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Historic tree planted on Paarl Mountain

A sapling of a tree that survived the 1945 atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima was planted at the Afrikaans Taal Monument on Wednesday 26 September.

The Gingko Survivor Tree, is a gift from Japan to the people of South Africa, and represents their wish for healing and prosperity for all South Africans.

The planting ceremony was part of the launch of the One World Festival taking place this weekend at the Paarl Arboretum.

Drakenstein Municipality, Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, the Institute for the Healing of Memories and the Japanese Consulate are collaborating with Camissa Solutions on this year’s event.

“Although it is only a tree that we are planting, I firmly believe in this hall there are a few trees – in the form of human beings – that can give shade, even though they are experiencing the ‘hottest day in their life’, said Conrad Poole Mayor of Drakenstein Municipality.

Also attending was Yasushi Naito, Consul of Japan, in Cape Town. He said the Green Legacy Hiroshima Project has initiated a worldwide campaign to send seeds of trees that survived the atomic bomb in Hiroshima to cities around the world, including Cape Town.

“Seeds are sent with a message of peace, hope, resilience and friendship,” Naito said.

“Ms Tomoko Watanabe, co-founder of Green Legacy Hiroshima, who visited Cape Town last year, told me the very first trees, which encouraged the people of Hiroshima devastated by the bomb, started as sprouts from these trees shooting up from the scorched earth, as if to tell people, ‘you must live and be strong.’

“I am happy for this opportunity today to spread these seeds carrying the powerful message of peace to Paarl, knowing that the trees will be cared for in the hands of friends in Paarl.”

The seeds were grown to saplings at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden by Adam Harrower of the South African National Biodiversity Institute. He also facilitates planting the saplings at various places around the Cape.

Kyoko Kimura Morgan, founder of Origami for Africa, put paper cranes symbolising a prayer for peace, around tree.

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