know?

  • There are currently 8,500 known species of sea plants in the world. Approximately ten percent of these are found only off the southern African coastline. We should be as proud of our sea plants as we are of our famous fynbos!
  • Sea bamboo is the fastest growing sea plant in the world. -The fronds (leaves) grow at a rate of 13mm per day while the entire plant grows 10mm per day and by up to 400mm in height a month.    
  • Kelp plants use hold-fasts instead of roots to attach themselves to rocks.
  • Kelp plants absorb nutrients through their fronds.
  • Phytoplankton, which are tiny single-celled sea plants, produce 90% of the Earth’s oxygen! Sea plants play an important role in maintaining the delicate balance between carbon dioxide and oxygen in the atmosphere. With global warming threatening our planet and our survival, we need to protect our sea plants as well as our forests as they provide us with oxygen and absorb carbon emissions.
  • Kelp is dried and crushed to produce alginate which is a gel used in these products - toothpaste, ice-cream, pizza-toppings, beer, jelly, salad dressings, flavoured milk, cosmetics, paint and ink. Pet food, dental moulds, clothing dyes and even explosives also contain kelp extracts.

“The number of living creatures of all Orders, whose existence intimately depends on the kelp is wonderful. A great volume might be written, describing the inhabitants of one of these beds of seaweed. I can only compare these great aquatic forests with the terrestrial ones in the inter-tropical regions. Yet, if in any country a forest was destroyed, I do not believe nearly so many species of animals would perish as would here, from the destruction of kelp.” – Charles Darwin in 1845

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