Manual 21323531

Manual 21323531
Possibly one of _the strangest
creatures on earth. It lives on waste,
swims backwards . . . and some people
eat them. Especially in Pretoria, where
the finer things in life have found an
appreciative audience among lovers of
the theatre, opera, ar~ architecture,
museums and restaurants.
Pretoria has an unusually large
number ofthese people. And no wonder.
The city is the seat of the Performing
Arts Council of the Transvaal, with the
magnificent State Theatre as its primary
venue. The Pretoria Art Museum houses
several important collections, including
Dutch and Southern African art. The 'big
five' museums of the national cultural
heritage and natural science are
internationally renowned Transvaal
Museum for natural history.
A stroll through Pretoria s streets
reveals a unique architectural style
ranging from colourful brick and
sandstone monuments in mid-town to
post-modern shopping centres in the
suburbs. And connoisseurs of the
delights offered by archaeology,
palaeontology and geology will find
many a surprise on the menu, including
the virtually unknown meteort'te crater
northwest of the city, called the Saltpan.
Theres a lot more to discover.
In fact, you'll be amazed at the
cultural life in Pretoria. But then,
who would first
have thought you
could eat a lobster?
Stigting Simon van der Stel Foundation
Ingelyfde vereniging sonder winsoogmerk
Incorporated association not for gain
9 9 4
From the editor
Conserving all aspects of the past vital to SA's future success
Policy desperately needed - or it may be too late!
Kultuurhistoriese bewaring bron vir stedelike toerisme
Opgerig · Established
8 APRIL 1959. REG No 6o/oooo5/o8
Magtigingsnommer · Fund-raising number
FO 2 200215 ooo 8
Adres · Address
PosBus · PO Box 12293
(041) 56-2849
Nasionale Raad · National Council
Nasionale Voorsitter · National Chairperson
Mev/Mrs G Coetzee
Kultuurhistoriese erfenis moet deel vorm van eko-toerisme
Awareness a matter of urgency
Vergelegen - a perfect blend of past and present
Verteenwoordiger RNG · NMC Representative
Mnr/Mr G Hofmeyr
•Kaapprovinsie · Cape Province
Mnr/Mr R Bouma
Mev/Mrs H Claassens
Mnr/Mr A Herholdt
Mnr/Mr L Muller
Mnr/Mr L Raymond
Mnr/Mr MF Smuts
Oranje-Vrystaat · Orange Free State
Mnr/Mr A Kuijers
Is there a future for our past?
Dr JH Cameron
Mnr/Mr A Holm
Mnr /Mr H Prins
Gekoopteer · Co-opted
Dr FJ Miilke
. 27
To be ... or not to be
"South Africa's heritage needs to be democratized"
The conservation of folk and vernacular architecture
Kulturele keuses op pad na 'n menswaardige toekoms
The history and restoration of Harare's oldest house
Restoring the face of Pretoria
Sekretaresse · Secretary
Mev/Mrs T Wegner
Resto rica
Redakteur · Editor
Wilma de Bruin
Subredakteur · Sub-editor
Lisel Krige
Redaksionele Komitee ·Editorial Board
Mnr/Mr Herbert Prins
Dr Friedel Miilke
Ontwerp & uitleg · Design & layout
Neels Bezuidenhout
---~~ -~~ -~ ~
- - -
- - -
- -
Branch addresses
PosBus 11252
PO Box 552
PosBus 20549
NooRDBRUG 2522
PosBus 818
PosBus 1492
PosBus 4451
PosBus 2646
PAARL 7620
PosBus 557
PosBus 3003
PosBus 2975
PosBus 831
PosBus 1070
FroiTI the editor
"... On 10 May 1994, the sun rose and set over a country in Africa where the impossible has
become a reality. The course of uhuru in Africa reached its fullness with the dawning of that
inevitable moment in the history of South Africa ... " from
HE NATION HAS SPOKEN, A HIGHLY CONTROversial chapter in the country's history has
closed and the dawning of democracy in
South Africa heralds a new era.
While a momentous, watershed-year- which
witnessed both political miracles and paradigm
shifts - draws to a close, national and local governments are faced with the daunting task of policy
formulation and legislation that, on the one hand,
will ensure the success of a democratic South
Africa, and on the other, sufficiently accommodate
the wishes and human rights of South Africa's rainbow nation.
"The purpose that will drive this Government
shall be the expansion of the frontiers of human
fulfilment, the continuous extension of the frontiers of freedom. The acid test of the legitimacy of
the programmes we elaborate, the government institutions we create, the legislation we adopt, must
be whether they serve these objectives;' President
Mandela said at the opening of Parliament in May.
With this goal as the point of departure, the
Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology,
as well as several regional arts and culture ministers
have called for the formation of task groups
to look at heritage conservation. These task
groups are presently
being formed and will
put forward
which would ultimately
come into play after a
government White
Paper on conservation,
as has been suggested
by Dr Ngubane, is finally formulated.
To give everybody,
right down to grass
roots level, an opportunity to have a say on future directions for heritage conservation, the
National Monuments
Council (NMC) has
furthermore held a series of six workshops
nationally where various conservation bodies, interest groups and individuals presented papers and
participated in lively discussions on a variety of
conservation topics.
A committee of assessors has subsequently presented a set of recommendations to the NMC for
further action.
Given the new dispensation in South Africa, the
process of establishing future conservation policies
will, understandably, take time.
While future national and regional policies and
directions are evolving, Restorica also took a "futuristic" turn in this issue by presenting the views of a
number of prominent South Africans in various
spheres, as well as that of the man in the street, on
the future of culture conservation in a democratic
South Africa.
Underpinning this topical issue, is a central
theme of heritage conservation as the key to unlocking South Africa's tourist potential- which the
case study of the historical Vergelegen Estate at
Somerset-West so clearly demonstrates and which
is addressed in several other articles in this issue.
These informed opinions in essence conclude
that by including a broader spectrum of our cultural heritage in South Africa's tourism "package", heritage conservation could not only become viable,
but also play a significant role in securing foreign
exchange earnings, of which South Africa is in dire
need for, among other things, reconstruction and
It is encouraging that this approach is echoed
by the Department of Environmental Affairs and
Tourism, who replied as follows to a Restorica request pertaining to the role of cultural heritage in
future tourism strategies:
"We believe that the role of architectural conservation in tourism could be subtantially expanded, particularly in view of the inclusion of all cultures in our tourism product and the promotion of
tourism among all the people of South Africa ... Satour's international marketing strategy proposes
1997 as a theme year for cultural experiences. "The
entire marketing effort for the year will focus on
cultural heritage.
"Satour's draft Reconstruction and Development strategy for tourism includes a specific challenge, namely the inclusion of our entire cultural
heritage in our tourism product offering." •
ii#[email protected]
Conserving all aspects of the
past vital to South Africa's
future success
The preservation of cultural heritage is a fundamental feature of a successful society. In order to emerge as a strong
nation in the future, it is vital that South Africans preserve all aspects of their past, says scenario planner and Anglo
American gold division chairman Clem Sunter. That does not mean just all the positive aspects; it also means less
pleasant aspects of the past so that future generations can learn from them. In the following article Mr Sunter gives
his vision of culture conservation in a democratic South Africa.
determining whether South Africa is going
to be successful in the future, I inevitably
have to look at aspects of the past.
An example that immediately comes to mind, is
Japan. In many ways Japan has produced some of
the most advanced products such as the walkman,
the video cassette recorder and various other hitech products which have revolutionized peoples'
lives over the last few years. Yet the Japanese have
never neglected their cultural heritage.
To see how the Japanese, after working all week,
visit their shrines and temples in the countryside
during weekends to absorb and appreciate their
tradition and culture, is particularly interesting
about visiting Japan. Their dedication to their cultural heritage is what keeps them strong. Without
their temples and shrines, Japan would be a much
weaker nation.
The same applies to several European countries.
In Britain, conservation bodies have done excellent
work on preserving various stately homes which
otherwise would probably have deteriorated because the people living in them couldn't afford
their upkeep. In fact, Britain is going the same way
as Japan, in that people actually go on weekend excursions away from London to visit historical
places, and at the same time, to learn about their
own past.
In the United States as well, Americans are increasingly preserving elements of their major cities
and of their past - particularly those associated
with great events in their history such as the American War of Independence; even pre-Mayflower life
in America and the cultures associated with it.
My vision, therefore, is that South Africa
should, as the country moves into the future, be
preserving all the tracks it has left behind- representing the whole range of our cultural heritage because that will actually make the country
stronger in terms of facing the future.
While South Africa's natural environment will always attract tourists because of the unique habitat
of plants and animals, other cultural assets can also
play a meaningful role to promote tourism.
Tourists to Britain, for example, not only visit
places like the Lake Districts or the Cotswolds.
They also go to see and appreciate the "old Britain"
and the beauty the architectural heritage has to
offer. One could safely assume that if Britain
. should ever neglect its cultural heritage, the country would lose a significant number of tourists. The
same applies to various European countries such as
Italy and Greece.
However, though tourism is ample justification
to preserve one's heritage and certainly boosts foreign exchange earnings, it is not the principal reason for the preservation of cultural heritage. To me,
the principal reason is that people in each generation want something "to hang onto" which makes
them emotionally stronger and more capable of
handling the future.
It is often the case that by interpreting the past,
one can gain new insight in the future. Although
that could be achieved by reading history books or
records of the past, it is no substitute for actually
being inside a historical building, looking with
your own eyes and imagining what life was like before. Moreover, one of the delightful features of society of the olden times is that structures and buildings were actually built for which people would not
be able to amass the money these days. In most societies there are presently too many other needs
which prevent the accomplishment of similar architectural feats. That, in itself, is another very
good reason for conserving the architectural accomplishments of the past.
Like various South African companies, Anglo
American Corporation strongly supports the idea
of preserving the central business district ofJohannesburg- not merely for the historical value of
some of the buildings, but because of the excellent
infrastructre in central Johannesburg. To my mind,
one of the worst things that can happen is that we
allow such an asset to deteriorate in the way many
of the inner cities in America have actually been
run down.
Even the Anglo American buildings have such
Clem Sunter
scenario planner and
chairman of Anglo
American gold division
an interesting history associated with them, that
they deserve to be preserved for future generations.
In a sense big businesses are probably the only
institutions that have the funds to play a meaningful role in the conservation of our heritage. In the
case of Anglo American, a Chairman's fund has
been created to provide for the future needs of this
country in terms of education and empowerment.
But occasionally projects aimed at determining and
preserving our past are also supported by the fund.
Although Anglo American concentrates on forward-looking projects like education, initiatives of
historical significance, such as the restoration of the
Van der Stel Estate Vergelegen at Somerset-West, as
well as anthropological projects at the University of
the Witwatersrand, are also supported.
Preservation stands a better chance if it is not
dependent on a government subsidy to be maintained. Therefore, the obvious route to follow is
that of functional/integrated conservation, which
the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town has
applied so successfully. One should, however, be
careful not to go overboard. If a conservation project is too successful and attracts too many visitors,
it could almost go in the opposite direction where
the local population prefers to steer clear of it because of overcrowding.
Children with plastic
masks on their heads
watch one of the
characters adjust his
mask during the annual
Monkake Gyoretsu
(masked parade) of
Goryo Shinto Shrine in
Kamakura, 80km south
west of Tokyo
Development vs Conservation
In any dynamic, deveJoping country there will always be tension between the development needs of
the future and the preservation of the past. It is impossible to eliminate these tensions. Financial resources are limited and if more money is invested
in preservation, money is ipso facto taken away
from future projects.
A second, unavoidable tension is that, because
of South Africa's history, people cherish different
symbols of their past. To my mind, it is vital to keep
all the symbolic paths visible and open, not only
because it is extremely important for a particular
section of South African society, but because it
could also preserve social harmony. Treading on
people's cultural toes could easily inflame passions.
Having been divided for so long, South Africans
urgently need to familiarize themselves with the
cultural heritage and symbols of all cultural groups.
The best way to really get a feel for, and to learn
more about other people's cultural heritage, is to
actually go and see and experience visible signs of
what other groups consider their roots and their
past to consist of.
Right now every group should be compiling an
inventory of their cultural assets over the last 400500 years. Like elsewhere in the world, a policy pertaining to the conservation of important symbols
and structures should be adhered to and national
monuments be declared and preserved as such.
For this reason a body like a National Monument's Council is needed. It should not, however,
be a government body, but a private institution
comprising architectural/conservation experts to
which certain powers have been delegated and
which could, if necessary, turn to the courts to prevent historically significant areas or structures from
being demolished for the sake of development.
Education forms a vital component of conservation. In Japan one invariably comes across long
chains of school children being led through shrines
and temples and briefed by their teachers. In South
Africa, however, school children visiting national
monuments and historical buildings, is a rare sight.
It is simply not part of the school curriculum.
Children should not only be taken to monuments and historical buildings, but also to historical battlegrounds like those in Natal, where a battle
is actually "reconstructed". This would provide an
experience which cannot be obtained from a history book. Excursions to monuments, historical
buildings, museums, libraries and indeed galleries,
should form an integral part of the school curriculum in order to expose them to the heritage and
symbols of other culture groups. A visit to Chaka's
kraal, for example, would not only be of tremendous educational value to white children, but also
enhance their understanding of the Zulu nation.
Exposure to different cultures is not a recipe for
disunity. People tend to think that if individual cultures are emphasized too strongly, a nation could
be weakened. The fact is that group loyalties will
continue to exist, just as they do in America or anywhere else in the world.
In order to be a successful nation, people
should spontaneously want to be loyal and patriotic to some bigger ideal. In America, where most
people think of themselves as American first and
then as Spanish, Chinese, African, Italian, Oriental,
etc, this was achieved successfully.
One of the outstanding features of a city like
New Orleans is the wonderful array of cultures
which ranges from the Cajun to jazz, from French
to a southern, almost "confederate" culture. This
interesting mixture of cultures makes New Orleans
a far more interesting place than if it were to consist
of only one culture group. A mixture of cultures in
a country creates a most interesting and attractive
recipe, not only for the indigenous population but
for foreigners as well.
Unity Through Diversity
Culture is something which evolves almost spontaneously in society. And obviously, different cultures
-like plants- evolve in different directions. They
may grow to the left, they may grow to the right.
I always say: let a million little candles burn.
Towns, communities, families all have their own in-·
herent culture. Why do people keep family trees
and treasure old photographs? It is part of their
culture which is significant to them as individuals
and to their families.
A point that I emphasize in all my speeches, is
that if you want to keep mankind together, you
have got to give them a sense of purpose, a goal, an
ideal- that is what leadership is about. But if you
try and compel them to stay together by forcing
them into a particular culture, they will simply go
into the opposite direction. When the people of the
former Soviet Union were forced together, the
power at the centre weakened, whereas in the United States, a voluntary association among everybody
who lives in the country, has created a kind of
super American culture.
Hopefully some culture centres in South Africa
will in future be described as truly St:>uth African,
but it should not be forced onto people. It should
evolve spontaneously among the people. It happens
in sport: that is the one thing that really does unite
people in South Africa at the moment. No matter
what the composition of a national team, everybody roots for that team when it competes internationally.
We are at an unbelievably historic moment in
South Africa's history- probably as significant as
the 1652 milestone- but the worst thing we could
do, is to destroy, in the heat of the moment, what
was on the other side of transition.
Firstly, the new era in South Africa should be
marked by a process of healing and reconciliation;
not by scarring and treading on symbols of the
past. Secondly, children of future generations who
have not experienced the transition, will want to
know what preceded the transition; what happened
in the preceeding fifty years. Besides reading history books, they will actually want to see images and
symbols of the architects of South Africa's history
and the rulers of the time. They will want to learn
from the mistakes, weaknesses and faults of that
It may make sense to remove a particular statue
from a prime location and relocate it, but it would
be wrong to treat it in a destructive manner just to
make a point. Likewise, principal streets may be renamed, but not all simply to ram the point home.
That is not reconciliation. If all physical manifestations of a particular era are removed, future generations would be condemned to ignorance about the
South African history has enjoyed the distinction of drawing together a diverse range of cultures.
Unity in the new socio-political dispensation, will,
to a large degree, depend on both respect for the
cultural heritage of every cultural group, and on an
awareness and appreciation of the diversity of our
cultural heritage. •
of the characters taking
part in the annual
Monkake Gyoretsu
(masked parade) of
Goryo Shinto Shrine in
Kamakura, 80km south
west of Tokyo
Policy needed desperately
- or it may be too late!
A case for architectural conservation will have to be made out soon or possibly be completely lost in the
foreseeable future. It does not seem to feature prominently on anybody's agenda but on that of a number of
fragmented conservation bodies.
Ms Gerda Coetzee
national chairperson of
the Simon van der Stel
and studying the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) must be occupying the private sector considerably. Decision-making must be a minefield, judging by the poor
response received from advertisers to this issue of
Restorica; it seems that there is hesitation as to
whether architectural conservation is politically
correct and should at all feature on any priority list.
To donate and restore or not to restore and donate is a debatable question. Looking at many of
the projects the branches of the Foundation have
been involved with in the past years, it seems as
though we have pre-empted the RDP and nationbuilding because involvement and interest in each
other's heritage has long been part of branch activities (see p7).
In the past architectural conservation has never
received the same prominence as nature conservation. This, despite the fact that people spend their
lives in towns and cities and are influenced by the
buildings which surround them. The awareness for
their built environment is poorly developed, the
richness of our architectural achievements and heritage seldom recognised.
South Africa might not attract foreign tourists
for its architectural splendour, but once they have
discovered the charm of places like Swellendam,
Stellenbosch, Pilgrim's Rest, Graaff- Reinet, Tulbagh, to name but a few gems, they linger and return. It is therefore regrettable that our small towns
still regard characterless new supermarket buildings in their main street as progress, while the
restoration of the often plain but rhythmic streetscape of old buildings would have given the town a
unique appearance. Is there any new city or town
anywhere which is sought out by travellers for its
architectural beauty or charm?
Maybe the lack of interest in and support for architectural conservation rests with conservation
bodies themselves. It can be that their actions in the
past have been reactive instead of pro-active. Their
(our) successes in persuading the State oflocal government to accept its responsibility for preserving
our architectural heritage and undertaking new
buildings and developments of worthy architectural merit, are doubtful.
It is, after all, firstly the state who plays a significant role. To quote celebrated Harvard economist
John Kenneth Galbraith: "In the case of architectural and urban and environmental design, the role
of the state is decisive. Art is one manifestation of
order. And is the first casualty of disorder. Florence,
Seville, Bloomsbury and Georgetown are beautiful
because each part is in orderly relation to the
whole: the modern commercial highway, the
sprawling fringe of the city, the route into town
from any airport is hideous because no part is related to a larger design. This order is rarely if ever
achieved permissively; it must always be imposed
by the state or by social pressure."
We have a history of destruction in our cities.
Both conservation bodies and the architectural
profession have failed to create an awareness for
good design and preservation legislation. Incentives
for both are seriously lacking.
·Apart from the Simon van der Stel Foundation,
a number of other organizations have the aim to
preserve our architectural heritage. Among them
are the Cape Town Heritage Trust, who recently
made a plea for a South African National Trust
along the guidelines of similar trusts in Britain,
various historical societies, the Heritage Societies of
SA, the Institute of Architects, several private trusts,
such as the Swellendam Trust, Parktown Trust and
the McGregor Trust, etc.
Very little contact has been established between
these bodies in the past. The Simon van der Stel
Foundation is presently in the process of formulating a new dispensation. The Foundation will probably in future function as a type of umbrella body
for what was previously known as its branches.
Branches which already enjoy autonomy will become independent entities and as such be able to
join the Foundation.
In this way it now becomes possible for other
interested groups to join the Foundation as well
and take hands in deciding the future of South
Africa's architectural heritage. Whether this will in
fact happen, remains to be seen. However, what is
definitely needed, is a hard look at how interested
organizations and persons can get together to make
sure that architectural conservation gets back onto
the agenda.
At local and provincial level, individual organizations can be instrumental in creating an awareness for architectural conservation. It will, however,
need a strong centralised effort to formulate anational policy for conservation and to assure the
necessary state funding, legislation and incentives.
Incentives in the past received very little attention.
The idea would be not to force people by legislation, but to create a desire to preserve.
Restoration of existing buildings makes economic sense. Restoration calls for training of specific skills. It means creating jobs. Preservation is
giving recognition to the skills and creativity of our
forefathers. •
is op voetsoolvlak in voeling met gebeure in
Suid-Afrika. Dit word weerspieel deur die
Stigting se takbedrywighede. Takvoorsitters se verslae tydens die jaarvergadering in September 1994
op Stellenbosch het telkens 'n rimpeling van opgewondenheid deur die teenwoordiges gestuur.
Die Oos-Kaapse tak kon onder meer berig dat
hy die eerste tak is om die gesogte nuwe Sanlamrestourasieprys te verower. Die R30 000 wat vir die
projek ontvang is, word naamlik aangewend vir die
restourasie van die historiese skoolgebou op Clarkson, 'n Morawiese dorp in die Tsitsikamma.
Die sierlike ou grasdakskoolgebou van Clarkson
was, toe dit in Augustus 1993 afgebrand bet, steeds
gedeeltelik in gebruik as skool. Dit maak dit waarskynlik die oudste skoolgebou wat nog in gebruik is
in die Oos-Kaap. Clarkson, wat in 1838 as 'n sendingstasie tot stand gekom bet, se skoolgebou is op
4 Augustus 1864 ingewy.
Restourasie van die skoolgebou is nou saam met
die Stigting 'n gemeenskapsprojek. Daar sal boofsaaklik van plaaslike arbeid gebruik gemaak word
aangesien die inwoners van Clarkson oor die kundigbeid beskik om te bou en te dek.
Clarkson is die tweede kerkgemeenskap waarby
die Oos-Kaapse taak van die Stigting betrokke is. In
1993 het bulle in samewerking met die Haarlemgemeenskap in die Langkloof die kerk daar opgeknap.
Verskeie takke onderneem opwindende opvoedkundige projekte. 56, byvoorbeeld, bet Kaapstadtak vanjaar 'n baie suksesvolle tweedaagse seminaar
vir laerskoolleerlinge oor bewaring aangebied. Die
doel was om bewaringsopvoeding aan 'n bree spektrum van die gemeenskap te gee om sodoende 'n
belangstelling in bewaring te stimuleer. Hierdie kursus, wat in Afrikaans en Engels vir standerd vier- en
vyf-leerlinge van die Skiereiland aangebied is, is met
die samewerking van dr. Dan Sleigh van die onderwysmusem aangepak.
