Today, 8 March 2021, Minister Anroux Marais officially unveiled the Provincial Heritage Site plaque at the Freedom Square in Bonteheuwel.
Together with the expert assistance of Heritage Western Cape and the City of Cape Town’s facilitation, the socio-political significance of Freedom Square will now officially be acknowledged and will rightfully be promoted in the public domain as a Provincial Heritage Site.
Bonteheuwel has a rich history of political activism in response to the abhorrent Apartheid system. Freedom Square, in particular, was a space used at the centre of this political activism and it is therefore significant in our province’s history.
In the keynote address, Minister Marais said, “During the liberation struggle, Freedom Square was a space for congregation and political meetings. The Bonteheuwel Civic, the library, the staircases and platforms surrounding the library would act as assembly and meeting points, which provided a platform for activist to address crowds. The significance of Freedom Square lies in the cumulative significance of its series of spaces. Meetings were held in the library in the 1980s away from the scrutiny of the apartheid police. The staircase at the square provided a platform from which activists could address crowds, when not done so at the Bonteheuwel Civic.
Evidently, Freedom Square possesses high social and historical significance as it comprises of places and buildings of cultural significance to which oral traditions are attached which are associated with living heritage. Freedom Square indeed embodies the spirit and legacy of Bonteheuwel’s heroes and heroines. The site also holds importance in the community, in the pattern of South Africa’s history and has strong and special association with the life or work of a person, group or organisation of importance in the history of South Africa.
Therefore, its spaces, buildings and memories bear significance for social and cultural reasons in representing defiance against the unjust Apartheid state”.
The Provincial Heritage Site status will now communicate clearly that the heritage community and agencies consider this site to be a major and important heritage asset that warrants serious and focussed conservation attention from all parties. Provincial Heritage Site status immediately provides the full protection to these sites described in the National Heritage Resources Act (1999).
Caption for attached photograph (From left) Chairperson of the Standing Committee on cultural Affairs and Sport: Mr. Reagan Allen; ; Chairperson of the Interpretation, Grading and Inventories Committee: Mr. Ron Martin; Bonteheuwel Ratepayers and Tenants Association: Mr. Yusuf Cassiem, Member of Parliament: Mr. Faiez Jacobs; Minister Anroux Marais; Bonteheuwel Ward Councillor: Mr. Angus Mckenzie; Institute for Justice and Reconciliation: Ms. Felicity Harrison; Alderman Theresa Thompson; Acting CEO of Heritage Western Cape and Ms. Irma Titus