Die Oos-Kaapse tak volg nou bierdie voorbeeld.
Die takke het elk pas RSOO,OO uit die Rapporthulpfonds vir jeugwerk ontvang om verdere kursusse aan te bied. Kaapstad-tak sal die kursus in
1995 vir onderwysers aanbied.
Takke is voortdurend besig met een van bulle
primere doelwitte, naamlik die bewusmaking van
die bree publiek. So sal wandelaars in Die Laan in
Kaapstad se Kompanjiestuin binnekort blou
plakette raaksien wat die reeds verdwene strukture
van geskiedkundige en argitektoniese belang
gedenk. Die plakette reik oor aile kultuurgrense
heen, met die gegewens ook in Arabies en Xhosa.
Die Suid-Kaapse tak het sy restourasieprojek
van die Lenie Marais-huis in Gamkaskloof (Die
Hel) ook met 'n blou plaket gekroon. Hierdie tak se
suksesvolste onderneming was waarskynlik die
merietesertifikate wat aan 'n groot getal mense op
Prins Albert oorhandig is nadat bulle 'n projek in
die agterstrate van die sierlike dorp geloods bet om
die eienaars aan te moedig om bul huise op te knap.
Hoewel takbedrywigbede meestal rondom bewusmaking en opvoeding
sentreer, is verskeie ander
takke betrokke by restourasieprojekte, al is dit
dikwels net in raadgewende hoedanigheid.
Die Suid-Kaapse tak
was instrumented in die
rehabilitasie van die
bekende Foster-huis op
Oudstboorn, asook die
vissermanshuisies by
Melkhoutfontein naby
beplan 'n gepaste monument op die plek waar
die flambojante Fransman generaal De Villebois Mureuil tydens die
Anglo Boere-oorlog naby
Bosbof gesneuwel het.
Hulle doen ook navorsing wat waarskynlik sal lei tot die verklaring van
Mapikelabuis as nasionate gedenkwaardigheid.
Hierdie dubbelverdiepinghuis in een van die ouer
woongebiede het aan die eerste sekretaris van die
ANC dadelik na die stigting van die organisasie, behoort.
Potcbefstroom se tak lewer steeds benydenswaardige prestasies ten opsigte van fondsinsameling. Met hul jaarlikse buisbesigtigingstoer het bulle
sowat R1 0 000 ingesamel vir die restourasie van die
Berlynse Sendingkerk. Nog sowat R200 000 is nodig
vir die projek. Die tak het vanjaar ook 'n gedenkplaat onthul ter nagedagtenis aan Magdalena Retief,
wat in Potchefstroom begrawe is.
Komitees van die Stigting slaag uitstekend
daarin om munisipaliteite in verskeie dorpe en stede
op hul tone te hou wanneer dit kom by die omsien
na ons argitektoniese erfenis. Drakenstein-tak is
voortdurend in gesprek met die Paarlse stadsraad
oor die sierlike, maar bedreigde hoofstraat van die
Die tak in Oos-Vrystaat speel 'n belangrike rol
in die streek met die stigting van bewaringskomitees
om die samewerking van dorpsrade te verkry. Hulle
ywer is van die grootste belang vir die behoud van
ons sandsteen-boukultuur.
Stellenbosch-tak vervul 'n groot taak met sy sitting op die estetiese komitee van die stadsraad van
Stellenbosch, 'n dorp waar snelle ontwikkeling en
bewaring nie altyd maklik met mekaar versoenbaar
is nie. Besoekers aan Stellenbosch in die vroee
somer kan gerus spesiale navraag doen oor wanneer
hierdie tak hul aandwandelinge deur die dorp onderneem.
Die Witwatersrand-tak is tans besig om met
nuwe ywer lede te werf deur etes in bistoriese plekke
te reel. Hulle skakel ook ten nouste met plaaslike
VIR 1994
Mnr. Tromp Botha van
Stellenbosch (links) en
mnr. Brian Watson van
Stellenbosch (regs) by
mev. Gerda Coetzee
mnr. Kobus Meiring,
mev. Meiring, mev.
Gerda Coetzee en mnr.
Revel Fox by die 1994
jaarvergadering in
owerhede aan die Witwatersrand, met positiewe
gevolge. Die noue skakeling met ander bewaringsorganisasies eindig dikwels op 'n feestelike noot,
soos byvoorbeeld die Jeppestown Jamboree.
Pretoria-tak se kwartaallikse nuusbrief is inderdaad van so 'n gehalte dat dit op sigself as 'n bewaringspamflet versprei kan word. Deur die jare het
hierdie tak 'n deurslaggewende rol gespeel ten opsigte van die sensitiewe bewaringsake in Pretoria.
Tans bemoei die tak hom onder meer met die
Stadsmeerprojek, die Erasmus-huise en die Rietvleinatuurreservaat. Hulle versamel historiese inligting
oor onder meer Cafe Riche, Fort Skanskop, en is betrokke by verskeie aanbevelings en riglynbeskrywings vir ander argitektonies-historiese
Wanneer 'n besoeker aan Worcester die enkele
waterslote wat nog daar bestaan, bewonder, kan hy
maar weet dit is die Breerivier-tak wat vir die behoud hiervan verantwoordelik is.
Die Stigting Simon van der Stel se wekroep is
natuurlik hoegenaamd nie net harde werk en
protesteer nie. Op sigself is elke tak 'n toerorganisasie in die kleine. Naweke is gewoonlik uitstappietyd. Dan word die kundigheid, geesdrif en vernuf
van Stigting-lede uitgeleef.
Van Robbeneiland ... tot argeologiese opgrawings in die Noord-Transvaal; van pionierskerke in
die Oos-Kaap tot sendingkerke in Bethanie - die
Stigting is daar. Piekniekmandjies of silwer en
kristal- ons omskep elke uitstappie in 'n
feesgeleen theid. •
VAN R30 000 is aan
Clarkson in die
Tsitsikamma toegeken.
By die geleentheid was
(van links) mnr. Gawie
Fagan (hoofbeoordelaar ), eerw. Lottering
(Morawiese sendinggemeenskap ), dr. Hugo
Nel ( voorsitter, OosKaapse tak van die
Stigting Simon van der
Stel), mev. Gerda
Coetzee ( nasionale
voorsitter, Stigting
Simon van der Stel) en
mnr. Desmond Smith
(besturende direkteur,
Kultuurhistoriese bewaring
bron vir stedelike toeristne
Is ons Suid-Afrikaanse stede gerat vir toeriste- oak op so 'n manier dat hulle kultuurhistoriese aantreklikhede het
waaroor die besoeker opgewonde sal raak? Hoe lyk die sinergie tussen toerisme en kultuurhistoriese (veral
argitektoniese) bewaring? Uit Pretoria se mnr. Albrecht Holm, 'n argitek, dat die vooruitsig van toerisme na die stad
reeds 'n aansienlike bydrae tot bewaring en die erfenis gelewer het- deurdat heelwat geboue gerestoureer en
heringerig is. Hier staaf hy self sy stelling dat "toerisme en bewaring mekaar nodig het in ons stede'~
te word- die gerief van jou huis en die
vermaak van jou televisie vir 'n wyle prys
te gee en die koste en ongerief aan te gaan om te
reis en jou moontlik nog aan gevare bloot te stel? Is
dit om 'n spesifieke stad, omgewing of mense waarvan jou vriende vertel het, te besoek en te "doen", of
is dit om net weg te kom en 'n verandering te
Die toerismebedryf het hom seker al met sulke
teoretiese vrae besig gehou en sy produkte daarop
ingestel. Maar aangesien toerisme in Suid-Afrika
nog 'n relatief nuwe bedryf is, blyk dit dat die
teoriee nog nie oral netjies in praktyk omgesit word
Dit blyk dat die drang om te reis, elke mens die
een of ander tyd beetpak- om watter rede ookal. In
die romantiek het mense van "wanderlust" gepraat
- onverklaarbare lus om vreemde dinge en mense
te sien, avontuur te beleef en weg te kom van die
plek waar jy vasgegroei is: om 'n verandering van
omgewing te maak.
Meestal verlaat 'n toeris sy tuiste of basis net tydelik om die verskil tussen sy alledaagse bestaan en
die vreemde plekke wat hy besoek, te geniet. Hoe
kleiner die verskil, hoe geringer die rede om die
ander plek te besoek.
Vreemde mense, vreemde gewoontes, vreemde
tale, ander stede, ander geboue, 'n ander klimaat, 'n
ander omgewing: dit is die dinge wat 'n toer opwindend maak. Dit verklaar ook waarom mense die
besienswaardighede in hul eie onmiddellike
omgewing meestal nie besoek of ken nie, al weet
hulle dikwels wel daarvan. Hierdie vereiste van andersheid sal ook bepaal waarheen die toeris sal reis
en wat hom sal interesseer.
Die toeris is 'n vinnige verbruiker van
nuwighede. Daarom raak toerisme-aantrekkingspunte en hele toerismegebiede of -Iande uit die
mode by bepaalde toeristegroepe. Dit was vir 'n
plattelandse boer in die vorige eeu nog aardig om
die hoofstad Pretoria te besoek, aangesien hy daar
met die Europese atmosfeer van "Kruger se Hollanders", met Engelse, Jode en Duitsers in aanraking
gekom het. Mense en dinge wat hy op die plaas nie
gesien het nie.
Elkeen van ons stede het 'n eie karakter gehad
wat toegeskryf kon word aan die klimaat en
natuurlike gegewens soos berge en see en in groot
mate aan die mense. Vooruitgang en die massas van
nuwe geboue in die jare sestig het die verskil tussen
ons stede in groot mate uitgewis. Dit het egter nog
in die ou geboue vasgesteek. Mense het ook baie
meer mobiel geword en dus wyer gekyk as SuidAfrika om te gaan reis, en hulle het in die land
begin eenders word, veral die stedelinge.
Met die afsondering wat Suid-Afrika beleefhet,
was daar nie veel toerismeverkeer na en van ons
land nie. Dis die dat mense nou verwag dat ons
hierop kan inhaal en ons vere behoort reg te skud
vir die duisende toeriste wat ons land gaan besoek.
Na die jongste verkiesing verwag ons ook dat binnelandse toeriste en veral uit die vroeer verhinderde gemeenskappe in groot getalle die "mark sal
Baie Pretorianers dink dat toerisme vir die
hoofstad iets nuuts is en dat daar groot veranderings moet kom om met stede soos Kaapstad en
Durban te kompeteer. Pretoria le nie by die see of
die wildtuin nie, ook nie op 'n tuin- of'n wynroete
nie; dis nie naby die blomme en ook nie eintlik in
Met sy groat aantal ou
geboue en
geskiedkundige bakens
soos Melrose-huis, is
Pretoria maklik
bemarkbaar as
die bosveld nie: wat bly oor om te bemark?! "Baie",
se 'n woordvoerder van die stadsraad se Tourist
Rendezvous Travel Centre- waar 'n mens brosjures
en kaarte kan kry wat daarop dui dat Pretoria «two
million years of culture" het.
Dit is verblydend om te merk dat feitlik alle besienswaardighede in Pretoria ou geboue, geskiedkundige plekke, museums (waarvan nie minder as
22 in die stadsraad se brosjures opgeneem is nie) en
ander kultuurinstellings is. Pretoria is dus as kultuurhoofstad bemarkbaar.
Die stadsraad, in samewerking met kultuur- en
erfenisverenigings waaronder natuurlik ook Stigting Simon van der Stel, het in 1993 'n reuse-kultuurkongres gehou en 'n opname van sy kultuurbates gemaak. 'n Publikasie met die titel "Kultuurhulpbronne" het die lig gesien en ook hieruit het
die waarde van Pretoria se beeld as geskiedkundige
kultuurstad, plek van vrede en orde en stad met 'n
rykdom aan goedversorgde ou geboue na vore
Intussen het die inisiatief ontstaan om die museums as 'n eenheid saam te snoer en vir toerisme
te bemark, wat daartoe gelei het dat groot uitbreidings en boubedrywighede aan die museums en
hul onmiddellike omgewing geloods is.
Dit blyk dat toeriste ook gunstig op die kultuurbates reageer, want volgens die woordvoerder is die
meeste navrae by die Toeriste-inligtingsentrum oor
die Voortrekkermonument en sy museum, die
Uniegebou, die Premiermyn, die Transvaalmuseum, Kerkplein en sy ou geboue, die kultuurhistoriese museum, die dieretuin- waar daar nog heelwat ou geboue bewaar is en wat spog met die
The widespread use of
intricate timber
fretwork (often cast iron
"brookieslace") around
verandahs is common to
Sammy Marksfontein (wat aan die begin van die
eeu op Kerkplein gestaan het), die Staatsteater en
die kleiner museums.
Dink 'n mens aan Pretoria, dink jy aan geskiedenis, erfenis, kultuur en ou geboue. Dit is wat die
toeris hier verwag en ook hier sal vind.
lets wat egter opval, waardeur Pretoria verraai
dat hy nog nie 'n lang tradisie in toerisme het nie, is
die feit dat hy blykbaar skaam of bang is om tradisioneel, eie en anders te wees. Van die 150 restaurante is daar maar agt wat iets plaaslik in tema of
naam het, of tradisionele kos aanbied. So is dit ook
met die hotels.
Pretoria het 'n tradisionele boeregasvryheid en
'n ou tradisie van goeie vriendskap met sy inheemse bevolking, maar hy steek dit weg vir die
toeris. Die stad kyk met bang oe na die fisieke gerief
en vermeende wense van sy toeriste en vergeet
daarby dat die toeris kom om te sien en te beleef
hoedat Pretoria is- nie om hier Londen, New York
of Johannesburg te ontdek nie!
• 'n Belangrike bydrae wat bewaring nog in die
toekoms sal kan maak, is om te help om die karakter en unieke andersheid van Pretoria as historiese
ZAR-hoofstad meer onder die toerismebedryf se
aandag te bring sodat hulle met selfvertroue die
voordeel kan benut. Die ZAR-boustyl het sy
mooiste voorbeelde in Pretoria. Dit aileen kan Pretoria as 'n toerismebestemming vestig. Daarby kom
die unieke Transvaalse streeksargitektuur van argitekte soos Moerdyk en De Zwaan, asook die
boukuns van die swart bevolking, wat blykbaar nog
eers deur die toerismebemarkers ((ontdek" moet
Architects from various major centres country-wide- and from different walks of life- add
their views on the synergy between tourism and culture-historical conservation in their
vicinities to that of Mr Holm. The spotlight falls mainly on architecture.
In an attempt to examine the symbiosis between
cities and tourism, with specific reference to the
City ofPietermaritzburg, the intention is not to
dwell on the reasons why people travel, but rather
to explore contributing factors, mainly from an architectural perspective as to what it is that makes
specific places more desirable or more rewarding
for people to visit.
The City of Pietermaritzburg, known also as "the
Heritage City", has a very special quality of place
which, certainly for the oldest part of the city, is of
the highest order. This is so despite considerable
change in contemporary times in the form of often
insensitive redevelopment, obtrusive signage, road
building, urban blight, etc. What is it that gives the
city its special character? It is my view that this
quality is not derived only from the particularly
large concentration of Voortrekker, Victorian and
Edwardian buildings of historical importance
and/or architectural merit and which typically
would be visited and admired by tourists (particularly those from abroad). Such buildings are important attributes but they are part of many contributing features (both natural and man-made)
which together constitute its unique urban envi-
ronment; the surrounding hills; the rivers and
water courses; the gridded street network with picturesque narrow lanes; the rows of trees lining
streets; brick stormwater channels etc.- many of
which are not in themselves particularly significant
but which, collectively, produce a whole which is
far greater than the sum of the parts.
Cohesive Streetscape
The original Voortrekker layout of Pietermaritzburg has markedly influenced its uniqueness and
continues to inform its development. The large rectangular erven, with buildings lining street edges
and large vegetable gardens behind, offered potential for extensive subdivision, particularly during
the Victorian era when a major development boom
occurred. A fortuitous by-product was the creation
of narrow lanes to give access to subdivisions
(Leighton Street and Deanery Lane are fine examples) but the most intricate and special area where
these lanes can be appreciated is the area immediately behind the "Old Supreme Court building"
(between Church and Longmarket Streets). These
narrow predominantly pedestrian lanes (which
vary in width between 1 metre and 3 metres) are
lined with mostly double-storey Edwardian office
buildings which, once upon a time, accommodated
the offices of the legal fraternity- conveniently located close to the courts). Many small speciality
shops, hairdressing salons and restaurants are now ·
accommodated within the fabric of this sensitively
scaled precinct.
The city has retained the long vistas of the main
streets which are terminated visually by the surrounding green hills. Rows of large trees line the
streets (Jacarandas being the most common) and
form magnificent "tunnels" of green (mauve in
spring!). Apart from their aesthetic value, they
function as a "filter" between road and private
property and offer visual continuity to streetscapes.
They also offer comfort to pedestrians as well as
parked cars during hot summer months.
A characteristic of the traditional local buildings
is the widespread occurrence of verandahs. These
elements function as interface spaces between the
public and private domains of houses, whilst also
offering a wonderful opportunity for aesthetic frivolity. The photo opposite gives an idea of the quality of such intricate timber fretwork (often cast iron
"brookieslace") that is common to these otherwise
simple buildings. Commercial buildings also have
their counterpart in the form of colonnades and
many fine examples remain even in the most extensively redeveloped parts of the city.
The other major element providing urban
unity, is the use of local building materials, the
most "place specific being the pink salmon bricks
once produced at a local quarry- now the 'bird
sanctuary'." This, together with clay roof tiles
(Brossley tiles) adds a unique homogeneity of material that belongs only here.
Grand Architectural Edifices
A number of public and commercial buildings in
the city rate among the best in the country. Most
notable is the "new" City Hall (the earlier building
was destroyed in a fire in 1898), a high character
Victorian building constructed in pink bricks.
This building has the
distinction of being the
largest all-brick structure in the southern
hemisphere. A special
relationship exists between this landmark
building and two other
high order Victorian
buildings: the Old
Supreme Court- now
the Tatham Art Gallery,
which was the first
grand building constructed in the city in
the local pink bricks,
and Publicity House.
The local Publicity Association is accommodated in the latter.
Other noteworthy
buildings include the
Old Colonial Buildings
in Church Street - once
upon a time head offices
of the Regional Government, the main Post Office in Longmarket Street- still accommodating the
same service, the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council buildings in Longmarket Street, the
original Voortrekker Church building- now
Voortrekker Museum, the Anglican Cathedral
(Church Street), the Standard Bank building in
Church Street- arguably the most beautiful bank
building in the country. The list ofbuildings in this
class, National Monuments, is long and includes
also significant educational buildings - many located outside of the older part of the city (e.g. Maritzburg College). There are also several former residential buildings, now used as offices, which had
been proclaimed National Monuments- one of the
finest verandah houses being "Overpark" ( 122
Loop Street).
They're narrow,
pedestrian and vary in
width between 1 metre
and 3 metres. Many
small speciality shops,
hairdressing salons and
restaurants are now
found in these lanes,
lined with mostly double
storey Edwardian office
People Factor
Physical attributes of cities are only part of the story
and the people of the place and their activities are
particularly important. "Pietermaritzburg is a thoroughly South African City." Each of the four main
culture groups has contributed to the city's appearance and it is still possible to detect the different
layers as they occurred over the past more than 150
years of development. Church Street (the main
street), for instance, is a street of many parts:
• Upper Church Street, the former Indian Trading
area, is alive with informal trading activities,
combi-taxis and loud ethnic music. The Railway
Station, a fine Victorian building, is an important
focus of the area. Numerous fine colonnaded shops
exist in this precinct, some accommodating unique
small shops - such as herbalists.
• Central Church Street, between Commercial
and Chapel Streets, has been densely developed and
is the traditional "white" shopping area. The area
has been extensively refurbished and partly pedes11
trianised some five years ago and is now the grandest shopping precinct of Pietermaritzburg- despite
parking problems. Several chain stores have been
accommodated behind elaborate Victorian facades
- Edgars being a fine example. A distinguishing feature of the upgrading was the incorporation of new
street furniture which, although contemporary in
nature, is sensitive to the Victorian character.
• Lower Church Street, the predominantly Indian
trading area, contains a largely nondescript contemporary array of commercial buildings but a few
typically Indian family shops remain. It is the intense activities, the aroma of curry and other goods
displayed right on the pavements that impart a cultural richness to this important business node. Several mosques lend an oriental architectural character to the area.
major development
boom in the Victorian
era gave rise to the
creation of narrow lanes
to provide access to
Other Attractions
Pietermaritzburg has a number of important annual events which attract large numbers of tourists.
Foremost among these are the Comrades Marathon
and Duzi Canoe Marathon, but there are others
which have become increasingly popular, such as
"Cars in the Park" and ''Art in the Park" which now
attract participants from throughout the country.
Also significant are the "Royal Agricultural Show",
and the "Natal Witness Garden Show"- both of regional importance.
A number of sites in the area are also notable
attractions, e.g. Howick Falls, Worlds View, Karkloof, historical war graves and green belt nature
A logical question within the context would be
to ask what has been done to market the city?
Apart from the more general public relations efforts by the local Publicity Association to promote
tourism locally, certain progressive pieces of legislation had been instigated by the local authority during the late 1980's in order to conserve the city's irreplaceable heritage. These include town planning
provisions to "list" buildings (at present there are
some 130 listed buildings), the transfer of development rights, the accommodation of alternative uses
in old buildings, the relaxation ofbuilding lines,
fiscal incentives for building owners - in the form
of rate rebates- and control over demolition of
buildings. The latter is a provocative piece of legislation which requires that no building may be demolished without the approval of the city council.
There has also been a concerted attempt to control
new development in sensitive areas to such an extent that new buildings, as well as alterations to existing buildings, harmonize with the immediate
context. These controls were not instigated to directly boost tourism, but I believe that the nett effect has been to check the loss of the city's unique
fabric and to some extent, constrain the proliferation of "placeless" development. As such, it has
contributed to retain the "magic" of the city.
In addition, there have been several urban design projects that no doubt have had positive spinoffs for tourism. Most notable is the refurbishment
of Church Street (Church Street Mall) which has, I
believe, given the central business district of Pietermaritzburg a new lease on life. Smaller projects inelude the refurbishment of Deanery Lane, a scenic
street lined with modest cottages, partial regeneration of Churchill Square (Market Square) and the
upgrading of certain lanes.
An important architectural project at present in
progress is the alteration to the rear part of Publicity House to accommodate the city's long-distance
bus terminal. This is becoming an important mode
of transport for tourists, particularly to Pietermaritzburg, owing to the distance from the main airport in Durban. The new arrival! departure point is
very favourably located in the proverbial "heart of
the city".
Pietermaritzburg, then, still reflects perhaps to a
greater extent than any other South African town
or city the varied history of all of its people. The
streets, the buildings, the trees, the rivers, the hills,
the names: all remind us how much each culture
group has contributed in the making of this place.
It indeed has much to offer both citizens and visitors.
The urge to conserve is as old as man himself:
human culture itself is a form of conservation. Environmental and architectural conservation too,
has been around in some way or another for a very
long time, but it was only towards the late sixties
that conservation, along with the recognition of environment as a scarce resource, gained acceptance
and momentum as a cultural activity among the
world communities.
Locally too, the idea of environmental and architectural conservation has gained respectability,
further boosted by the recognition by commerce,
cultural instances and politicians that it is a valuable asset in the promotion of tourism.
In the current optimistic international climate
for the promotion of this country as an ideal destination, the tourism industry confidently predicts
that by the end of the century tourism in South
Africa would be the largest industry, the most costeffective creator of employment, the greatest earner
of foreign exchange and a passport to peace.
In the Eastern Cape in general, and in the met-
ropolitan area of Port Elizabeth in particular, the
tourism strategy is to market the variety of activities and pursuits, the scenic, unspoilt panoramas of
countryside, beaches and sea, and above all- for
the richness of its peoples and its cultures in the
rural and urban areas.
The cultural heritage of the Eastern Cape, as far
as conservation and preservation of buildings and
environments are concerned, is well documented
and constitutes a considerable and unique asset in
the promotion of tourism. Led by the Department
of Architecture at the University of Port Elizabeth,
and assisted by the Heritage Committee of the Institute of South African Architects, the Simon van
der Stel Foundation, various local historical and
other cultural societies, comprehensive studies and
listings ofbuildings and historical landmarks in the
major cities and towns - as well as in rural areas,
have been undertaken, published and actively promoted since the early eighties.
The heritage of pre-colonial and post-colonial
peoples in the Eastern Cape, their turbulent, often
dramatic histories of conflict, reconciliation and
enterprise, which bind, (rather than separate)
them, are abundantly remembered in structures,
battlefields, sacred sites, burial sites and topographical features.
Although the built legacy of the British colonial
era, manifested in adapted Georgian, Regency, Victorian and Edwardian styles dominates the physical
environment, the sites and landmarks of the N guni
culture forms a rich pattern in the eastern rural
areas. Where traditional Nguni and European design and building methods interacted, more permanent structures emerged. Examples, alleged to have
been erected at the turn of the century, or earlier,
are to be found at Ginsberg, near King William's
Town. Mfengu and Khoi people displaced by the diaspora of the early decades of the last century chose
to side with the colonial power and as a result were
granted freehold land. One such place was the
"Fingo Village" in Grahamstown.
The Mfengu and the Khoi were also the first
African people on the continent to be converted
and to be educated (in the Western sense) in large
numbers. As a result, the Eastern Cape was the area
where the philosophy of African Nationalism was
formed, and a large collection of African heritage
sites are to be found in townships, mission stations
and educational institutions throughout the Eastern Cape.
The main Khoi San contribution to our cultural
heritage is the wealth of dramatic rock art sites, especially in the Drakensberg area.
Together this rich well-conserved heritage tapestry is a measure of the variety and depth of a
unique Eastern Cape culture common and precious
to all its peoples - and it forms an important aspect
in the promotion of tourism.
The Tourist Industry is considered to be one of
the most important industries in the
Border/Ciskei/Transkei area, but where is it? Regarding this particular topic - "the synergy between
tourism and culture-historical conservation" -
there seems to be a void!
Rather than blame marketing or political problems, I would like to show that this low ebb in the
tourism industry is symptomatic of our time, our
point in history and that it could, if handled correctly, be exciting and fulfilling.
This area now comprises the epicentre of the
newly created Eastern Cape Province and stretches
north and eastwards. (It is quite distinct from the
Port Elizabeth/Bathurst area). Its position on the
map is critical to our topic. Historically it is the
place of convergence of white and black cultures.
Out of this came both racial conflict and the early
lessons of mutual tolerance and respect. It is also an
area which has experienced tribal conflict and even
in recent times political rivalries have erupted into
This is the cauldron ofhistory. It has produced
heroes such as Steve Biko. It has produced Fort
Hare University which in turn has changed the face
of the continent. From it has bubbled forth both
good and bad. From it we can learn the recipe for
happiness and prosperity. Stir it badly and the
lumps at the bottom will clog and burn. Stir it well
and the aroma will inspire.
The Apartheid era not only created hardship for
many people, it also fertilized prejudices and packaged communities, reducing symbiosis and interchange. The narrow strip between Ciskei and
Transkei, as seen on maps of yesterday, was perceived by Free Staters and Vaalies (our prime
offers a rich heritage of
pre- and post-colonial
peoples in the Eastern
Cape. One of the
familiar beacons of the
town is the Cathedral of
St Michael and
Victorian Renaissance
lives on in the East
London City Hall, the
copper pinnacle of which
has dominated the city
for almost a century
"tourists") as a gauntlet to run to white East London. Tourists avoided crossing through Ciskei and
Transkei. East London and the Border area became
isolated. Many old German Settler villages such as
Frankfort and Mariental, long eyed as rich in potential for tourism- particularly that eminating
from Europe, had their populations removed for
transition to homeland status. The scene was set for
Now the sun has risen on a new morning, revealing new opportunities. We awake from the
coma and pick up our lives again. The natural richness of the area is well-known and tourists are
gradually drifting back. Note, for instance, the Wild
However, the built environment remains offstage. This is not without some valiant attempts of
certain individuals and developers to conserve important buildings or use them.
Of note is King William's Town's historic core
and Latimer's Landing below the old bridge across
East London's harbour, but there still remains a
chasm in terms of drawing on cultural history and
the potential of the environment to serve the community and attract tourists.
Urban design as a vital part of city, town or village development remains a low-key ad hoc affair
consisting predominantly of decoration with
paving, street furniture and planting around piecemeal development. There is no conscious effort to
create people places.
Conservation should be about people and the
active creation of spaces within which to celebrate
their culture and activities. Conservation is not
about freezing time, but
using our heritage to
improve our stock of
good quality structures
and spaces, to dynamically evolve our cities
AND our diverse culture.
Cities are living entities and should reflect
the society within. Conservation is about reflecting our past, the
past of the whole spectrum of society, and enriching our future with
European influence
on style and political
dominance for so many
years, has left a Eurocratic emphasis in our
built environment. It reflects centuries of
evolvement in architecture.
Individual premises
exude tremendous social context, but little in
terms of the environment generally. This is
not really a racial thing.
Rather it is a result of, among other reasons, the car
and differences in wealth fragmenting our society
in different ways.
Laying blame will not rectify matters. Nor will
the change of our architecture into predominantly
Afro-centric style. Our society is multi-faceted and
dynamic, not one or the other.
We have one of the best climates in the world,
yet our· built environment ignores this. Streets and
squares are peopled each day by those doing business, going to and coming from elsewhere: not used
for social interaction or expression. We have street
markets, but they are limited to shoddy sidewalk
stalls and not recognized as a vital part of our economy. We have no outdoor restaurants. Street entertainment consists ofbuskers against the wall and
occasional processions.
Political comment is now tolerated! All this
happens in the vacuum between.
S L 0 A P, the Space Left Over After Planning, is
a term that could apply here too. Streets are for
traffic and services. What about people?
Hopefully these comments do not appear negative. This year our chameleon has changed its hue
dramatically and now ponders its next step.
We have an incredible historic and cultural
wealth here, just waiting to be tapped. The RDP
provides us with the magic words, but WE must act
or it will all turn out to be an illusion. If we do not
grasp the moment, we will miss the boat.
I do not believe in "affirmative action" through
giving up our "European Architecture" for "African
Architecture". We are a rich and complex culture.
The built environment, the urban realm, must be
for this culture, for people to work and relax in. As
this is achieved and we regain our dignity and selfpride, tourism will simultaneously grow. Visitors
will be attracted and become integral participants
and not just onlookers. History is alive and well in
this region. It has not always been well, but we need
not be ashamed of it if we are able to learn from it.
Tourists too, will recognize this. As our society
heals itself, so too must our cities and towns.
Museums encapsulate cultural/historical references. They conserve cultural facts and artifacts and
serve as an information/education mechanism.
Theatres provide a means of active expression, social comment, cultural reinforcement and escapism. Historical architecture may be predominantly European in style, but it is not exclusive. Its
richness and human scale appeals universally, (although we have a long path ahead in developing
conscious appreciation by the public).
We have not really managed to sustain many of
these qualities in new design, nor evolve a truly regional design expressing ourselves. Perhaps it is for
financial reasons. Perhaps we rely too much on outside sources of inspiration. Perhaps we no longer
are in touch, as architects and city planners, with
the soul of the city and society. Conservation as a
means of achieving and sustaining contact is very
important. As said earlier, culture is dynamic and
our architectural heritage reflects this even in some
surprising ways.
The East London City Hall, for instance, stands
in all its colonial glory, yet is becoming .a new symbol: Once visited by Princess Elizabeth, it is now the
venue for a multitude of activities by the general
public, some having long lasting and historically
significantly important implications. Its strong
colours and imposing tower have taken on new
meanings. It is the scene of many political meetings, RDP conferences, melodramas, large weddings, expos, negotiations for a new metropolitan
disposition .. .it now awaits its first truly representative city council. No "neutral" or newly designed
building, no matter how symbolic it is intended,
can replace it.
Now let us develop our urban envionment, the
buildings and the spaces between - using the best
from our inherited stock and adding or changing
where necessary. Conservation is for all. Urban
areas are for all, for the people who occupy them.
Let the cities live.
Elke stad of dorp in Suid-Afrika het sy eie unieke
natuurlike bates, wat later deur mensgemaakte
elemente en geboue aangevul is. Ons kan hierdie
natuurlike landskap en beboude omgewing as toeristebates ontwikkel. In die lig van sy ryke erfenis,
sal dit net moontlik wees om enkele hoogtepunte in
Bloemfontein te noem.
In die swart woonbuurt Batho staan seker een
van die betenisvolste bakens van die huidige tydvak
in die geskiedenis, naamlik die stigtingshuis van die
ANC. Dit is een van die min dubbelverdiepinghuise
in die omgewing, en dit dateer terug na 1912.
President Nelson Mandela het self onlangs die
huis besoek en 'n boom daar geplant.
In die lig van die historiese waarde van die huis,
is daar reeds planne vir 'n museum en inligtingsentrum, maar dit is nog in 'n beplanningstadium.
Nader 'n mens die stad, kan jy reeds in die verte,
op 'n afstand van 60 km, die bekende plat plate van
Naval Hill sien met sy kenmerkende radiomas en
die wit koepel van die Sterrewagteater, wat 'n gewilde kabaret-venue geword het. Naval Hill is trouens
die ideale begin en orientasiepunt vir enige toeris
na die stad, want die verskillende historiese distrikte rol soos 'n Persiese tapyt in 'n suidwaartse rigting
uit. Met sy voellewe en boksoorte, vorm die
Franklin-natuurreservaat 'n oase net vyf minute se
ry van die middestad, waarvan die stilte en kontras
baie positiewe reaksie by toeriste ontlok.
Voordat 'n mens afdaal na die stad, is daar minstens twee besienswaardighede in die nek tussen
Naval Hill en Seinheuwel aan die westekant, naamlik die ou Presidentswoning en die nuwe Orgideehuis. Die pragtige landskap van die Presidentswoning met sy Kaaps- Hollandse gebou, is onlangs in
'n prestige-kunssentrum omgeskep, met die mooi
naam Oliewenhuis ... voorwaar 'n besoek werd.
Hoewel die eerder met die bewaring van eksotiese
plante te doen het, is 'n besoek aan die orgideehuis
deel van die toeristepakket.
Terwyl dit eintlik bekend is vir die omvattende
versameling in sy hoofgebou, het die Nasionale
Museum drie spesiale satellietversamelings op hul
eie persele wat te maklik oor die hoof gesien kan
word. Hulle is naamlik die Eerste Raadsaal, die
Waenhuismuseum en Freshford-Huismuseum. As
die bekendste daarvan,
is die fraai Eerste Raadsaal omtrent die enigste
voorbeeld van 'n pioniersgebou wat sy oorspronklike styl behou
het, en watter belangrike rol het dit in die
eerste twintig jaar van
Bloemfontein gespeel!
Die Waenhuismuseum in die agterplaas,
beskeie weggesteek, is 'n
ware toeriste-verrassing.
Talle Europese gaste was
alletterlik in vervoering
oor die perdekarre en
ossewaens wat hulle ewe
aan hul eie landelike
wortels herinner het!
Die derde satelliet
van die Nasionale Museum is juis die Freshford-Huismuseum in
Kellnerstraat. Met groot
deeglikheid en egte
meublement, kry 'n
mens die restourasie
van 'n tipiese Edwardiaanse waning van die
die draai van die eeu
wat deur moderne
woonstelle omring
President Brandstraat word soms as die
mooiste "boulevard" in
Suid-Afrika beskou, en
het seker meer verklaarde nasionale
monumente per vierkante meter as baie
ander stede in die land.
Gelukkig is die geheel
tot historiese distrik verklaar en daar is verskillende
skemas om die eenheid van die landskap en ruimtes
te bewaar. Dit is nie moontlik om al veertien
geboue in detail te bespreek nie, maar die stadsraad
het verskillende- staproetes ge"identifiseer wat die
belangrikste monumente aanmekaarskakel.
Gordon Leith se klassieke sandsteen-stadsaal
word nog steeds bewonder- ten spyte van sy nuwe
buurman, die Glaspaleis. Gelukkig word Lennox
Canning se Vierde Raadsaal weer as die setel van
die Provinsiale Raad gebruik. Op die suidoewer van
Bloemspruit is die ou Presidensie nog steeds 'n
pragtige adres vir kamermusiek, spesiale onthale en
Op die kruin van die heuwel aan die suidekant
van Kerkstraat (op die Kaapse pad) staan die ou
Fort en militere museum wat 'n verdere toeristemagneet vorm. Hiervandaan kry 'n mens 'n
panorama oor die ouer deel van die stad (watererven) en sien hoe die stad rondom Naval Hill ontwikkel het. Twee blokke na die suide is die
Hertzoghuis in Goddardstraat- ook smaakvol
gerestoureer. •
Die treffende
Vrouemonument buite
Bloemfontein is 'n
gewilde toeristeaantreklikheid
Kultuurhistoriese erfenis n1oet
deel vorn1 van eko-toerisn1e
Ofskoon die de bat oor die toekoms van die bewaring van ons kultuurhistoriese erfenis en die rol van die Raad vir
Nasionale Gedenkwaardighede (RNG) in 'n demokratiese Suid-Afrika nog aan die gang is, sou die RNG enersyds
wou sien dat die weg van versoening ingeslaan, en erfenisbewaring as 'n verenigende faktor benader word, en
andersyds dat ons kultuurhistoriese erfenis integraal deel vorm van Suid-Afrika se toerisme- ''pakket'~
die RNG.
Die RNG wil voorts sy deel tot die Heropbouen Ontwikkelingsprogram (HOP) bydra deur middel van toenemende restourasie-subsidies aan
agtergeblewe gemeenskappe en deur die aanmoediging van eko-toerisme wat tot werkskepping
m6et lei. Meer uitgebreide identifisering met, en
betrokkenheid by, erfenisbewaring in. Afrika, is ook
hoog op die RNG se voorkeurlys. Hierbenewens
raak Suid-Afrika se toelating tot internasionale organisasies, soos byvoorbeeld samewerking met
UNEsco, 'n opwindende moontlikheid.
"Suid-Afrikaners bevind hulle in 'n nuwe SuidAfrika, sien die nuwe Suid-Afrika ontvou, en wil dit
graag in al sy fasette ervaar. Hulle wil weet hoe hul
mede-Suid-Afrikaners deur die eeue, veral in hul
hartlande, geleef het en wil uit hullandgenote se
kultuur- en geestesgoedere leer om hulle eie te verryk. Dit kan ook nuwe vistas vir aile inwoners laat
oopgaan." In die opsig, se mnr. Hofmeyr, bepleit
die RNG vorentoe groter betrokkenheid by bewaring deur aile vlakke van die samelewing.
Benewens die geestelike verryking en begrip wat
dit bied, hou inklusiewe erfenisbewaring groot
potensiaal in as deel van 'n omvattende toerisme"pakket" wat die besoeker aan Suid-Afrika in staat
stel om kennis te maak met die groot kultuurverskeidenheid van ons land, se hy.
Hy meen ekonomiese werklikhede van die HOP
en die tekort aan finansiele hulpbronne wat dit vir
erfenisbewaring in Suid-Afrika kan meebring, sal
bewaringsinstansies straks dwing om eko-toerisme
doelgerig te bevorder om bewaring steeds lewensvatbaar en regverdigbaar te maak.
Volgens mnr. Hofmeyr is die ontwikkeling van
eko-toerisme regstreeks te danke aan die toenemende verband tussen bewaring en toerisme en die
invloed van veral ekonomiese faktore op beide.
"Eko-toerisme (ekologiese en ekonomiese toerisme) verwys in sy wydste sin na natuur- en kultuurbewaring en hul interathanklikheid van toerisme."
Die 1992 Witskrif oor toerisme meld in hierdie
verband onder meer: "The natural and cultural environments are important elements of the attractions of a region ... The preservation of the country's pristine natural environment, including the
rich fauna and flora and the diversity of the cultural heritages of Southern Africa will serve as the
major drawcard for tourists."
Ondanks die bolistiese standpunt, word erfenis-
George Hofmeyr
direkteur van die Raad
vir Nasionale
bewaring deurgaans stiefmoederlik behandel as dit
kom by die bewilliging van fondse deur die Staat
vir die bevordering van eko-toerisme, se mnr.
Hofmeyr. Die geld word meestal vir die ontwikkeling van toeristegeriewe in private wildtuine of
natuurreservate toegewys, terwyl kulturele aspekte
en die ontwikkeling of aanwending daarvan vir
eko-toerisme buite rekening gelaat, of vir die private sektor "aangegee" word. Die verband tussen
bewaring en toerisme is relatief nuwe konsepte wat
veral sedert die sestigerjare werklik momentum
gekry bet, se hy. "Dit is terloops ook nie te ver in
die verlede nie dat 'n hedendaagse sleutelwoord in
toerisme, naamlik 'holidays', net betrekking gehad
het op heilige dae of 'holy days'."
Toerisme het egter wereldwyd Sterk gegroei en
is minstens die afgelope twee dekades een van die
belangrikste bedrywe in Brittanje. Dit is 'n bekende
feit dat Brittanje en verskeie Europese lande se ryk
argitektoniese en kulturele erfenis van die belangrikste toeriste-aantrekkingskragte geword het.
"Eko-toerisme het inderdaad gekom om te bly
en is reeds 'n wereldwye verskynsel. Dit blyk onder
meer uit die feit dat daar in Noord-Amerika al
minstens 500 reisagente is wat net op eko-toerisme
konsentreer en wat reeds gelei bet tot die totstandkoming van die 'Eco-Tourism Society of America'.
"In Suid-Afrika het die klem by oorsese toeriste
tot dusver nog grotendeels op ons natuurskoon en
wilde diere geval. Dit is egter insiggewend dat ons
kultuurbates, as die ander been van eko-toerisme,
al hoe meer toeriste lok."
Mnr. Hofmeyr beklemtoon die noodsaaklikbeid
dat Suid-Afrika se argitektoniese en kultuurhistoriese rykdom saam met sy natuurlike omgewing op
toerisme-plakkate moet pryk om die verskeidenheid van die land se bates en toeriste-aantreklikhede te beklemtoon.
Daar is jaarliks byvoorbeeld reeds meer besoekers by die Victoria en Alfred Waterfront in Kaapstad as in die Krugerwildtuin. "Die Waterfront, met
sy sintese van kultuur en natuur, is inderdaad een
van eko-toerisme se groot suksesverhale in SuidAfrika. Dit het ook bewys dat mense in die algemeen outentieke bewaring en restourasie kan onderskei en verkies bo namaaksels.
"Alles dui daarop dat Suid-Afrika in die huidige
wereldwye toerisme-ontploffing kan deel as geweld
en misdaad hokgeslaan kan word. Teen 1995 sal
daar na raming 515 miljoen toeriste wereldwyd reis
en teen 2000 sowat 637 miljoen. Daar word verwag
dat die totale inkomste uit toerisme teen die jaar
2000 sowat R1,700 miljard sal beloop. Dit behoort
dan die wereld se grootste uitvoernywerheid te
Benewens sy natuurprag, het Suid-Afrika inderdaad 'n ryk kulturele en argitektoniese nalatenskap.
Talle pioniersgroepe, verteenwoordigend van
uiteenlopende kultuurgroepe, het hulle stempel
onuitwisbaar op die nalatenskap afgedruk- insluitend die San met hul rotskuns, die Hollandse en
Britse Setlaars, swart volkere en sendelinge.
Deur die groot verskeidenheid van die nalatenskap in 'n gabalanseerde toerisme-"pakket" te
beklemtoon, kan Suid-Afrika nie net sy toerismepotensiaal optimaliseer nie, maar kan toerisme
ook, soos elders in die wereld, 'n beduidende bron
van buitelandse valuta en binnelandse werkverskaffing word, se mnr. Hofmeyr. Sodoende kan die
doelstellings van die HOP ook bevorder word.
Alle Suid-Afrikaanse stede en talle plattelandse
dorpies spog in 'n mindere of meerdere mate met
'n verskeidenheid kultuurhistoriese bates, waarvan
etlikes internasionaal bekend is. Trouens, elk van
Suid-Afrika se nege provinsies het, benewens 'n
eiesoortige en "bemarkbare" natuurlike omgewing
met groot toerisme-potensiaal, 'n kultuurhistoriese
nalatenskap wat die potensiaal beduidend kan verhoog, meen mnr. Hofmeyr.
Hy noem die Noordoos- en die Oos-Kaap as
voorbeelde van streke wat tradisioneel min toeriste .
trek, maar wat groot toerisme-potensiaal het. "Die
Noordoos-Kaap in die besonder spog net nie met
die oudste aanduiding van dinosourusse in SuidAfrika nie, maar word ook as die rykste gebied in
die land ten opsigte van prehistoriese rotskuns
Bewaringsprojekte op Graaff-Reinet en
Cradock, het gelei tot die omskepping van die
Karoo-dorpies in
potensiele toerismejuwele.
Op Graaff-Reinet
het dit tot die verklaring
van 200 nasionale
(meestal net die fasades
van geboue) gelei, terwyl altesaam 14 tuishuise op Cradock,
asook 'n plaas in die
Bergkwagga Nasionale
Park, gerestoureer is.
Dorpies soos Rhodes en
Burgersdorp in die
Noordoos-Kaap bied
dieselfde "simbiose"
tussen kultuur en
Trouens, daar is talle
plekke in die land waar
erfenisbewaring in
natuurreservate bedryf
kan word, se mnr.
Hofmeyr. De Hoop
naby Bredasdorp, Die
Hel in Gamkaskloof en
Shamwari is sprekende
voorbeelde van die sintese tussen kultuur- en
natuurbewaring in Kaapland.
Die konsep van opgeknapte herberge, tuishuise
en gastehuise op plattelandse dorpies vind toenemend byval by toeriste. "Vir eers hied dit 'n ideale
rusplek langs 'n lang roete. Ten tweede bevredig dit
mense se terughunkering na die estetiese kwaliteit
van ou geboue en hul interieurs wat 'n rustigheid
en 'n vernuwing van die gees bring:'
In 'n gebalanseerde en verteenwoordigende toerisme-"pakket" behoort die kollig ook toenemend
op die nalatenskap van die verskillende kultuurgroepe te val.
In Bloemfontein, waar die ANC sy ontstaan
gehad het, sal strukture wat met die organisasie in
verband staan, stellig groot belangstelling uitlok,
meen hy. Soos die Hertzoghuis in Bloemfontein behoort hulle as deel van Suid-Afrika se totale
kultuurhistoriese erfenis en as toeriste-aantreklikheid bewaar te word, tesame met die stad se
ander geskiedkundige geboue.
Insgelyks behoort die tronk en gruisgroef wat
met president Nelson Mandela en ander prominente gevangenes op Robbeneiland verband hou,
vir toeriste toeganklik gemaak te word. 'n Besluit
om die eiland in sy geheel tot gedenkwaardigheid te
verklaar, is reeds geneem, maar moet nog met alle
belanghebbende instansies bespreek word.
In die Kimberley-gebied is die huis van mnr.
Solomon T. Plaatje, skrywer, stigterslid en eerste
sekretaris-generaal van die ANC, al tot nasionale
gedenkwaardigheid verklaar en word dit as oorbruggingskool vir agtergeblewe kinders gebruik.
Ofskoon heelwat van Suid-Afrika se swart argitektoniese erfenis, soos Zoeloe-hutte wat van gras
en takke gemaak is, van 'n nie-permanente aard is,
kan die herskepping van swart statte met tradisionele krale en hutte waarin besoekers kan tuisgaan,
verteenwoordigend van
kultuurgroepe, het hulle
stempel op SA se
kulturele en
nalatenskap afgdruk insluitend die San met
hul rotskuns
CRADOCK het gelei tot
die omskepping van die
Karoo-dorpies in
potensiele toerismejuwele
Dit is bekend dat
vakmanne wat
oorspronklik uit die
Ooste afkomstig was, 'n
belangrike deel in baie
Kaaps-Hollandse huise
se oprigting en
afwerking gehad het
toenemende getalle toeriste lok. Daar is ook talle
ander voorbeelde van proto-historiese
gedenkwaardighede soos Mapungubwe (ca. 1300
n.C.), met sy pragtige goud-kunswerke, die Dzatarui:nes en die ystersmeltterreine by Phalaborwa (ca.
700 n.C.), wat met swart kulture geassosieer kan
word en wat groot toerisme-potensiaal het. Voorts
is daar die wereldbekende verklaarde fossielterreine
soos Mapakansgat, Swartkrans en Sterkfontein wat
ten nouste met die evolusie van die mens verband
hou en wat eweneens toerisme-potensiaal het.
Hindoe-tempels, Moslem- moskees, inheemse
boukuns soos Dingaanstat met sy talle gerekonstrueerde Zoeloe-hutte en 'n bruin vissersdorpie
soos Waenhuiskrans met sy volksboukuns, is weer
voorbeelde van verklaarde gedenkwaardighede wat
sedert die ontstaan van die Historiese Monumentekommissie in 1934 onteenseglik met kultuurgroepe
anders as "blanke" Suid-Afrika in verband staan en
wat integraal deel moet
wees van Suid-Afrika se
omvattende toerisme"pakket", se mnr.
Voorts is daar letterlik duisende argeologiese terreine, met inbegrip van rotskunsterreine, wat outomatiese
beskerming onder die
Wet op Nasionale
geniet en wat toeriste
kan lok.
"Die kwantiteit en kwaliteit van die rotskunsterreine, wat al sedert 1911 wetlik beskerm word, is
op sigself van internasionale belang."
Suid-Afrika se ryk gemeenskaplike erfenis moet
ook sterk beklemtoon en en onder die aandag van
toeriste gebring word.
Die verskeidenheid van verklaarde sendingposte
en die historiese kern van die Bo-Kaap (voorheen
bekend as die Maleierbuurt) in Kaapstad is byvoorbeeld die resultaat van 'n interessante vermenging
van kulture. Dit is hierbenewens algemeen bekend
dat vakmanne wat oorspronklik uit die Ooste
afkomstig was, 'n belangrike aandeel in baie KaapsHollandse huise se oprigting en afwerking gehad
het. Van die verklaarde eiendomme met gewelhuise
daarop het ook vroeer aan sogenaamde gekleurdes
"Die aansienlike getal natuurlike gedenkwaardighede soos Tafelberg vorm sekerlik ook deel van
ons gesamentlike erfenis. Selfs die ou bloekombome wat in die vorige eeu geplant is om gronderosie te voorkom, vorm deel van die kultuurhistoriese landskap van Tafelberg.
Die RNG wil ook graag "regstellend" optree ten
opsigte van die huidige wanbalans van inheemse en
koloniale gedenkwaardighede. Die Raad sien egter
nie die oplossing in die grootskeepse deproklamasie
van bestaande gedenkwaardighede nie, maar eerder
in 'n groter beklemtoning en momentum ten opsigte van potensiele nie-koloniale gedenkwaardighede.
"Die RNG steun die inklusiewe bewaring van
Suid-Afrika se driedimensionele kulturele erfenis
ten voile en hoop dat alle Suid-Afrikaners sal
meewerk aan die handhawing en bevordering
van ons gemeenskaplike
kultuur-historiese erfems.
"Oscar Wilde het
gese 'the only good
thing about the past is
that it is past'. Die RNG
meen die teenoorgestelde is waar en dat
'n gemeenskap wat geen
verlede het om op trots
te wees nie, geen
toekoms het nie. In
hierdie verband is die
woorde van Sir Winston
Churchill ook van
toepassing op al die inwoners van die land:
'We begin by shaping
our buildings, but ultimately our buildings
shape us'," se mnr.
Hofmeyr. •
iieili;IF.i41Qeiii§[email protected]·ll
Awareness a Inatter of urgency
"The air is splendid here, even better than I dreamed. The place about the house has changed utterly ever since we
were here. All the trees in the garden are gone, all the poplar bush is cut down; only the beautiful hills and the
splendid air is the same ... " THE
is as prevalent on our farms as it is in our
towns and cities. Conservationists have long
been concerned about the disappearance of the
early farm buildings, as hardly any records nor information exist of early farm structures in South
Africa. The only rural buildings which have been
studied in detail are those of the Western Cape.
This led to an investigation, initiated by the
Eastern Cape branch of the Simon van der Stel
Foundation, into the current status of farmhouses
in the Karoo region.
It is well known that one of the major problems
in the Karoo region as a whole has been the ext ensive out-migration of the economically active population to the metropolitan centres of the country
since the beginning of the twentieth century. And
the Cradock district is one of the worst -affected
areas in the country. It has experienced large-scale ·
depopulation of especially the rural White sector,
and this has resulted in chronic stagnation in the
area. The direct results of this is that more and
more people are continuining to move away to the
towns in search of employment- a secondary result is the large-scale abandonment of the historic
farmsteads in the region, as well as the loss of a potential tourist craw-card and income.
The Cradock district is home to a great wealth
of architectural history with rich tourist potential.
Farmhouses range from the primitive "brakdak"
type cottage, with low walls and roofs built of compacted mud, to the more elegant and refined Victorian houses, with their intricate timber lattice-work
on deep, shady verandahs. There are also many
stone cottages in the area, which were built during
the very early days of settlement as defence against
warring tribes. Imagine the impact history could
make if some of these settlements could be restored
and serve as guest houses or overnight facilities for
tourists and travellers on their way from the interior to the coast!
Though a drive through the district is a beautiful journey, it is a sad
one. Instead of flourishing farmsteads or
tourist attractions,
many empty and neglected farmhouses can
be seen scattered across
the landscape, some of
which are extremely old
and very rare, and it
was the concern for the
future of these abancloned farmhouses
which prompted the Eastern Cape branch of the
Simon van der Stel Foundation to initiate an investigation into the situation. It was felt that an assessment of the degree of abandonment and neglect in
this study area would be an indication of the situation in many other districts of the Karoo.
By Theresa Hardman
Department of
Architecture, University
of Port Elizabeth
The architecture of the Karoo
Research into the history of the farmhouses in the
Cradock district reveals that these buildings are the
product of numerous complex and often interwoven influences and architectural styles. The extreme
climate of the Karoo has proven to be one of the
strongest formative factors in the development of
the farmhouses - the use of small windows to keep
out the summer heat and winter frost, for example,
was an absolute necessity for survival against the
elements. These minor interruptions in extremely
thick wall planes eventually became a characteristic
feature of the building type. The skilful and inventive use of locally available materials has also given
rise to an architecture unique to the Karoo.
The Cape Dutch style ofbuilding serves as one
of the most important architectural progenitors of
the traditional domestic buildings of the Cradock
district and the Karoo generally. This style was carried in the memories of the trekking farmers as
they travelled from the security of the Cape during
the late eighteenth century. The English settlers
who arrived in the Eastern Cape in l820 also influenced the architectural development of the Karoo
farmhouse with their traditional buildings methods
and skilled craftsmanship.
Based on dates of origin, external appearance,
plan development and construction materials used,
the historic farmhouses in the district can be
broadly classified into three categories, which will
be described below. These are:
• the Trekboer cottage
• the Double-pitched cottage
• the Victorian/Edwardian farmhouse
Typical of the trek boer's
house were the flat mudpacked roofs and mudsmeared walls, the
arrangement of windows
and the stone stoep
The Trekboer CoHage
The farmhouse on
Driefontein with loft
door and stairs
exemplifies this style,
found in the Cradock
The Karoo farmhouse
has its earliest roots in
the spread of Dutch culture from the Western
Cape, a history which
dates back to the first
advances made by
farmers trekking east in
order to find suitable
grazing land for their
animals. Pioneering
conditions, with their
shortage of money and
the absence of foreign
art influences during
the early years, afforded
little opportunity for
the display of architectural grandeur, and
what initially emerged
in the Karoo was a simplified version of the
construction techniques
and planning arrangements to which the
farmers were accustomed in the Western
Cape. The Cape Dutch
traditions of building were adapted to suit the
harsh climate and limited range of primitive building materials available in the interior regions of the
By about 1790, white settlement had spread to
the banks of the Great Fish River, despite continual
conflict with indigenous tribes. The first farmers in
what is no\v the Cradock district, initially lived a
nomadic life, and moved to greener pastures when
necessary. Their earliest dwellings were therefore
very modest, functional buildings, with mud from
river banks and thatch from hillsides being the
chief building materials used. Where good quality
stone was readily available, this was used for foundations and walling. Due to the excellent insulating
properties of these materials, and the use of very
small window openings, they formed a protective
shell against the elements.
Typical of the early trekboer's house, were the
flat mud-packed roofs and mud-smeared walls, the
symmetrical arrangement of windows about the
front door, and the stone stoep. The buildings are
simple, but immensely solid, displaying fine proportions which seem to be in perfect harmony with
the surrounding landscape.
They are relatively long and narrow, with spans
limited to about three or four metres due to the
unavailability of timber in lengths greater than this
at the time of construction. The plan layout typically consisted of one, two or three interleading
rooms placed in a linear fashion, which formed the
core for further expansion in years of more permanent settlement and increased prosperity.
These box-like buildings, unhindered by applied decoration, are extremely modest in expression. Wall surfaces were generally left rough and
unplastered and this, together with the flat roofs
made of packed soil, lends them a particular ap-
pearance, warm in colour and rich in texture. The
clarity of their pure forms, make them contextually
appropriate in the vast horizontality of the Karoo
The Double-Pitched CoHage
This building form existed in the Cradock area
from the early nineteenth century and is characterised by a simple rectangular form capped by a
steeply-pitched roof, usually covered with thatch.
The change from flat roof to pitched roof occurred
gradually as the farmers felt that their settlement in
the area was more permanent. Earlier buildings of
the type are reminiscent of the simplified Cape
Dutch style until after the arrival of the English settlers in Algoa Bay in 1820, when the buildings acquired a more English character in detailing and
construction materials used.
They were usually either rectangular or Tshaped in plan, with extensions being made along
the length of the building, and they remained fairly
simple in layout until about 1860, when corrugated
iron became widely available in the country. The
introduction of this new material, which was relatively cheap, allowed the house to develop in a
unique way. Additional rooms could now be added
onto the core of the house in the form of lean-to's,
and the "afdak" was soon taken to the extreme,
with some extremely complex forms resulting.
Another important consequence of the arrival
of corrugated iron sheeting was the widespread addition of verandahs onto existing farmhouses. This
proved to be an effective architectural response to
the harsh climatic conditions in the Karoo, and
served to shield the house from direct weather.
Most were supported on slender columns of turned
wood, and almost every historic farmhouse in the
district acquired this addition. Only a few examples
of elaborate timber fretwork are to be found in the
district though, as the verandahs in the Cradock
district are generally very simple in character.
Typically the double-pitched cottages have
whitewashed walls, with painted timber window
shutters to keep out the heat. Like the trekboer cottages, they are very modest in character, with a
symmetrical front facade and stone stoep being
typical features. Currently there are about 105
farmhouses of this type remaining in the district.
Pitched roofs consisted of rough poles or trusses supporting rafters and purlins, which were covered with thatch, but the space formed by the roof
structure was never used as a habitable room. Instead it served as storage space for grain, biltong,
dried fruit and household goods, and access to it
was gained in one of the end gable walls by means
of a ladder which could be removed when not in
use. Later a permanent stone staircase was built
onto the end gable wall, and this loft door and
staircase are typical features of the farmhouse type.
It has already been mentioned that those farmhouses built in the district after 1820 acquired an
English character, and many were built in the English tradition, using stone which was locally quarried. These vagu~ly resemble the double-storied
farmhouses of the Albany district, but only singlestoried examples are to be found in the Cradock
district. When the walls were not constructed of
stone, they were built using home-made bricks of
The Victorian/Edwardian Farmhouse
This farmhouse type differs greatly from the earlier
pioneers' houses in many respects, including massing, size, building materials used, as well as construction techniques. The Victorian and Edwardian
houses are characterised by a square or rectangular
plan, an increased complexity in plan form and expression, hipped roofs, asymmetry, as well as the
employment of purely decorative architectural features. Approximately 150 farmhouses of this kind
are to be found in the Cradock district, with good
examples on the farms Pauletta, Groenkloof and
Domestic buildings built during the Victorioan
period, whether rural or urban, large or small, were
built according to standard plans, unlike the earlier
dwellings which had been built directly according
to the needs of the farmer and his family. From
about 1840 the most typical plan was a simple symmetrical square, with the introduction of the full
verandah on the side of the house occurring from
about 1850.
This square plan is much more compact than its
linear predecessors, and the arrangement of the internal spaces differ greatly from these too. The
main reception rooms were always designated to
the front of the house, with the kitchen and other
utilitarian spaces placed at the back, appearance
having been of utmost importance in the Victorian
The plan remained relatively simple until about
1870, when more elaborate and asymmetrical
forms emerged, due mainly to improved technology, higher standards of living, as well as the introduction of more modern building materials, such
as corrugated iron. An increasing complexity of
roofspace resulted, with bay windows interrupting
wall surfaces, and verandahs wrapping around corners.
The expression of these farmhouses also
changed according to developments in architectural
style. During the late Georgian period, buildings
remained relatively simple in character, and door
and window openings were accentuated with plaster mouldings. But during the height of the Victorian period, these buildings began to conform in aesthetics to the ideals and ideas which were the
product of a very materialistic age. Decorative fanlights, trellises, windows, doors and bay windows
became the order of the day, but in the rural areas
of the district these remained modest in character,
with most Victorian farmhouses in the Cradock
district having simple facades pierced by large sash
windows, their main decorative feature being the
verandah. The farmhouse of Doornrivier has a fine
timber verandah, which is still in good condition.
Only one example of a cast iron verandah is to
be found in the district, and this occurs on the
farm Jakkalsfontein. Timber was more commonly
used as it was not as heavy to transport over long
distances, and therefore less expensive.
The Current Situation
It can thus be seen that a large number of fine old
farmhouses exist in the Cradock area, as is surely
the case in other parts of the Karoo region. These
are examples of an indigenous vernacular architecture which makes use of inventive construction
methods and in many cases displays fine craftmanship. But, as has already been mentioned, the building type is in danger of disappearance through neglect and abandonment. In order to quantify this
situation, an architectural survey of the Cradock
rural district was conducted during 1992, in which
every old farm building built in the district before
1910 was photographed and documented in terms
of plan form, external appearance, its overall condition and present use, and general architectural
An extensive record of these buildings. was thus
compiled, and the survey revealed startling statistics: it was found that, of the 250 historic farmhouses of architectural merit in the Cradock district, approximately 67 percent of these were no
longer being used as farmhouses, and were either
completely unutilized or being used as stores for
fodder, farming equipment, etc. A total of 35 farmhouses in the district were identified as being of
significant architectural and historic importance,
and hence worthy of conservation. But sadly, a
third of these were in a poor or below-average condition.
Another noticeable result of the survey was that
almost every single historic farmhouse in the district had been altered or modernised in some way,
and consequently the historic character of many
old buildings had been lost through indiscriminate
alterations. In many cases, houses have been altered
to such a degree that only the thickness of internal
walls provides a clue as to the age of the original
As new materials have become available and
fashionable (with the added appeal of requiring less
maintenance), these have replaced the materials
originally used in the buildings' construction. The
result is often an incongruous juxtaposition of new
and old, with galvanised steel framed windows and
aluminium sliding doors being incorporated into
buildings that once relied on the symmetry and
careful proportioning of openings for visual delight. These old ladies have been stripped of their
original charm and plastered with a make-up
which does not flatter them.
In order to come up with possible solutions to
The farmhouse on
Groothoek, pictured
here, reflects the growing
architectural complexity
compared with the
houses of earlier pioneers
Almost every single
historic farmhouse in
the Cradock district has
been altered or
modernised, and a great
number are in a poor or
below-average condition,
like this decaying
farmhouse on Fairview
these conservation
problems, it was felt
that the causes of the
situation first had to be
clearly identified and a
questionnaire survey
was conducted in which
the large majority of the
farm -owners in the district were interviewed.
This was done with the
aim of identifying any
specific trends or attitudes which may be responsible for the neglect and abandonment
of the historic farm
buildings in the area.
Numerous concerns became evident, a few of
which will be outlined
On the positive side,
it was found that the
vast majority of farmers
interviewed are very
proud of the historic
farmhouses which they O!Vn, and they generally indicated a strong emotional attachment to the area.
Approximately 90 percent intend leaving their
farms to their offspring, thereby hopefully ensuring
the continued use of those buildings which are currently occupied.
On the other hand, a large number of these
farm-owners expressed feelings of political insecurity as regards their future on the land, and were
therefore hesitant to invest too much capital in the
maintenance of buildings which they may not
make use of in the future.
But quite clearly the biggest single factor responsible for the decay of the historic farmhouses
is that of economic stagnation in the district. As the
farmers move away from the area, their farms are
bought up by the larger, more established farmers,
who already own more than one farmhouse. They
have no need for extra accommodation, and the
buildings are then used as stores. In cases where the
dwellings are not used at all, it is not long before
they are occupied by unemployed vagrants, who
usually strip the buildings of all timberwork and
metal sheeting. The consequences of this are obvious - the shell of the house is just left to decay, or
the farmer chooses to demolish it.
At face value it would therefore seem as though
the farm owners do not realise the need for architectural conservation in their district, but the questionnaire survey disproved this. It became clearly
evident that most feel very strongly in favour of the
preservation of their heritage - in fact, about 97
percent of those farmers interviewed feel that the
conservation of these historic buildings is an urgent
necessity. However, either they lack the funds to do
so, or they have no incentive.
Being unable to find suitable tenants for their
buildings, farmers feel that their money can be
spent elsewhere, as tourism is largely
underdeveloped in the rural areas of the district.
This is possibly due to the fact that most of the
abandoned farmhouses are situated in very remote
areas, with no water, no power and poor access
routes, and a large capital input would be required
to make use of the buildings as guest houses, craft
centres, etc.
Another aspect worthy of consideration is the
fact that, although the farm owners themselves are
in favour of conserving the old farmhouse, only a
small sector of the overall population in the district
are aware of the cultural importance of these buildings. The majority of rural dwellers (not necessarily
farm owners) do not identify with the history attached to them, and are therefore relatively insensitive to any conservation efforts. It was found that in
those areas where farmers have encouraged their
farm labourers to make use of the abandoned
farmhouses for accommodation, these have invariably been damaged either by fire or neglect.
As regards the problem of insensitive alterations, there exists no current local legislation
which either monitors or has any control over the
aesthetic nature of alterations to the historic farmhouses. And it was also found that, although the
farmers appreciate their cultural and architectural
heritage, they are generally uneducated in terms of
the buildings which they have inherited. They are
not even aware of the intrusive nature of their
modernisations, and most have little or no knowledge in the sphere of architectural conservation. To
compound the problem, there is not one qualified
architect in the entire district who could possibly
render assistance in this regard.
It is therefore clear that the continued existence
of the the historic farmhouses in the C'radock district, as well as those in many other Karoo regions,
is being threatened by a large number of diverse
factors. It is also evident that this process of destruction is seen to be worsening as time goes by,
and a similar survey undertaken in a few years time
could reveal frightening statistics.
These buildings are obviously in need of special
and urgent attention, and care should be taken to
initiate action,which would be appropriate to the
area, the buildings and the folk who inhabit them.
It is the author's opinion that the historic farmhouses of the Karoo region cannot be preserved
solely through tourism (which has so often proven
to be the saviour of our architectural heritage) but
rather that any success in conserving these buildings be based on broad community involvement
and genuine concern, which can be fostered
through education rather then economic incentive
An intensive programme of education and
awareness should thus be embarked upon as a matter of urgency, one which should involve the entire
farming community. It is of the utmost importance
that conservation is not merely implemented for its
own sake, but benefit the community both
economically and culturally, while preserving a
quality of life and lifestyle so precious to the
Karoo. •
Vergelegen: a perfect blend
of past and present
When governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel established his residence in the Cape in 1700, he named it Vergelegen
(literally, "Far Away"). And with good reason: It was situated a full day's ride from Cape Town, which, at the close
of the 17th century, was little more than a refreshment station for the VOC ships en route to the Far East.
the foot of the Hottentots Holland mountains for his 400 morgen estate, is self-evident: It was, as indeed it still remains, one of the
loveliest of the Cape valleys.
Its scenic splendour has not diminished with
the passage of time - even though Vergelegen is
now little more than a 30 minute drive from Cape
Town. Today, majestic camphor trees (now national
monuments), the ruins of a mill on the banks of
the Laurens River, and the famous octagonal garden still bear testimony to the former gubernatorial
Vergelegen was purchased by Anglo American
Farms (Amfarms) in 1987. As a result of the considerable investment in the estate by Amfarms,
Vergelegen, with its beautifully restored house and
octagonal winery, is once again a fully functional
estate, commanding a presence at least as significant as it must have been in Van der Stel's time and
enticing some 50 000 visitors and tourists annually
to experience its splendour.
It is perhaps the mystery which has always surrounded this magnificent homestead at Vergelegen
which makes the house so fascinating. Described
during its history as alternately ostentatious or desecrated and dilapidated, the homestead.has undergone many changes since it was originally built by
Willem Adriaan van der Stel, the son of Governor
Simon van der Stel who founded the famous Groot
Constantia estate in the Cape.
Granted to Willem Adriaan by Deed of Grant,
signed by visiting Commissioner Valckenier on 1
February 1700, the estate an~ its buildings have
been a source of great interest since that time.
The younger Van der Stel was a man of divergent interests and besides building the beautiful
homestead, a corn mill and other subsidiary buildings, he transformed the uncultivated land into a
veritable paradise. He planted vines and, after six
years, had half a million vinestocks; he laid out
fruit orchards and orange groves; he planted camphors and oaks; he established eighteen cattle stations with 1 000 cattle and 1 800 sheep. He made
reservoirs, dug irrigation canals and controlled the
Laurens River.
In one of the earliest known descriptions of the
house, in 1705 the Reverend Francois Valentijn
commented " ... I viewed this lovely homestead,
around which was an eight-sided, ornamental, high
and thick wall against the wild beasts. I found the
gallery in the centre 80 feet long and 6 wide ... This
lovely and unusually pleasant gallery was very airy
and high, and on each side of it were 4 lovely
rooms, and close to them on each side another 4,
very neatly furnished, worthy to have been preserved forever because of their beauty and the great
amount spent on them ... "
Willem Adriaan was, however, in bitter dispute
with Adam Tas and other Free Burghers. Finally his
enemies triumphed and the directors of the Dutch
East India Company, in a letter dated 30 October
1706, ignominiously dismissed him and ordered
him to return to the Netherlands.
Whatever the verdict of history may be, in personal terms Willem Adriaan was a genius. His
knowledge as a botanist, forester and horticulturist,
the vision of his imagination and the scale on
which he planned, contributed greatly to the agricultural development of the Cape.
Compiled by
Wilma de Bruin
free-lance journalist,
editor of Resto rica
Sold and divided
Three years later, on the implicit instructions of the
Company, Vergelegen was sold and divided into
four separate farms. The "large dwelling house"
was ordered to be demolished. It seems unlikely
that the order for the demolition of the homestead
was fully complied with, although the fact that
much rubble is built into the walls of the old section of the house, is taken as evidence that a part, at
least, was knocked down. Guarding the front entrance of the homestead to this day are five magnificent camphor trees planted by Will em Adriaan these trees were declared a National Monument in
1942. An oak tree, presumably planted at the same
time as the camphor trees, also still graces the estate. It is thought to be the oldest surviving specimen in South Africa.
The property was to pass through several owners before Rear-Admiral Stravorinus visited the estate in 1774 when he described the dwelling house
as a handsome edifice, the front of which faced
east. This is yet another enigma in the changing
face ofVergelegen's homestead, as the current front
entrance is from the west
side where the magnificent camphor trees are
The Theunissen family who owned the estate
for more than a century
from 1798 to 1899 by
passing it from father to
son, ensured that the
Vergelegen depicted by
Van der Stel in the
Korte Deductie
molish walls outside the house, but he also removed the magnificent teak and yellow-wood
screen which divided the <voor'- and
Dorothea Fairbridge, author of several
books on the Cape, summed up the Kerr alterations like this: ((Down deep aisles of stately
trees you drive to staring iron gates- gates
painted white picked out with green; gates
that would be appropriate enough to a modern villa in a suburb of Birmingham, or a factory at Salt River, or a garden in Jeppestown:
they are new and spick-and-span and expen-
. "
From garden sculpture to
escutcheon plates- the
attention is magnificent
The west farade in dappled
vineyards flourished. In 1816 they built a new cellar
which now houses the library. During their family's
tenure the house had probably already acquired its
present front gable, although the first Theunissen is
credited with remoulding the end gables.
A period of decline
However, with its transference to Mr Samuel Kerr
in 1901 the estate and the homestead in particular,
entered a period of sad decline. While the extensive
Kerr family led a busy social and outdoor life and
Vergelegen became known for its parties and picnics, the modernisation which Samuel Kerr carried
out on the house came close to vandalisation. The
old front windows of 60 panes of glass set in teak
wood were replaced by plate glass and painted deal
The original teak door was removed and a
painted door installed and modern concrete steps
replaced the old stone ones. Not only did he de-
The first restoration
Vergelegen was to regain its former splendour
with the arrival of Lady Florence CFlorrie")
Phillips and her mining magnate husband, Sir
Lionel. A patron of the arts, a lady of great
style and impeccable taste she set about
restoring the old homestead which at that
stage was described as ((almost an uninhabitable ruin".
The untimely demise of her first architect,
Solomon, led to the appointment of Percy
Walgate, a protege of Sir Herbert Baker, to restore, refurbish and extend the homestead.
With his help, she tirelessly researched Cape
Dutch architecture before undertaking the
restoration ofVergelegen. No fewer than 195
sketches were produced by Wallgate between
November 1922 and September 1923.
The front door and windows altered by
Samuel Kerr were restored to the original and
the four main rooms opened up. To the annoyance of some of the older inhabitants of
Somerset West, Lady Phillips added two modern wings to the house: one accommodating
the bedrooms, and the other the service area.
These additions were in fact extremely carefully executed and blend in very harmoniously with the old part of the house. Little competition for the main H ends and fronts thus
occurs. The linking areas between the central
H and the wings were roofed with plastered
concrete slabs.
The gable on the east side of the house facing the octagonal garden had largely disintegrated and the present, rather ornate gable,
was copied from the old Pastorie in Paarl.
The original teak and yellow-wood screen
removed by Samuel Kerr was recovered from
the attic and carefully re-installed in its rightful place.
During the restoration, traces of the original octagonal wall were discovered and the
present wall rebuilt on the old foundations.
The old footbridge was replaced by a
structure wide enough to accommodate
motor traffic, roads were constructed and
dams built. Lady Phillips decided to remove
all the vineyards, which she replaced with
mixed agriculture.
Her attention to detail was daunting but
the results are still visible in the homestead
today. She brought to Vergelegen many of her
priceless works of art and magnificent furniture gathered over the years and previously
housed at Tylney Hall in Hampshire and Villa
Arcadia in Johannesburg. The interiors of the
house were a fine showplace for all these treasures.
In addition to the work done to the main
homestead, the old wine cellar, built in 1816,
was converted into a library to house Sir
Lionel's famous collection of books, while the
Bayeux tapestries were hung in the adjoining
To accommodate the constant stream of
visitors to Vergelegen, two outbuildings adjacent to the main homestead were converted
into guest cottages. Among the frequent visitors to Vergelegen those days, were General
and "ouma" Smuts, the Governor General, the
Earl of Athlone and his wife, Lady Alice. Lady
Phillips also received Edwina Lady Mountbatten during her visit to the Cape.
The Barlow years
Upon the death of Lady Phillips in 1940 the estate
passed once more into caring hands when in: early
1941 it was purchased by Mr Charles "Punch" Barlow. In the years prior to "Florrie's" death, the estate had begun to decline and the Barlows needed
to do a great deal of work to restore the gardens,
grounds and the homestead. Mrs Cynthia Barlow
undertook this task with the help of the gardener
Hanson, who was again persuaded to return to
Vergelegen and the garden became a showpiece
once more.
Few alterations were carried out to the house
and, as well as furnishing the house with many
pieces purchased from the Phillips sale, Mrs Barlow
added her own collection of art and silver.
The Barlows also resumed farming operations
at Vergelegen and began planting vines on a small
scale, the last of which were pulled out in 1962.
A dining room, warmly lit
by sunlight; below, the
octagon garden ambulatory
pergola before and after
redesign and restoration;
the East farade
After their prize Jersey herd was all but wiped out
by eating poisoned dairy meal, the Barlows concentrated on fruit farming.
During the royal tour of South Africa in 1947,
Peter Townsend told King George VI and Queen
Elizabeth of the "magically beautiful place" where
he rode every morning and they asked to be taken
to see it in private. They were so overcome by its
loveliness that Townsend recorded "Never did I
hear Their Majesties express such pleasure':
"Punch" Barlow's son, Tom, took over the running of the farm in 1966. He replaced the Jersey
herd with Frieslands, which provided milk for distribution in the Hottentots Holland area.
Amfarms and the latest restoration
The purchasing ofVergelegen by Amfarms in 1987
was welcomed by conservationists and environmentalists alike, as Amfarm's objective was, and still
is, to farm the estate and thus preserve this rural
jewel for posterity.
In 1988 the Cape Town architects Rennie and
Goddard were appointed to advise on redevelopment and restoration, in particular, of the core historic area and major buildings. Systematic measuring up of all the fabric was undertaken immediately
and dovetailed with a full cadastral survey. Extensive research and planning followed and restoration
and adaptation occurred mainly during 1991 and
The substantial and historically remarkable
1920's remodelling by Percy Walgate had survived
relatively unscathed with minor intrusive departures amidst the overgrowth, natural wear and tear
of seventy years and the marks of changing ownership.
During the restoration, archaeological findings
focussed on the Van der Stel records revealed most
intriguing and extensive subsurface remains of the
notoriously extravagant outbuildings beyond the
central house. The more apparent features of the
Arts and Crafts Walgate work on the latter strongly
indicated architectural conservation worthiness.
All the thatched roofs were systematically
stripped, repaired and redone with Albertinia reed.
Various loft spaces were given "brandsolder" fire
cutoff layers. Complete redecoration occurred
throughout with colour and finish consistent with
findings on site or of the period.
Paint scrapes showed that the interior of the
main house had been replastered in the 1920's. Significant traces of old finishes were, however, located
and recorded for the time being as their extent did
not appear to warrant exposure.
Services were extensively reviewed or reinstated
including electrical, fire detection, fire prevention,
security and communication systems and major
water and power mains.
Much attention was given to the Walgate cottage
work and to the wings flanking the house. The
northern bedroom wing, which already had a
boarded but little used attic, was re-planned to provide well appointed guest suites with bathrooms reusing the period fixtures retrieved on site.
Vergelegen camphor, teak, yellow-wood, klompie bricks, Delft tiles, brass fittings, ironmongery,
old baths and basins were typically scheduled and
incorporated afresh. The interior as a whole was
carefully refurnished and refitted similarly.
Illustrious guests
The guest suites are used to continue the tradition
at Vergelegen over its long history of providing hospitality for some of the Cape's most illustrious visitors, including Baron Eric de Rothschild of Chateau
Lafite, Prince Bernard of the Netherlands, Sir Edmund Hillary, Lord Sainsbury and President Nelson Mandela, who was most interested in the historic camphor trees and requested that he be
photographed next to one of the trees.
On the southern side modernised kitchen
spaces and caretaker accommodation were integrated to cater for new usage. The nearby chauffeur's
and garden cottages were also renovated similarly
for present day needs and the old Phillip's cellar library gained modest toilets and a kitchenette. The
relatively recent stable complex was also liberally
extended to provide vitally necessary visitor reception spaces for the opening of the estate to the general public.
The setting was enhanced by the removal on the
west of a vast modern concrete walled enclosure
which competed with the octagonal garden. Several
elderly lengths of the latter were notched and jacked
upright before plastering.
The octagon also received a decorative wrought
iron pergola and various railings and entry doors
and gates. Numerous other touches and adjustments to features occurred.
Much of the conservation work done, remainscamouflaged beneath the surface being judiciously
introduced to conform and rejuvenate.
To blend into the landscape ofVergelegen and
to link it to the homestead garden, architects Associes of Paris designed the winery on a principally
octagonal plan. Typical Cape features like a white
exterior, farmyard walls, small-paned windows and
doors of dark wood, are carefully woven into the
classically based international design.
The impressive roof garden provides a spectacular 360 degree view of False Bay, Table Mountain,
Cape Town, Helderberg and Hottentots Holland
As far as the eye can see, Vergelegen Estate gives
tremendous pleasure: its historic camphor trees and
octagonal garden, the stately homestead, and the
fertile valley where the fruit trees, vegetables and
fine grape vines grow. The added ingredient is the
20th century technological expertise which harnesses the land and produces exceptional crops. The
heritage remains inexorably rooted in the estate.
Vergelegen Estate has developed a unique culture during its long history. It is embodied in physical properties, in its people and in the more aesthetic traditions handed down over the last three
hundred years. Amfarms has taken cognizance of
all these fine qualities in its programme for the future ofVergelegen.
It is indeed a rare place where the visitor can
begin a progressive discovery into a world that harmonizes the past and present, where an air of
dreaminess pervades, and where synergy between
man and his bountiful environment is accomplished. •
Is there a future for our past?
One of the more encouraging consequences of the twentieth century obsession with "progress" is a growing concern
about our past: with what we have come to look upon as our heritage. As the term "heritage" is broad enough to
encompass the complete legacy of past culture, however, it is confined here to those elements of the physical
environment- both natural and man-made- that are deserving our special attention.
comprehensive planning- planning
which takes proper account of conservation- has already been successfully argued and that
good progress has been reported in several towns
and cities. Inevitably, though, there are differences
in interpretation and implementation, particularly
when pressure for conservation threatens to block
much-needed new development. But the lesson is
at last being learnt that conflict can to a large extent
be averted by planning which incorporates both
conservation and new development in a satisfactory balance, to the benefit of all concerned.
The initial and urgent requirement for the planning model of the future is a record of our past- a
listing of places, precincts and individual buildings
of importance. Until this is done, followed by cataloguing in accordance with established criteria, we
have no firm basis upon which decisions can be
made. The inventory should be nation-wide and
the range of items it includes, should be subject to
very careful deliberation for, in doing so, we are
taking stock of a heritage that will need to have
meaning to and evoke a response from all South
Africans. It is encouraging that, in the absence of a
survey of the whole country, some cities have
begun listing on their own initiative, for each of
these programmes helps contribute to a growing
body of invaluable information.
Creative Strategies
Together with this data comes the need for creative
strategies for the management and implementation
of conservation. Concern for the preservation of
fine old buildings was, until quite recently, confined to small groups with an interest in antiquity.
Today there is a growing awareness of the value of
judicious conservation both in a cultural and fiscal
sense, and most responsible public authorities are
committed to policies of development which take
proper account of the historically significant buildings and areas under their control.
For those who remain unconvinced by the educational, cultural and aesthetic arguments, the financial benefits of conservation are usually
sufficient to tip the scales. The growth of tourism as
a source of revenue is, increasingly, affecting the
planning of cities and, in a limited market, those
cities which succeed in providing the major tourist
drawcards, are those that benefit most. We do not
need travel consultants to tell us about the attraction of historic precincts, and those of us who travel will know where the greatest concentration of
visitors occurs.
If people are becoming more conservation conRESTORICA
scious and if, despite notable lapses, South Africa is
taking greater care of it heritage, is there really any
cause for concern about the future?
The answer to this depends of course on what kind
of future we can expect. Also, speculation on that
subject requires strong nerves and a vivid imagination. Perhaps we should examine the conservation
of our heritage in the context of the two simplistic
options postulated by analysts of the South African
political scene: the one characterised by growing
social unrest fuelled by disputes surrounding employment, housing and welfare, and resulting in
conflict which inhibits investment and tourism; the
other a more orderly and controlled evolution towards a liberal democracy within an expanding free
market economy.
The first scenario is analogous with the changes
we have witnessed elsewhere on this continent and
that prognosis is not encouraging. Post-independence or internecine conflicts are frequently characterised by upheavals which severely affect agricultural and industrial production processes, putting
great strain on the economic stability of nations.
Hand in hand with this decline goes the neglect of
the heritage which becomes an unaffordable luxury.
There are, also, more sudden and dramatic ways
in which a heritage can disappear. Conflict, particularly urban conflict, is devastating and the scars of
street -combat fighting never heal. Then too a tragic
recent case has been the systematic destruction of
magnificent Dubrovnik by bombing.
Revel Fox
Cape Town architect
In major shifts of power, symbols of the former
regime are seen as fair game, whether they be the
decapitated marbles of classical Greece, the erasure
of the symbols of Imperial rule here and elsewhere,
or the more recent removal of a statue in Bloemfontein.
With the passing of time reason prevails, and
the surviving legacies of the former rulers are annexed into the collective culture of the new order.
Politically acceptable uses are found for the monuments of past oppression and the tourists of the
world come to pay homage. Notable examples are
the Emperor's palace in Beijing, now a monument
to the workers who laboured on its construction,
and the priceless treasures of the Hermitage that
have attracted so many thousands of visitors from
the west.
This is the lesson of history. The important fact
remains that rapid or violent political change does
are found for
monuments of past
oppression and the
tourists of the world
come to pay homage. A
notable example is the
Emperor's palace in
Beijing, now a
monument to the
workers who laboured
on its construction ...
not, on balance, favour the conditions necessary for
cultural preservation. The situation is exacerbated
where the new society battles for economic survival: land reforms are often insensitive to the appeals of ecologists, while concern with the relics of
people long dead diminishes when the living have
no bread.
In the face of this scenario, it is important that we
in South Africa apply wisdom and foresight to
avert that grim prospect of ruin and decay. And so,
of course, the aim of everyone concerned with conservation should be to encourage a process of evolutionary change leading towards a vigorously expanding economy- for it is this option that will
give our heritage its best chance.
It is not sufficient, however, to speak of conservation without defining our parameters: what in
our society needs to be conserved and of what real
value will it be to the South Africans of the future?
Conservation is subjective. We conserve things
we consider to be rare, old, of special quality or
simply those which we associate with important
people or events. Naturally enough, items singled
out for special treatment are those perceived as significant in the opinion of those in authority and
their advisors. If we are to address ourselves honestly to the question of a multicultural heritage,
however, we all have to broaden our horizons.
Where political rights are truly representative, our
heritage must be representative too. Only with a
universally accommodating 'cultural package' can
we hope to achieve mutual respect for the relics of
the past. Only a truly representative conservation
programme can reflect our newly defined national
Many CuHures
It would be misleading to suggest that in the past
our monuments and memorials have entirely failed
to include the many cultures that our nation comprises. Cape Muslims have enriched our society
and this legacy has been studied and recorded; their
sacred places have been protected and their urban
settlements documented and restored. A fine tradition of Hindu temples in South Africa has been
carefully measured and recorded and many of them
are now protected buildings. The rock paintings of
the San Bushmen, although inadequately protected, have been systematically measured and
Much pioneering work has been done on
recording the ephemeral architecture and decoration of many rural black people, and their vernacular building is recognized as a valued and important part of our architectural heritage.
The above examples indicate that some attention has been given to broadening the base of our
recorded heritage. Past efforts can in no way, however, be seen as reflecting adequately the concerns
of all South Africans. To achieve true cultural representation, we know that our history books will
have to be rewritten. People, places and events with
special significance to the different groups in our
society will have to be identified and there will be a
need for a new category of monuments to record
the memories of a different past. Only then will we
all have the benefit of a shared culture- a culture
consisting of the harmonious intermingling of all
its parts. As President Mandela puts it: South
Africans are now "one nation, many cultures':
There can be no doubt that it is in our cities that
the problems will be most acute and strategies to
resolve them most important. They are also the
places which have traditionally received the immigration of the rural poor who, in time, have become urbanised and acculturised.
Where immigration is slow, the city absorbs the
increase and the process continues without stress. If
growth is too rapid, the consequences may be similar to those which have been observed in places like
Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Calcutta or Lagos. In a city
under great pressure, priorities change to crisis
management and basic survival. It is in such a society that the preservation of important landmarks
becomes impossible and they gradually disappear.
Fortunately, our urban areas are in a far
stronger position than many of the impoverished
and overrun examples in North Africa, Asia and
South America and, more importantly, we do still
have the time to avert the chaos that has overtaken
many other urban environments. We do have the
skills and the capability to plan our cities in such a
way as to accommodate rapid growth without
turning them into massive urban slums.
A question uppermost in conservation-minded
circles, is how cities balance the challenges of
growth and change with the need to conserve the
urban environment. The simple answer is by the
generation of income. If the growing numbers of
semi-skilled and unskilled persons converging on
cities cannot somehow be employed, the problem
becomes more acute. If on the other hand, the machinery of reconstruction and development moves
smoothly into gear in massive labour intensive programmes, many will find a means of survival.
Without the underpinning of viable economic
activity, no city can sustain itself; but if development occurs and if its implementation is astutely
managed, many cities will prosper.
Ground Rules
In the making of the new cities or parts of cities
there are some important ground rules. The first is
that most of the guidelines and conventions that
To be • • • or not to be
While the course for a future arts and cultural policy in a democratic South Africa is presently being debated and
plotted by interested parties, stakeholders and task groups, Resto rica approached a number of South Africans to give
their personal views of heritage conservation in a democratic South Africa.
Sej Motau
Khulu Sibiya
"The concept that man is in a perpetual state
of becoming, seems to enjoy general acceptability.
This implies a recognition of the dynamism and
continuous development of the species. This also
acknowledges that man has a history and a heritage
from whence he evolves.
One can thus conclude that we are the sum total
of our history and heritage. Included in this heritage, are our cultural artefacts such as our architecture and sculptures. In the same way that one cannot wish one's history away, South Africa needs to
recognize this fact in addressing the issue of what is
to become of these artefacts. Living in the past is
not the way to go.
In present-day democratic South Africa, the underlying principles should be sensitivity and tolerance sustained by reconciliation and the ideal to
forge a new nation. Once these principles are internalised, the way forward becomes markedly clearer.
Thus it becomes possible for us - as a nation to understand and accept that we cannot continue
to flaunt architectural structures that militate
against the attainment of our ideal of building our
new nation. We therefore have to come up with creative ways of preserving such artefacts.
One viable way is to pursue the practice of creating 'living monuments'. For instance, statues that
may be deemed offensive by sections of our people,
should be removed from 'public' places and located
in these 'living monuments' as opposed to (dead)
museums, where they can be on display for those
who wish to view them.
In this way, South Africa will be able to retain all
of its heritage intact for the edification of future
generations. The natural synergies between tourism
and conservation will find a place to grow and we
might even make money while we are at it.
A last word: I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would dedicate a slab of stone or
marble as a monument to a language or to women!
The simple fact is that every person who speaks that
language is a 'living' monument to that tongue and
every woman who walks this planet, is a living
monument to womanhood.
Let us, please, be sensible about these things."
Riah Phiyega
''As a person who has travelled the width and
breadth of the world extensively, I have often
been fascinated by countries which have maintained and restored their historical heritage.
Go to France and there is the former King's residence (Marseilles), the Tale of Two Cities, etc.
Britain boasts, among other places, the residences
of George Bernard Shaw and William Shakespeare,
Buckingham Palace and the Church of England.
In Germany, Adolf Hitler's history is well documented, while the Berlin Wall, the reminder of the
Second World War, is there for everybody to see.
In South Africa, we most certainly need to
maintain and restore our history.
Robben Island indeed must be kept and restored as a stark reminder of what had happened to
the leaders of this country in their quest for freedom and liberation.
Nelson Mandela's house in Soweto could be
turned into a tourist attraction. It is from this fourroomed house that a great leader dreamed, planned
and plotted the downfall of the powerful regime of
the Afrikaner National Party.
The Shaka Kraal, birthplace and all that contributed to the strong Zulu warriors, have to be
maintained and restored- a tourist's dream!'
"Nation building and reconciliation are some
of the primary ideals upheld by a government of
National Unity. It is in this spirit that I believe one
should approach the matter of conserving national
symbols and heritage.
National symbols are a primary source of national identity. It is through such symbols that
countries are able to display their identity and
pride. In South Africa we find ourselves in a very
unfortunate situation where nationalism was partially defined. As a nation we could not commonly
identify with various national and cultural symbols.
We therefore had an "us" and "theirs" approach to
the issue.
In nation building we all strive to establish a
sense of oneness. A primary building block for nation building is thus the need to create room for all
of us in a new South Africa. A mutual accommodating process should therefore be allowed to
evolve. Establishing unity of purpose is paramount.
It is essential to engage in an exercise of reviewing our national symbols - in order to accommodate a proper reflection of the history of our free
• Some of the statues should be removed in order
to make room for other symbols in the process.
• In some situations, statues and symbols should
remain, in this regard, additional new symbols
should be added.
• New areas should be identified for the creation
of new symbols.
• Demeaning and offensive symbols should be removed from public places to private museums for
preservation of history.
• Display symbols of a free South Africa should be
put up to facilitate nation building.
• Functional names vs political names for places
should be considered.
• Correct African spelling for names eg. Moratele
not Moreleta Park, Tshwenispoort not Chyeniespoort, Mafikeng not Mafekeng.
• Offensive names and symbols should go - eg.
Kafferrivier, etc.
• Addressing people as "witch doctors" rather
than traditional healers.
• Accommodating indigenous and original
names; Gauteng (Johannesburg); Tswhane (Pretoria), Polokwane (Pietersburg).
• Surely lobola should stay and be extended to
other cultures if possible provided that it is not
• We need to have a good reflection of South
Africa's comprehensive history.
I suggest that for the many pictures in parliament offices the establishment of a parliamentary
museum be considered where pictures of all exleaders could be hanged.
• Pictures of the current State President should be
openly put up in Parliament.
• There should be proper reflection of history, including that of deliberately forgotten African heroes.
• Chiefs should be restored to their proper status
and be properly addressed".
((The process of growth for a nation could
not be fully realised without recognizing
its cultural foundation. Cultural heritage is inextricably connected with the shaping of a nation's direction, the structuring of character of a society
and, above all, the bonding of the people.
The diversity of cultures in South Africa, makes
it possible for us to tap into that rich heritage which
has been brought about by foreign influences and
which is now part of the South African experience.
When travelling to countries like Italy, one is
fascinated by the architectural structures of St.
Peter's basilica, the fishing villages of Sorrento and
the ancient buildings of Assissi. These structures
create the character of the country and its people.
Likewise one is fascinated by the beautiful villages of Devon, in parts of Bristol, and old buildings like Westminster Abbey in London. The same
applies when you visit the United States and see the
Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, architectural structures in New England as well as Indian reserves in Arizona- all unique structures in
their own right.
In South Africa we also need to preserve the
character of what the South African nation is all
about. We have such a rich mixture - from Venda,
Sotho, Zulu, to the cultures from India and Portugal, brought to the country by these communities,
and the beautiful Cape-Dutch homesteads in the
Cape. We need to look at all these structures -you
cannot say we will only consider this one and leave
out the other. Let us appreciate the cultural heritage
the other people have brought.
Schools should teach more about the South
African history and the need for the preservation of
heritage, because it is an inspiration, even to young
people. The preservation of architectural structures
needs to be part of our history and needs to be ineluded in the school curriculum.
Similarly, symbols and statues are part of history. Whether it was painful history or not. What is
history is history. It is important for future generations to know exactly what happened. Calling for
the destruction ofVerwoerd's statue, is not the way
to go. At that time, he thought what he did was the
right thing to do. When people focus on that part
of history, they will understand how these things
came about, that it was a mistake. Why try and put
something under the carpet or destroy it? They will
not destroy it. Because, if you do that, someone will
come back at some point and commit the same
Welcome Msomi
((I feel strongly about monuments. They are a
symbol of pride and unification for a nation from Washington DC with its statue of George
Washington, to the Soviet Union with Stalin's
statue. Those are symbols that unified the Americans and people of the Soviet Union respectively. In
New York, visitors are taken to the Statue of Liberty
with pride, to see this woman professing that this is
the land of freedom. This is what we need to maintain our history as well.
Symbols in South Africa, unfortunately, were
symbols of oppression. The majority of the people
tend to identify them as such. Whether we should
change them or not, remains the question. All I can
say, is that we need to rekindle the pride in a new
South Africa of which all South Africans, especially
the majority, should feel a part.
From symbols and monuments children learn
about our wisdom as well as our stupidity. So, we
have to figure out which symbols we want to keep
to tell our children: this is your pride, this is your
wisdom, the wisdom your parents were involved in,
versus symbols of stupidity that will continue to
make our children fight with each other the way we
are fighting with each other right now.
Symbols and monuments make us dream of a
nation we want the world to be proud of. I'm talking in terms of things like flags and national anthems. Look at the Americans when they sing their
national anthem with that flag flying! That Star
Spangled Banner is sung by all- from the jazz
singers who jazz it up, to the church choir which
will sing it with piety; from the youngest child to
the oldest grandfather. That is what I'm looking
forward to seeing in South Africa- to see the national anthems sung in that way.
I was listening to the Imilonji Kanti Choir of
Soweto singing Die Stem. I never liked the national
anthem until I heard them singing it. It was most
beautiful. So, if we can start having the black choirs
singing the Afrikaner-songs, and the Afrikaner
singing the Zulu, Xhosa and Sotho songs - as many
are already doing, we will start appreciating the diversity as opposed to us condemning our diversity.
I come from a family of Afrikaners, Shangaans
and Tswanas. My mother was classified a Cape
Coloured, so she sings Die Stem witlt passion, but I
never liked the way she sang it. Similarly, she did
not like the way in which we sang Nkosi Sikelel'
iAfrika. But now you can see the good in both.
Felicia Mabuza-Suttle
That's what I would like to see South Africa do.
Martin Luther King's humble home in Atlanta is
a tourist attraction - his clothes and the Bible he
held the day he was killed, are there to be seen and
appreciated. We go there and look at them with
pride. You have little black children dreaming of becoming Martin Luther Kings. Likewise, Mandela's
home in Soweto could not only become a tourist
centre, but also a source of inspiration for the
Buildings like the Parliament buildings and
Union buildings are so beautiful, that I would be
the last to say let's tear them down. But let us,
somehow, instill a new pride in them. A new pride
is already taking place. When you watch television
and see a government of national unity sitting
there, that already helps to eradicate the past.
We need to capitalize on that and use it in our
renaming and rekindling of pride.
As I say, I would like us to remove symbols of
the past that expose our stupidity. I just want to see
a nation which our children are ultimately going to
be proud of."
Hannes Meiring
((As ek 'n voorkeurlys moes opstel van wat
ek in Suid-Afrika die graagste bewaar sou
wou sien, dan sou ek sander huiwering al die oorblywende Karoodorpies bo-aan die lys plaas.
Plekkies wat as gevolg van .'n gebrek aan ontwikkeling min of meer nog behoue gebly het en iets van
daardie vervloe, tydlose en unieke Karoodorp-ambience adem ...
Plekke soos Aberdeen, Murraysburg, Middelburg, Richmond, Hanover, Colesberg, Fraserburg,
Sutherland, Loxton, Carnarvon, Williston, Vosburg,
Victoria-Wes en talle ander - het geweldige toerisme-potensiaal: net soveel soos beroemde Griekse en
Spaanse dorpies. Maar dan moet verdere verwoesting NOU gestaak word.
Graaff- Reinet en Cradock het reeds plaaslik vir
ons gewys hoe dit gedoen word! In die Nuwe SuidAfrika moet daar 'n houding wees van 'give and
take', soos oom Paul en Kerkplein 'n absolute eenheid vorm met die wonderlike integrasie van
pragtige geskiedkundige geboue en witstinkhoutbome wat elke somer nog 'n bietjie mooier en grater vertoon. Hulle word daardeur 'n ononderhandelbare gegewe. Die Strijdomkop (op Strijdomplein
- tussen Prinsloo-, Vander Walt-, Pretorius- en
Kerkstraat) kan egter na my mening gerus na 'n
lowerryke hoekie in die Burgerspark (tussen Jacob
Mare-, Vander Walt-, Andriesstraat en Burgersparklaan) verskuif word.
Die swak nagebootste Oscar Niemeyr-Skulp (op
Strijdomplein) kan dalk net die ideale akoestiese
skerm bied vir 'n lekker lawaaierige 'African jazz
band', wat dag en nag saam met Danie de Jager se
Perdefontein en Lawaaiwater die kruheid van die
vorige Strijdomplein vervang as 'African Square' ons is mos almal Afrikaners in die Nuwe SA!"
dikwels dat mense kultuur vanuit 'n ander oogpunt
definieer. Hulle aanskou of sien dit wat nie kultuur
is nie, as kultuur en aanvaar dit as eie aan hulle,
maar vergeet dat ons in 'n gemengde samelewing
leef en basies dieselfde dinge deel.
In enige organisasie heers 'n bepaalde kultuur.
Ten einde suksesvol te wees, is daar drie
• die kultuur moet eiesoortig wees,
• dit moet waardevol wees,
• dit moet nie gedupliseer kan word nie.
Dit is net daar waar ons die fout gaan maak in
die Nuwe Suid-Afrika- om kultuur te dupliseer.
Wat ons reeds in Suid-Afrika het, is seldsaam en
waardevol. Suid-Afrika beskik oor verskillende kultuurgroepe, dus kan ons nie in alle eerlikheid se ons
het 'n kultuur van ons eie nie.
Suid-Afrika is so 'n mooi land metal sy manumente. As ons dit alles moet verwyder en dit met
ander moet vervang, sal die land net nie meer dieselfde wees nie. Jy sal altyd onthou Verwoerd se
beeld het tog daar gestaan. Om sy beeld te verwyder, sal jou nie laat vergeet dat apartheid bestaan
het nie. Hoekom kan ons nie vergeet en vergewe
nie? Goed, apartheid het baie trane gebring, maar
vandag kan 'n mens daaroor lag. Vra jouself af of
apartheid regtig nodig was. Swart en wit kon nie
meng nie, maar vandag is ons gemeng. Dit is dinge
waaroor ons vandag kan lag, dit is ons geskiedenis
waaroor net Suid-Afrikaners met be grip kan praat.
Daar is so baie dinge nodig in die land. Hoekom
wil ons geld mors om beelde en plekname te verander? Moet ons nie Hewer daardie geld gebruik om
mense se lewenstandaarde te verhoog nie? As ek
eerlik moet wees, sou ek se los die land soos dit is
met Kafferboomstraat en al. My klein- en
Lorraine Hendriks
((Kultuur is idees, dit wil se, gedeelde idees.
Kultuur is nie staties nie, maar dinamies. Dit
kan nie afgebaken word nie, maar is onderworpe
aan verandering. In Suid-Afrika is die probleem
agterkleinkinders moet hierdi, dinge kan sien as ek
vir hulle van die geskiedenis v tel.
Aangesien dit nou 'n Nuw, Suid-Afrika is, het
daar outomaties 'n nuwe kultl r ontstaan. Maar as
ons die ander groep se kultum Nil verwyder, en ons
eie kultuur willaat ontstaan, daar weer net
een kultuur wees. As ons se ons is nou een nasie,
laat die wereld sien ons is een nasie.
Sit vir my oom F.W. de Klerk en Ra Nelson
Mandela se beelde langs mekaar. Dan het ons 'n
Suid-Afrikaanse kultuur wat jy net in Afrika sal
vind. Daar sal altyd 'black and white' wees. SuidAfrikaners, ons het almal seergekry. Om Suid-Afrika 'n beter land te maak, lag deur jou trane. Sien
die mooi raak in wat gebeur het, in die verlede. Ons
is almal maar net mense met foute ... "
"Die geskiedenis van 'n land en sy
mense, die vreudges en pyn van daardie
lande, sy hoogtes en dieptes, kan nooit net in woorde en in boeke vertel word nie. Dis 'n verhaal wat
veral vertel word deur dit wat ons sigbaar nalaat;
deur die spore wat ons bewaar; deur die talle simbole wat ons daar stel; deur dit wat ons uitsonder
en spesiale aandag gee.
Die dinge is gesamentlik die tekenskrif van 'n
land en sy mense. En van die tekenskrif kan daar
afgelei word wie en wat 'n land en sy mense is. Wat
ons alles bewaar, is eintlik 'n verhaal aangaande .'n
land en sy mense. Dit vertel 'n storie van daardie
land en sy mense.
Beteken dit nou dat alles en nog wat bewaar
moet word? Dit sal onsinnig wees. Persoonlik hou
ek van die woord 'bewaring'. Want dit se vir my dat
ek moet weet watter soort waarde ek aan dinge
moet heg wanneer ek hulle wil bewaar. En hierdie
waarde kan kultuurhistories wees. Dit kan ook
polities en ideologies wees. Dit kan esteties of eties
wees. Dit kan selfs kombinasies wees. En omdat bewaring met waardes verband hou, moet mense ook
vir bewaring opgevoed word. Dit moet nie aan toevallighede oorgelaat word nie.
Selfhet ek weinig erg aan bewaringswaardes wat
bloot polities en ideologies gei:nspireer is. Ek sal
byvoorbeeld nie my tyd en energie vermors om
standbeelde van politici, soos wat hulle vasgemessel
staan op plekke wat deur bewonderaars gekies is, te
bewaar nie. Wat my betref, kan hulle verwyder
word - na minder opsigtelike plekke of 'tuine van
herinnering'. Laasgenoemde het wel die lastigheid
dat dit in bedevaartsplekke vir klein politieke sektes
kan ontaard.
Ek sal ook nie veg vir die behoud van politici se
name op geboue of langs strate nie. Name is nie
noodwendig of vir altyd kernelemente in die verhaal van 'n land en sy mense nie. Daar word immers voortdurend aan die verhaal geskryf- en
gei'nterpreteer. Daarom kan name selfs kom en
Oor kultuurhistoriese geboue het ek 'n passie.
Dis 'n tekenskryf wat geen beskaafde land kan ontbeer nie. En as ek aan Genadedal, Prins Albert en
dele van Montagu dink, dan wil ek selfs dorpies vir
bewaring uitsonder. Ek treur oor Distrik Ses - en
nie hoofsaaklik om politieke redes nie. Die kultuurhistoriese katastrofe wat hom daar afgespeel het, le
nog sigbaar soos 'n bloeiende wond na al die jare.
Tog het daar ook iets ander gebeur. Distrik Ses het
as tema in ons literatuur, in liedjies en in toneelspel
bewaar gebly. Die mens se vermoe om nuwe spore
te trap, moet nooit misken word nie.
Ek wil ook alle inheemse borne en bosse bewaar.
Hulle is die 'asem' van 'n land en sy mense.
Trouens, ek raak rebels as ek sien mense kap inheemse borne af- al is dit vir 'n brug, pad of dorpsgebied. Hoe mense sonder borne kan lewe -van
dorpsgebied tot plakkerskamp - is iets wat ek nie
kan verstaan nie.
Wat ek dus graag wil bewaar, is 'n bewaringsbewustheid- en die soort waardes wat dit
Willie Esterhuyse
Ruda Landman
Dit is belangrik om te weet waar jy vandaan
om, waar jou wortels le. Wanneer ek voor
die Parlementsgeboue, die monument by Bloedrivier, met sy laer waens, of die Vrouemonument
staan, het dit geweldige emosionele trefkrag. Dit is
goed, veral vir kinders, om te sien en te weet waar
en hoe dit in die geskiedenis inpas.
In 'n demokratiese Suid-Afrika- 'n land met elf
amptelike tale en 'n verskeidenheid van kulturesal almal, veral die Afrikaner, hulle egter volgens die
Joodse patroon moet instem: hulle vier geleenthede
soos Rosh Hashana pligsgetrou, maar sonder om
dit op enigiemand af te dwing. 'n Dag soos Geloftedag kan nie deur almal dieselfde ervaar word nie,
kan nie op mense afgedwing word nie.
Ten opsigte van kultuur en erfenis-bewaring,
moet elkeen selfbesluit wat vir hom saak maak en
daarvolgens optree. Met ander woorde, wees j6u
streep in die reenboog.
Ons Afrikaners sal diep moet dink oor die
apartheidsera, en te midde van soveel wat verkeerd
was, dit wat in Paul Kruger se woorde 'goed en edel'
was, uithaal om daarop ons toekoms te bou. Mense
soos N.P. van Wyk Louw, Anton Rupert en Laurens
van der Post is tog ook deel van daardie donker tyd.
Dit wat die Afrikaner betref. Maar ons is ook
deel van 'n groter geheel. Wanneer die eerste monument vir Nelson Mandela opgerig word, sal ek my
hoed afhaal. Ek is ongelooflik trots daarop dat ek
deel is van die land waarvan hy die leier is. Ons
moet nie toelaat dat simbole ons skei nie. Wees jou
kleur in die reenboog - maar bly deel van die reenboo g."
Petra Pieterse
Essop ]alalpor
"Die eerste en belangrikste ding wat ek wil
bewaar, is my vel. Geboue pla my niks.
Dit gaan immers tog altyd oor wat binne aangaan ...
Van die goed (geboue) is buitendien lelik. Ons
stede is nie mooi beplan nie. Strijdom se beelddaardie vieslike beeld met die koepel oor - is die lelikste ding in Pretoria. Daar kan hulle gerus 'n
'drive-in' of'n parkeergarage inrig. Of'n boom
Die enigste gebou wat vir my mooi is, is die
Spookhuis (die pragtig gerestoureerde Erasmuskasteel teen Erasmusrand). Ek sal graag daar woon. Ek
hou van die styl- dit lyk .soos iets uit Walt Disney."
Oor Kerkplein en sy geboue kan ek niks se nie:
ek weet glad nie hoe dit daar lyk nie ... ek was nog
altyd te bang om soontoe te gaan.
As ek aan die res van die land dink, is plekke
soos Kaapstad en Stellenbosch darem ook mooi.
Veral die wit geboue ... met die borne.
'n Gebou moet darem iets in jou aanwakker- 'n
'mood create'.
Gewoonlik as ek iewers in 'n stad rondloop, kyk
ek net na die 'boutiques'. Daar is te veel mense wat
oor geboue 'worry', sonder dat ek my ook nog daaroor kwel.
Ek worry net oor die plooie om my oe ... "
"Net soos dit vir die individuele psige
ongesond is om onverkwiklike kennis te onderdruk, s6 kan 'n nasionale psige ook benadeel
word deur ontkenning van die negatiewe in die
verlede. Die ideaal is erkenning, aanvaarding, versoening. En hoewel geen morele, redelike mens
vandag meer blanke kultuurhistoriese simbole tot
aanstoot sal willaat pryk nie, kan dit insgelyks onverstandig wees om Suid-Afrika nou uiterlik voor
die voet te pro beer kuis van alles wat ons dalk aan
ons apartheidsverlede kan herinner. (Dit laat my
onwillekeurig ook dink, terloops, aan die oneerlikheid wat 'n paar jaar gelede mode was in die
Afrikaanse letterkunde, toe tekste links en regs in
heruitgawes gekuis is van histories aanstootlike terminologie.)
Die bewaring van kultuurhistoriese geboue verdien ons voile steun, nie net omdat ons almal 'n
menslike verpligting het om estetiese skatte van
welke oorsprong ook al as sodanig te respekteer nie,
maar ook omdat sulke geboue lewende ruimtes verteenwoordig met die potensiaal vir nasionale trans-
formasie - soos reeds met die Uniegebou gebeur
het tydens die presidentsinhuldiging. Die klem is
immers nou op 'n nuwe definisie van die begrip
Maar in Suid-Afrika is verreweg die meeste van
ons standbeelde en monumente myns insiens esteties (ook) aanstootlik, en hulle staan nou eenmaal
vir veel enger afgebakende sentimente; sentimente
wat dikwels lyk op heilige koeie en goue kalfies.
Hiermee kan geen nasie magtig eendragtig word
nie, en ons sal 'n skeppende oplossing en heenkome
vir hulle moet vind: 'n heenkome uit die gevoelige
openbare oog, maar sonder om die historiese (en
daarom tog nie waardelose nie) gebeentes in die
sloot op te stoot. Trap op sy kop, dan is hy dood ... ?
Nee, s6 eenvoudig is dit nie.
Miskien is een les in hierdie huidige kultuurhistoriese dilemma dat ons beter sal besin v66r ons
so ywerig monumente oprig.
En, veral, dat ons nooit ooit weer 'n monument
vir 'n taal sal bou nie."
"Dit is opspraakwekkend om te merk watter
geboue as bewarenswaardig beskou word en
watter nie.
Dit hang grootliks af vir watter gemeenskap of
kulturele groep 'n spesifieke gebou 'bewaringswaarde' inhou.
'n Paar plaaslike voorbeelde (in en om Pretoria)
sal my bewering staaf:
Twee skole, naamlik die Pretoria Indian Boys'
Primary School en die Pretoria Indian High School
tussen Lorentz- en Von Wiellichstraat, is gesloop
ten spyte van sterk optogte deur instansies, leiers en
individue. Nieteenstaande alle pogings om dit te
keer, is die geboue skelmpies gesloop en is 'n vulstasie ewe skelmpies opgerig.
'n Ander voorbeeld is die Mariaman-tempel wat
weens swak beheer oor konstruksies en korrupsie in
die gebied nou feitlik heeltemal onsigbaar is.
Die Moskee in Mogulstraat is 'n verdere voorbeeld, waar toiletgeboue en latrines net mooi
oorkant die Moskee opgerig is.
Die laasgenoemde voorbeeld is 'n klassieke
voorbeeld van die onverdraagsaamheid van sommige Christene jeens ander gelowiges en veral
teenoor Islam.
Kyk ook na die paaie-stelsel in die stad: hoe ingenieurs die Staatsmodelskool omseil het sodat die
skoolgeboue bewaar kan bly, omdat ene Winston
Churchill daar gevange gehou is! (Lees gerus die
stukkie geskiedenis oor die jong verslaggewer in die
Encyclopaedia Brittanica.)
Dwarsoor die land kan 'n mens maar die situasie bekyk, ondersoek en ontleed: die patroon is
feitlik diselfde - dit was altyd die sogenaamde nieblankes wat moes padgee en plek maak vir die
Die Nasionale Party het, toe hy aan bewind van
die land was, nog altyd 'n baie sterk partydigheid
getoon teenoor sekere gemeenskappe en kultuurgroepe - tot nadeel van ander.
Dit is 'n situasie wat diep seergemaak het- wat
diep littekens agtergelaat het wat moontlik nooit
heeltemal uitgewis sal word nie." •
"South Africa's heritage
needs to be den1ocratized"
The question of why we should preserve heritage is a particularly relevant one for our country, especially at this stage
of our history. We have come through "an extraordinary human disaster'~ to use President Mandela's words, that has
lasted too long. We have come through with new definitions of what it means to be South African; we are now in a
position to define ourselves as a democratic nation.
How do we want the world to see us as
South Africans? Are the monuments that
cover our landscape an adequate reflection of what
we are as a nation? Are the institutions and organizations that are intended to guard our heritage,
really reflective of the composition and aspirations
of this democratic nation?
The most crucial reason why we should preserve heritage, is to avoid memory losses. Through
the preservation of our monuments, we ensure that
we do not forget the past. In preserving our heritage, we should not be ashamed to confront the
"why" and "how" of our history as it is today. This
should be done not with blame and retribution in ·
mind, but with a true understanding of the
processes that gave rise to policies like apartheid.
Most importantly, by preserving our heritage
we should ensure that the same thing never happens again. To quote the president once more: "We
must all ensure that never, never and never again
shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another."
If then we agree that our heritage must be preserved, we must, among other things, determine
what heritage should be preserved, and how that
heritage should be displayed and preserved. This
can only be done through democratic structures
and participation and by making sure that all of
our communities are given a chance to voice their
views and participate fully in the processes that are
to unfold.
Most of all, we must consider how the conservation of heritage of this country can contribute to
the actual reconstruction and development process.
Arts and culture communities and organizations need to start thinking quite creatively in
terms oflinking up with other departments like
those for health and environment in terms of reconstruction and development.
One particularly burning issue, which really
needs to be discussed, is what constitutes offensive
heritage and of course, what should be done with
it. Should such heritage be preserved for what it has
represented? How do we recontextualise it as an essential part of the process of South African history?
In preserving the history of South Africa, two
key elements should be adhered to: Firstly, no heritage should be offensive to any section of the population; and secondly, there should be no historical
gaps. We've got to be able to live with our heritage,
as bad as it was; therefore we must try and find a
compromise that is acceptable to everybody.
We live in a time of renewal, a time to build a
nation and its identity. Let us encourage the emergence of a democratic heritage, of heritage structures which reflect our South Africanness and
move away from the practices of the past which
represented a specific culture, an ideological point
of view and the wishes of the government.
I would particularly like to see a monument to
human rights built in the country; a monument to
celebrate the cultural diversity of the country. We
should not be scared of being a multi-cultural
country; we should celebrate it! A monument to
our cultural diversity could also serve as a venue for
annual cultural events to celebrate our oneness as
South Africans, the cultural expressions that coexist within the country.
Likewise I would like to see paintings celebrating South Africans who contributed to the overall
development of our country- poets, authors,
scientists, technologists, industrialists, etc. - in the
National Assembly, instead of paintings of individuals who played a role in apartheid.
The heritage of the country must be democratized, as it belongs to all the people of South Africa.
Essential ingredients in the process are:
• Affirmative action to ensure equality of.
• Appropriate training programmes targeted at:
a) the emergence of new perceptions;
b) perceptions existing within the institutions that
are looking after our heritage; and
c) perceptions in terms of how we want to see
ourselves as a nation.
We must also ensure that the historically neglected communities benefit from and participate in
all levels of government pertaining to conservation.
Efforts must be made to transform heritage institutions so that they can reflect the values, and serve
the interest of a democratic South Africa.
In most culture organizations and institutions
in the country- whether linked with arts, monuments, or music - one detects a sense of defensiveness. No clear vision emanates from these institutions about future roles.
Attention must be paid to the neglected and
suppressed culture of the majority of the people of
South Africa. The role played by women, by the
workers and by the peasants, must get its rightful
place in the conservation efforts of the country.
Themba Wakashe
national co-ordinator
for Arts and Culture
South Africa (ACSA)
The declaration of monuments should be integrated with the overall conservation policies, including
environmental conservation as well as urban and
rural planning. There is a lot of talk about housing,
but there has not been enough focus on the kind of
environment these houses will create. Will they actually be liveable? What kinds of monuments or
statues will be erected in new suburbs?
There should also be better integration and coordination between the legislative structures and, of
course, a revision of the 1969 Act which caused intense dissatisfaction. We must furthermore consider having a heroes acre for the burial of the heroes
who died in the resistance against apartheid. We
must also make efforts to identify those unknown
victims of past conflict and their graves, and make
appropriate arrangements for the restoration and
care of these graves.
There are, of course, graves that are outside of
South Africa itself. Where it is appropriate, we need
to maintain these graves as symbols of solidarity,
particularly with those nations who have supported
South Africa during our struggle against apartheid.
A decision has to be made as well with regard to
a sensitive issue; that of there-internment of theremains specifically in situations where the geographicallocation of graves makes their maintenance
problematic or where the graves themselves are
under a threat from natural forces or necessary developmental projects.
To spearhead the implementation of the resolutions and recommendations taken to this end at the
culture and development conference in Johannesburg last year, Arts and Culture South Africa
(ACSA) established four guidelines:
Firstly, the programmes of ACSA need to contribute to the redressing of apartheid imbalances in
the area of arts and culture.
Secondly, in order to redress those imbalances,
the focus should be on the historically marginalized
communities: the rural areas and the townships.
This would not only entail the provision of resources, but also the integration of cultural organizations in these areas into the mainstream of arts
and culture in terms of resources as well as training.
Since disadvantaged students have had no significant exposure to training at technikon and university level, the whole question of training is to receive serious attention. A key area is that of arts
management, particularly in terms of community
arts and cultural organizations, as well as the redressing of the legacy of apartheid. In this regard
ACSA works closely with community organizations.
One not only has to redress on the black side,
but also on the white side. Cases where people were
working together, for example at the Market Theatre, were the exception rather than the rule, leading to misunderstanding and mistrust. People need
to be drawn together and barriers broken down.
Education should, however, start at primary
school level. The concept of a new nation; of a national identity should be nurtured from the earliest
years. ACSA is presently planning to launch a children's art magazine aimed at the ages nine to fifteen. We want all children to participate, to paint
together and to write together so as to actually ar-
ticulate their vision of the country. If we start
bridging the gaps with children, mutual understanding will be so much easier.
Thirdly, since ACSA wants to redress the
apartheid legacy from an informed position, the organization concentrates on research, working in
close collaboration with institutions like universities and the Human Sciences Research Council.
In view of the limited funds available, ACSA
also strives to facilitate co-operation between various cultural organizations. While dialogue is promoted and skills and resources shared, the independence and aesthetic expression of each group is
understood and respected. It is of the utmost importance that we start working together and speaking in a united voice, particularly when it comes to
needs. We need to lobby both as community-based
and as professional groups on a professional level.
All communities should have access to the government. Therefore the issue of networking and research plays a very imporant role in terms of the
assessment of the needs of each and every group.
Lastly, ACSA is committed to increasing international contact in order to overcome 35 years of
cultural isolation. The world did not stop during
that period and there is a lot of catching up to do.
All South Africans must be able to participate in
cultural affairs internationally. We also have to
show and tell the world how we want to be seen,
how we are forging a new nation, how we are moving forward and taking on board the question of
Having been dislocated from cultural processes
in Africa for many years, we also have to link up
with African countries culturally. Although South
Africa has a strong economic role to play in the region, economic involvement alone does not actually
bring people together. We have to complement that
with cultural ties. While the colonizing powers in
most African countries left after independence, we
are in the unique position that we can say South
Africa belongs to all who live in it- black and
white. At the end of the day it is going to prove our
strength. We have to project this uniqueness of a
truly rainbow nation to the world.
Having said that, co-existence has its own sensitivities. We should not, however, shy away from it;
we should confront it and deal with it.
Incentives to bring the youth of the country together so that they can begin to understand and respect each other, should be initiated by the Ministry
of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology as well as
the Ministry of Education. Futhermore, programmes could be devised for art teachers and
artists from black communities to teach at white
schools and vice versa in order to promote mutual
We have successfully dealt with the political differences, moved through a remarkable election and
are at a point where the government of national
unity is functioning well. People rightly call it the
South African miracle. This miracle should now
shift from politics to culture so that we can also
witness the merging of cultural groups that can
function smoothly and harmoniously. Once that
happens, we in the field of arts and culture would
have contributed immensely to our country. •
The conservation of folk and
vernacular architecture
South African folk and vernacular building traditions have long been neglected by the lack of not only conservation
of these traditions, but also of research and published information. The work that has been done, tends to centre on
the Dutch colonial styles of the Boland and the Victorian trends in the urban centres, along the coast and in the
interior. Folk architecture has been studied and preserved along "Black" (archaeology and anthropology), "White"
(architectural historians) and ethnic lines, not only because of personal political bias and prejudices, but because it is
difficult to be knowledgeable about the numerous and complex social differences between the many different groups
who created this country's folk and vernacular traditions.
to step into what can become an interpretative minefield. Research on the social relatedness between architecture and the household and
extended family is often left to the social anthropologists and ethnologists. Bruce Alsopp (1977: 41)
defines folk and vernacular as follows: "Folk architecture" has evolved with people in communities
and has often been the work of their own hands. Its
characteristics are cherished and imitated long after
the original determinants of a folk style have become irrelevant.
Henry Glassie ( 1968: 5) describes the position
of folk architecture in relation to the study of material culture by comparing it to academic and popular culture: "During the time of construction of a
folk object, the tradition out of which it is produced cannot be part of the popular (mass, normative) or academic (elite, progressive) cultures of the
greater society with which the object's maker has
had contact ...
"The public culture of a folk society contains
both popular and folk elements, whereas the public
culture of a popular society is completely popular.
It is the public culture of popular society that is the
opposite of folk culture."
Alsopp (1977: 41) also describes the relationship between folk and vernacular architecture and
at the same time sees vernacular architecture as
something different:
"Vernacular architecture is the result of acceptance by architects of the criteria of folk architecture as a way of design. It is a way of continuing established values in a modern context:'
According to Alsopp (1977: 47) folk architecture is by definition "humane" " ... but essentially
the architecture of small communities". A further
distinction between folk and vernacular architecture is that "out of folk architecture came designed
vernacular which seeks to develop folk styles with
the skills of the architect". A certain relationship exists between folk architecture and the environment
but folk architecture "is not exclusively determined
in its form by climate and available materials but
most folk architecture is suitable for the climate of
the place in which it is built" (Ibid: 52).
Interest in the conservation of our folk building
heritage is shared by a variety of professions and
individuals. Museologists concern themselves with
the "on site" conservation of buildings and research
on building materials. Anthropologists and archaeologists play a major role in the recording of the remains of Iron Age settlements and of oral data on
building techniques and the use of material from
the landscape. Architectural historians and scholars
are still adding to the list of published data on the
more formal vernacular architecture in the various
regions of the country. In the meantime more
buildings built without architects are disappearing
from our landscape.
South Africa is currently moving through a period of changing paradigms. These changes also include changes in the paradigms for conservation
and involve the conservationists of architecture. On
the one hand, it has become part of the day to day
jargon to say the politically correct things and, on
the other, it is difficult to put jargon and cliches to
work. The struggle to make policies and prophecies
work, still continues and it is up to the scientists
and planners to create solutions that are affordable,
practical and sustainable.
Part of the reconstruction and development
process is to re-assess the sustainability (conservation) of the urban built environment, individual
buildings, monuments, folk and vernacular architecture. In comparison to research on and the conservation of designed architecture, very little has
been done for the folk architecture of the indigenous peoples in South Africa. In some circles it has
become the architecturally (or politically) correct
thing to vernacularise by replicating "folk" trends
and historical ornamentation in contemporary design without the proper historical and architectural
insight and without doing much for the dissemination of the original information.
With the new political dispensation and under
the watchful "eye" of the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), architectural historians and conservationists in general now have the
alternative of turning in their conservation efforts
By Mauritz Naude
first museum human
research scientist,
The National Cultural
History Museum
to the rich heritage of folk architecture within the
original South Africa, (without the bantustan subdivisions) for inspiration and perhaps finding solutions to our Third World problems. This will lead
to a shift in focus from the solutions of the past to
those of the present, from monumental elitist projects to those benefiting a greater part of the nation
and from the professionally designed to the existing
vernacularised and folk architecture. At the same
time there has been a paradigm shift from "conservation" to "sustainable development" and from the
preservation of individual buildings to "integrated
environmental management", thereby forcing historical and environmental consultants to include
vernacular and folk buildings on the checklists used
during the assessment of the environment.
In general, scientists must aim at creating a
"new" methodology (scientific "mix") combining
international and local practices, Eurocentric and
Afrocentric beliefs and traditions and fusing traditional and contemporary local expertise.
"Conservation" as interpreted by the predominantly White Westerners has programmed some
people to associate the word with "anti-development", "museums", "store rooms", "stagnation",
"isolation" and the creation of a "product". The
perception was created that "conservation" is not a
process but the result or a final product. This perception still reigns supreme when the conservationists concerned with the protection of the built environment mention "conservation" at lobbies and
during discussions among developers, politicians,
designers, planners and scientists.
In the African context, a lot of time and effort
can perhaps be saved if "conservation" is either redefined or the use of the word discouraged. "Conservation" as interpreted by Western society has
never been part of the indigenous people of Africa's
economical, political, legal, religious and social systems and they also do not have a synonym for it.
"Conservation" is a creation of affluent societies
and cultures of affluence. In the West it meant the
isolation of exclusive man-made landscape features
from their ever-changing surroundings and removing exotic movables from their places of origin and
out of the communities and households who
utilised them. In Africa something is "kept" and
"stored" only to be used later. Their dead are buried
and these spots become places of cultural significance.
The significance centres on the place (cultural
landscape) and seldom on a building (object). Otherwise, man-made features are left to decay, to become part of the biological cycles of the greater environment. Natural processes are hardly tampered
In the world of Western construction we strive
towards the construction of buildings that will last
"for ever", with "no" maintenance, no "emotional"
link with the landscape or the environment and
constructed with abstract measurements. According to African building traditions, construction is
done with unrefined materials taken from the surrounding (living) landscape, it is painstakingly
maintained (during dry months), the choice of the
site is a social and sometimes religious event and
not purely an economic decision and the propor-
tions of a building relate to the proportions of the
human body.
In the past folk architecture has been conserved
in a variety of ways, mainly along Eurocentric lines.
The reason for this is probably that it was the Europeans who initiated and also executed these projects. Dominating the efforts to conserve folk architecture are the open air museums that were created
to represent the variety of building styles of the different ethnic groups in the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. According to the international definition of open air museums, these museums consist
of buildings not preserved on their original site but
constructed from the academic reconstructions of
The open-air museum started as a display of "a
collection" of buildings. In Europe, Canada and the
United States of America buildings were removed
from their sites, transported to a new site and reassembled. This procedure was not followed in any
of the Transvaal or Orange Free State examples. An
open air museum for the Changana Tsonga people
was constructed in the Northern Transvaal between
1973 and 1977. A site was cleared near "Die Eiland",
an Aventura pleasure resort, and a kraal was constructed with the help of the local people. It became
known as the "Tsonga Kraal".
A similar open-air museum was erected for the
North Sotho people outside Pietersburg and it is
known as "Bakoni Malapa". A third open-air museum was erected for the South Ndebele people at
Botshabelo, a mission station managed by the town
council ofMiddelburg (Tvl). An open-air museum
for the South Sotho will soon be officially opened.
This type of architectural conservation is flawed by
the fact that the buildings are replicas and not part
of an original and spontaneous family driven
process but created under the supervision of a scientist. What is often forgotten, is that buildings are
components of a settlement pattern and the pattern
derives from the needs and beliefs of a household
or extended family. Folk architecture cannot be interpreted without the inhabitants and in the cases
where the people are made part of the "display", it
becomes a theatre with the buildings and structures
merely decor pieces and backdrop features.
Instead of trying to create or even recreate folk
architecture settings, as in the case of open-air museums, one alternative is to investigate the possibility of "on site" conservation. Fewer Cape Dutch
buildings and farmsteads have been replicated than
African kraals and these farmsteads still survive in
their original settings. Architecture comprises more
than the building itself and to ignore this fact when
conservation policies and guidelines are drafted, is
usually more negative than positive as the building
is often proclaimed a national monument isolated
on the site and encircled by new man-made features. In many cases house museums have been created with the main objective being the preservation
of household objects within a historical setting. In
the past these "house" museums were promoted
and advertised under that name but, within the typology of museum types, they should have been
classified as site museums.
Buildings should perhaps not be conserved as
individual features in the landscape but as part of a
settlement and a live community as is done at Iron
Bridge in England. Here the villages at both ends of
the bridge are protected by law and any changes to
the existing buildings, structures and infrastructure
are carefully monitored and evaluated. Museologists might tag this approach as that of an "ecomuseum" but, in environmental conservation
terms, close scrutinisation of maintenance programmes and the design process in and around an
old village, precinct or town centre should be standard procedure for integrated environmental management and has nothing to do with the creation of
a museum. This should perhaps be one of the preconditions for shaping the African "model". Linking the museologists and the planners' skills would
certainly strengthen the possibility of linking "conservation" with "sustainable use".
As "conservation" of architecture has been part
of the European value system and is new to the
African value system, both systems should be addressed. The common denominator seems to be a
positive attitude towards sustainability and continuity. The reassessment of the building heritage
should perhaps be approached from an environmental management angle and not from a "conservation" angle. The opposite of "conservation"
should not be interpreted as "development", but the
one an integral part of the other. Complete demolition should not be interpreted as the introduction
to development but as a depletion of our natural .
and cultural resources.
Folk architecture is in close relationship with
the landscape, the needs of the community and the
forces of nature and it is difficult to preserve the
structures associated with this segment of our architectural heritage. To adapt to the changing needs
of the families who live in them, these buildings
continuously change in form, structure and decoration. Under these circumstances it is probably
more appropriate to think of conservation as the
mere on -site recording of the changes of the buildings, the settlement and
the community than
trying to fossilise a certain period or style of
building (Ryan 1963:
The implication of
recording folk architecture means that academics and conservationists would have to spend
more time doing field
work. In this regard
Glassie 1968: 11) says:
" ... the student of material folk culture must be
concerned with both the
form and the material of
construction, observable
from the finished product and the process of
construction which may
be inferred from the object and can be understood through description, but which is best
learned through close observation of the process in
This procedure is also essential during theresearch for the "formal" conservation of individual
settlements and buildings. Where the funding for
such projects would come from, is an open question as money will sooner be allocated for development, meaning the construction of new settlements
and housing projects.
Within the Reconstruction and Development
Programme more can be done for conservation by
helping with the planning, construction and installation of services within the communities than to
proclaiming buildings or precincts as places of architectural merit or even as national monuments.
One of the solutions is perhaps in doing as Ryan
(1963: 136) suggests to have " ... our princpal interest ... focused on problems of maintenance of the
already formed identity ... "
This would also give planners, researchers and
academics the chance to record and study patterns
of what is left of the architectural heritage of marginalised communities overlooked in the past.
Alsopp, B. 1977. A modern theory of architecture.
London: Routledge & Kegan.
Glassie, H. 1968. Pattern in the material folk culture
of the eastern United States. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Miller, G.T. Armstrong, P. 1982. Living in the environment. California: Wadsworth.
Rogers, A. 1977. Approaches to local history. London: Longman.
Ryan, E.J, 1963. "Personal identity in an urban
slum", in Duhl, L.J, (ed) The urban condition,
people and policy in the metropolis. London:
Basic Books. •
of the Ndebele open-air
museum at Botshabelo,
a mission station
managed by the town
council of Middelburg,
Kulturele keuses op pad na ' n
tnenswaardige toekotns
Dit is met 'n toenemende beklemming dat verneem word na die wankeling van die "nuwe" Suid-Afrika.
Selde nog in die geskiedenis is so 'n bespotting gemaak van die hoogste ideaal van die de1nokrasie: die
beveiliging van die waardigheid van die mens.
ES van Bart
vryskut-joernalis wat
vera[ oor bewaringsake
it is sorgwekkend dat ons dit steeds nodig
vind om debatte te voer oor kapitalisme en
kommunisme, nasionalisme, elitisme, humanisme en, les bes, eurosentrisme en afrosentrisme. Sorgwekkend, want dit impliseer die
bestaan van 'n wanbalans, 'n hegemonie, wat in
wese 'n parano"iese angs om die verlies van 'n eie
identiteit verberg.
Dit geld nie net die blanke Afrikaanssprekende
nie. Eis volg weder-eis in 'n gekkespel op. Ons soek
mededeelsaamheid, maar ons baar onverdraagsaamheid soos selde tevore.
Dat die onderhandelinge om inhoud te gee aan
'n "ware demokrasie" wat vir alle groepe aanvaarbaar is, in 'n mags-debakel ontaard het, is nie
vreemd nie: politici spreek maar meermale met gevurkte tonge. Ons sou veel beter gevaar het indien
antropoloe en toordokters om die onderhandelingstafel die kulturele manifestasies van die uiteenlopende gemeenskappe sou ontrafel het, want nou
kry die Duiwel op die Skouer en die Voels van
Gerugte die geleentheid om onsin uit te ruil.
Toordokters moet nie verwar word met die kindermoordenaars, die muti-towenaars wat steeds
om eie gewin nog soveelliggelowige swartes uitbuit
nie. Die toordokters is die uitverkore bewakers van
die geskiedenis van die stamme, die ontleders van
die psige van die swartman, sy hoop en sy frustrasies, die leermeesters wat die volkswysheid, deur
die eeue in legendes bewaar, ewe goed om die tafel
as om die vuur kon vertel aan diegene wat weet
waarna om te luister om te verstaan, nie om te manipuleer nie.
(Moontlik sou hulle dan ook vir ons kon verklaar waarom mnr. Mandela in die Transkei vir
hom 'n vakansiehuis, waarvan die plan op sy Victor
Verster-gevangenishuis gegrond is, bou. En waarom
mnr. De Klerk vir hom 'n luukse wooneenheid in
'n eksklusiewe ontwikkeling, Dolphin Beach, wat
reg aan die kus tussen Table View en Bloubergstrand opgerig is, gekoop het. Die lompe kolos
verontagsaam die natuurskoon op erg onsensitiewe
Een saak is duidelik: Ons sal slegs orde uit die
chaos kan skep indien elke groep in hierdie land 'n
daadwerklike poging aanwend om die ander in sy
kultuurhistoriese milieu te leer ken en sy simbole te
Ons sal versigtig moet oordeel dat slegs daardie
kultuurhistoriese manifestasies uit elke kulturele
groep wat die waardigheid van elke mens beskerm
en uitbou, na die sogenaamde nuwe nasionale kultuur oorgedra word.
Ons sal kultuur, in die woorde van Van Peursen,
"as strategie" moet aanwend (C.A. van Peursen:
Strategie van de Cultuur) om elke lid van die nuwe
kultuurgemeenskap tot kennis te bring van die eise
wat 'n vrye, gelyke, demokratiese gemeenskap aan
hom stel.
Elke groep sal verantwoordelikheid moet aanvaar vir sy keuses - ons leer onsself ken en laat ons
ken deur die keuses wat ons op elke kulturele terrein maak: op politieke, sosiaal-ekonomiese en religieuse gebied, op die gebied van die wetenskap en
die kunste - argitektuur ingeslote -van voeding,
kleding en verwantskap-organisasie.
In 'n nuwe Suid-Afrika salons moet bou aan 'n
mens-verrykende en -vererende toekoms, gevoed
deur die kollektiewe kennis en lewenswysheid wat
elke groep in sy verlede verwerf het. Hierin le die
noodsaak van kultuurhistoriese bewaring as basis
vir die toenemende beskawing van elke faset van
menslike naasbestaan.
Geen maklike taak le voor nie. Hoe kan ons verwag dat ander ons kultuurgoedere respekteer, indien ons dit nie self doen nie? Die sleutel tot 'n
betekenisvolle toekoms le in 'n opvoeding. Om
maar net na die omstandighede rondom kultuurhistoriese bewaring te kyk:
In Suid-Afrika word erkenning gegee aan die
feit dat kennis van die geskiedenis van die letterkunde, die skilder- en beeldhoukuns, drama en
musiek, selfs die kookkuns, noodsaaklik is vir 'n
begrip van hedendaagse manifestasies op hierdie
kultuurterreine, dat daarsonder geen betekenisvolle
uitbouing van die kunste moontlik is nie. Daar
word aanvaar dat die bestudering van hierdie
kunste noodsaaklik 1s vir die verfyning van die
geesteslewe. Of genoeg op hierdie terreine gedoen
word, is 'n ander saak.
Weinig kinders kom egter ooit iets te wete
omtrent ons argitektuur-geskiedenis. Le die bron
van die vernietiging van ons geboueskat nie juis
hier nie? Kennis voed immers bewaringsgesindheid.
Voorverlede jaar is die jeugleiers wat 'n jeugleierskonferensie by Die Burger Strandhuis bygewoon het, op 'n staptog deur Kaapstad geneem en
die boustyle wat hier voorkom, aan hulle uitgewys.
Dit is uiteraard nie genoeg nie. Waarom bestaan
daar nie by ons skole junior Stigting Simon van der
Stel-verenigings soos wat daar byvoorbeeld sport-,
debats- en drama-verenigings bestaan nie?
Begryplik is hierdie situasie wel, siende dat baie
ouers, helaas, self argitektoniese geletterdheid skort.
Die saak kan egter beredder word aan die hand van
'n Europese voorbeeld:
Ses jaar gelede is in Nederland De Open Monumentedag ingestel. In 1992, op 14 September, is die
eerste Europese Open Monumentendag aangebied:
Buiten Nederland het ook Frankryk, Belgie, Denemarke, Swede, Skotland, Ierland, Malta en Turkye
Op Open Monumentendag word regoor elke
land geboue wat tot nasionale monumente verklaar
is, gratis vir die publiek oopgestel. Uitvoerige
brosjures is beskikbaar en die media gee uitgebreide
dekking. Dit het reeds gegroei tot 'n Europese feesdag.
Elke stad, dorp of "gemeente" het sy eie Stichting Open Monumentendag wat die organisasie behartig. Gewoonlik word 'n tema gekies wat die
noue verbondenheid tussen die kunste as kultuuruitinge illustreer.
In 1992, byvoorbeeld, het die Nederlande die
tema, Een Literaire Variatie op Monumenten, gehad.
'n Skryfwedstryd- verhaal, gedig of limerick- vir
jeugdiges tussen 9 en 18 jaar is aangebied, met
pryse in drie ouderdomsgroepe. 'n Deskundige paneel het die beoordeling behartig en die beste inskrywings is gepubliseer.
Die brosjure waarmee die wedstryd bekend gestel is, is in sigself 'n opvoedkundige les in die
kleine en prikkel die jeugdige tot nadenke en deelname: " ... historische geboue 'vertellen' ons wat
over het verleden, over de mensen die er woonden
en hoe zij leefden en werkten. Wat kan jij over de
monumenten in jouw dorp of stad vertellen? ... Wat
roepen die gebouwen bij jou op? Wat vind jij nou
het mooiste of lelijkste, gekste, saaiste of interessantste monument dat jij kent of op de Open Monumentendag hebt gezien? Welk oud gebouw wil je
van binnen zien, welk monument moet volgens jou
gesloopt worden of juist gerestaureerd?"
Hoe kan 'n kind wat s6 gei:nspireer word, anders
as om 'n waardering vir sy kulturele erfenis te ontwikkel?
In Belgie was die tema Monumenten en Muziek
" ... Een relatie die even oud is als de architectuur
zelf en die in talloze gebouwen haar sporen naliet
en er nog steeds leeft." Elke stad of gemeente het die
tema na eie inspsirasie uitgebou. Byvoorbeeld: "De
Mechelse monumenten", word soos die Nederlanders so mooi se, "in de verf gezet met renaissanceen barokdansen". In Brussel is in verskeie geboue
besonder interessante animasies random poesie en
musiek uit die Interbellum-periode aangebied.
In Belgie is die bewaringsaksie nog verder gevoer met die Europalia-kultuurfees. In 1991 was
Het Onbekende Portugal die ondersoekgebied. In
verskeie lokale is die ryke kultuurerfenis van Portugal aan die Belge bekend gestel. Om net twee te
noem: 'n Indrukwekkende tentoonstelling Triomf
van de Barak, in die ewe indrukwekkende Brusselse
Paleis voor Schone Kunsten, en in die Musea voor
Kunst en Geschiedenis, 'n tentoonstelling Portugal
en Vlaanderen.
Die voorbeeld is daar. Afrika roep om geken te
word. Daar is nog 'n lang pad voor ... •
The Red House is for Sale
his gracious family home and historical
monument is set in the lee of the mountain,
surrounded by gardens watered by a tributary of the Liesbeek River.
The owners are looking for a responsible buyer
with a love of fine architecture and Cape history
who will continue to maintain the house in the tradition of the centuries that have elapsed since construction of the back section in ± 17 30.
This portion of the house, built as part of the
Boshoff estate, boasts thick yellowwood beams in
the ceiling and stout mud walls fortified with stone.
It has a warm, cottagey feeling, a cosy nook in savage Cape winters.
Much more regal in character is the Georgian
frontage, built a hundred years later by Lord
Charles Somerset, then governor of the Cape. The
humble cottage now became the centre of the period's social whirlpool, serving as guest quarters to
the nearby Newlands House. Today the wide sash
windows, high ceilings and lofty reception rooms
bespeak the hunting parties of the past. This section is built with sunbaked brick.
Most eccentric of the house's succession of
owners was Michiel Hiddingh, a fierce and quirky
bachelor who insisted on painting the entire house
in a shade of burgundy red- hence its current
name. At the time the passages of the house teemed
with forty cats and a display of naked statuettes,
delicately shrouded in muslin.
The present owners bought the house from
local artist Alice Tennant, well known for her stilllife paintings in oil. One can imagine her setting up
her easel in the garden facing the spreading vista of
the mountain.
Other features of the garden which flavour this
evocative property are the old "hoenderhok", swallow-boxes and the stone mounting block from
which portly Victorian gentlemen used to mount
their charges.
Enquiries to Dr Peter Penny
Tel (021) 23-2365 (office) 64-2342 (home)
The history and restoration of
Harare's oldest house
In December 1991 I was honoured to formally open a small house- 110 Livingstone Avenue, Harare- as an art
gallery. It was a very special occasion, since the well-known Gallery Delta had been required to vacate its former
premises some seven months earlier, and as its new venue had provided a home for over forty years for Zimbabwe's
most eminent landscape painter, Robert Fowler Paul.
Peter Jackson RIBA
Honorary Historic
Buildings advisor to the
City of Harare
chairman, Historic
Buildings Advisory
Committee to the
Harare Museum of
Human Science
heightened as research indicated that the
house was likely to be the oldest extant house
in the city, post-dating by only four years the
founding of Fort Salisbury in September 1890.
(The 1892 Government Offices and the 1893 Market Hall are the only buildings known to be earlier).
Stand 1951 of Salisbury Township Lands, comprising 125 square roods, was originally given to
Edward Vigne, a solicitor, by Deed of Grant from
the British South Africa Company in 1894. Vigne,
who had come to the country with his brother Dr
Alfred Vigne in 1893, was born in 1857 at Fort
Beaufort, and practised p.s a solicitor in Kimberley.
In August 1893 he became the ninth solicitor to
be admitted to practice before the chief magistrate
of Mashonaland.
He built his house in 1894 and by early 1895 he
was in practice with Malley and Honey, the forerunner oftoday's legal firm ofHoney and Blanckenberg. Vigne was an enthusiastic cricketer, and
sponsored the Vigne Cup, which is apparently still
in existence.
In November 1908 he was subjected to fits of
depression, when he mysteriously disappeared
from the Mazoe Hotel one Sunday afternoon. His
decomposed body was found in the bush a few days
later on 9 December.
Vigne had sold the stand in 1900 for 700
pounds. By then the house comprised two narrow
thatched rooms, with a separate iron-roofed
kitchen and bathroom. The next owner kept it for
only a year, selling it in 1901 for 400 pounds to a
Leonard Wigg, by which time Wigg had already
had plans drawn up for a major extension linking
all the existing rooms beneath a new corrugated
iron roof. This is the appearance that the restoration was intended to achieve (plus the additional
front gable added by the Pauls in 1940).
Less than six months later, the extended house
was sold again, to James Ffolliott Darling for 1 500
pounds. Darling, a failed Dublin medical graduate,
was born in 1859, emigrating to the Cape in 1883,
where he became a medical·orderly. He joined 'X
Troop of Cecil Rhodes' 1890 Column, and upon release in Salisbury took up prospecting. He was one
of those rescued by the Mazoe Patrol during the
First Chimurenga War. An enthusiastic naturalist,
being a fellow of both the Dublin and London Zoological Societies, to whom he sent back numerous
specimens from South Africa and Rhodesia. He
eventually retired to Ireland and settled down as a
gentleman farmer, where he died in 1929.
Darling sold the house in 1907, and it passed
through a number of company liquidations during
1910. From 1912 to 1922 it belonged to Transvaal
and Rhodesia Estates. After 1922 it was owned by
Ethel Cooper, a spinster. The property was purchased by Marie Hawkins in 1928, who added a
separate garage in 1929, and a further small stoep
(later enclosed) was added to the east side of the
house in 1933.
In 1934 the original earth closets were upgraded
and connected to the new municipal sewer laid in
the lane behind. Her daughter Dreen, a well-known
tennis player, had moved into the house in 1933,
and after the marriage to Robert Paul in 193 7, a
further bedroom and bathroom were built on in
1940 to provide an additional gable to the front elevation. Marie Hawkins sold the house to her
daughter in 1953.
Robert Paul had been born in England in 1906,
and came to the then Rhodesia in 1927 to join the
British South African Police. While a mounted
trooper, his sketching skills led him to becoming a
cartographer in the vastness of the Midlands
Province bushveld. In the late twenties or early thirties, he had been introduced to John Piper, later to
become a renowned British neo-romantic painter,
and they shared a lifelong friendship. He painted
throughout his life, and after his retirement from
the Pay Corps of the Southern Rhodesia (Permanent) Force in 1951, Paul painted while on holiday
in the Transkei, at Beira, as well as in Salisbury and
ever-increasingly the Inyanga mountains of Eastern
His paintings however did not only depict landscapes, either real or abstract; Paul also liked to
paint buildings, and he clearly appreciated the special qualities of many older structures. In 1976 the
National Gallery of Rhodesia acknowledged his
contribution by mounting a retrospective exhibition of over 250 of his works. The National Gallery
purchased some 30 paintings from his collection.
In 1980 a further major exhibition was shown at
the Pretoria National Gallery.
The painter was still living at 110 Livingstone
Avenue up until the time of this death in September 1980. Dreen, his widow, died a year later, when
the property was jointly inherited by their children
Paul and Colette.
By 1991, after ten years of tenants, the house
was in very run-down and neglected state. The
stand is zoned for use as residential flats, and its redevelopment value is considerably in excess of its
value while supporting only a single dwelling.
Commercial use seemed an ideal alternative to be
able to support the costs of renovation and restoration, but the Department ofWorks has been actively and strongly resisting commercial pressures encroaching into the residential avenues.
When the owners of the building quickly responded to the plight of Gallery Delta no longer
having a place in which to exhibit, it seemed an
ideal opportunity to try to combine Robert Paul's
ancient house with the needs of a dynamic and experimental art gallery. Application was therefore
made in April 1991 to the city council for Change
of Use to gallery purposes.
This was entirely outside the scope of the rigid
town planning scheme, but in the context of the
draft Historic Building Regulations and the undisputed historical significance of the building, the
Department of Works respondend positively and
agreed to publicly advertise the proposed change
through the Special Consent process. No objections
were raised and a permit for Public Building
(Gallery) Use was eventually granted, on the very
day that Gallery Delta re-opened with a special
commemorative exhibition of the works of Robert
Despite years of neglect, and its new function as
a gallery, the original architectural character of this
lovely house remains intact. The "railway carriage"
plan of the 1894 structure is an excellent example
of frugal architecture from the earliest years of
Zimbabwe's colonial settlement, typified by narrow
rooms, a steep pitched roof and small window
The 1901 timber verandah was also typical of
the upgrading of buildings that took place about
the turn of the century, for example at the government offices and the market hall mentioned above.
This delicate verandah was later replaced with
brick, and by having some sections of it enclosed.
However, one timber post survived, which has enabled the original verandah to be replicated with
new posts of old Oregon pine. A portion of the rear
verandah was similarly restored, though the small
store at the west end has been retained, as this is a
room where Robert Paul did a great deal of his
The response of the arts community to the new
venue was tremendous, and further donations
meant that renovation work would now continue
in the very derelict back portion. The Swedish International Development Agency provided funds
for the construction of a 100-person amphitheatre
focussed on a side verandah of the house, which
anyway required complete reconstruction. This
area naturally lent itself to being developed as a
small stage, with the former window openings
being extended to contain three new tall Oregon
pine framed glazed doors, which ambiguously
serve as windows to the gallery within, and as an
abstract backdrop to the stage.
Within the amphitheatre seating was the former
well which was dug out to find water. We were able
to locate a 50-year old hand pump. It was a memo-
A self-portrait (left) and
the artist's impression of
his own house (below).
Bottom: Part of the
builder A Maclaurin's
plan for the 1901
extensions, linking the
two original structures
beneath a new iron roof
The 1894 structure is on
the left; the large gable
dates from 1901, the
smaller from 1940.
(Photo: Ilo the Pirate)
rable day indeed when the matchboard partition
that had separated the front and back halves of the
house for many years, was able to be stripped away,
and the whole house was immediately transformed.
This meant at last becoming available for a good
variety of walk-through exhibition spaces. Very little major alteration has taken place, but the transformation has been remarkable, while the sculptor
Arther Azevedo's security grilles provide the building with the necessary and magical continuity resembling the original Gallery Delta.
The building work, completed in mid-1993, was
carried out by a very small building team under the
supervision of Derek Huggins, one of the owners of
the gallery. There is a condition in the Planning
Permit requiring regular public access to the house,
and the gallery intends to mount a permanent
Robert Paul exhibition in one of the rooms. The
last exercise will be to provide a removable roof
over the amphitheatre seating, which must not detract from the character of the house, but will enable the stage facility to be used at any time of the
Since completion, the house has become a
much visited tourist attraction, both as a gallery,
and for the interest in this .very early building. This
is particularly significant at a time when the local
museum Historic Buildings Advisory Committee is
pressing the City of Harare to recognize the tourist
potential of its architectural heritage. In particular,
there are strong efforts being made to reduce traffic
in, and to landscape Robert Mugabe road- formerly Manica Road, the original main street in the city,
which is specially endowed with a considerable
number of attractive examples of late Edwardian
architectural eclecticism behind unifying verandah
This particular project has therefore been used
to demonstrate to the city fathers that the best of
Harare's colonial heritage can be of value and significance for the future. The project has saved for
Harare an excellent example of its earliest urban architecture, and in such a way as to reasonably guarantee its survival well into the 21 st century. It is not
a museum; it has had to change to adapt to its new
function, while at the same time re-establishing its
original intergrity.
In celebrating its special association with Robert
Paul, the house looks back, as well as forward to the
future. Very often one can find young aspiring
artists painting in the garden, on the verandah or in
the theatre. Far from becoming just a showcase, 110
Livingstone Avenue has become a vibrant focus for
aritistic growth; a place of questioning, of testing
aspirations; of making visions of the present and of
the past, for the future. •
Deur die vestiging van nuwe
maatskappye verskaf ons werk
aan duisende mense.
Ons sportborgskappe bevorder gesondheid en fiksheid
en gee deelnemers die geleentheid om uit te blink
Terwyl Sanlam-poliseienaars se
geld groei, lewer hulle belangrike
bydraes op ander terreine.
die beste moontlike opbrengste op
'n Sanlam-polis gee jou finansiele
jou geld.
gemoedsrus. Maar dit verseker ook
Sanlam bet geen aandeelhouers
jou toekoms op talle ander maniere.
Net waar jy kyk, sien jy jou benie, maar behoort net aan ons poliseienaars. Die wins op ons beleggings
legging aan die werk. Dit voed ons
is joune. Maar die geleenthede wat
ekonomie, bewaar ons natuurlike
jou geld skep terwyl dit vir jou groei,
rykdom. Dit help mense om te
ontwikkel en uit te blink,
bevoordeel ons land en
al sy mense. Vandag en
waardig en trots te voel.
Terwyl jy kan uitsien na Waar u toekoms teletl elke dag wat voorle.
Ons ondersteun opvoeding
op aile terreine.
Ons beskou dit as onontbeerlik vir ons ekonomie dat
kleinsake floreer. Daarom
!ewer ons 'n aansienlike bydrae
tot die ontwikkeling daarvan,
Ons Mooigoed vir Kleingoedwedstryd
gee aan senior burgers die geleentheid om geluk
aan vele behoeftige kinders te bring.
l§[email protected]
Restoring the face of Pretoria
The television advertisement "Free the RDP" is much more symbolic of the Jacaranda City than was perhaps
intended. As a cultural giant, the city of Pretoria is now trying to cast off the chains that kept it captive and out of
popular sight for many a decade. Being synonymous with a pariah government as well as home to the state
bureaucracy, was not endearing the city to outsiders.
By Fanie Krige
City Council, Pretoria
heid years, was that the capital lost its
face, its human character. Decisions were
left to the archbureaucrat: the narrowminded,
high-handed official who clung to the form and letter of the law (or in our case the ideology). In those
years the city lost many of its most precious assets.
However, its residents have known all along
what they had in their city and many of them
worked relentlessly- sometimes even fought tooth
and nail- to conserve, utilize and manage the capital's cultural resources to the best of their ability.
Their victory in the battle of the West Facade of
Church Square more than a decade ago marked the
beginning of a new era of public involvement.
For them the transferring of Parliament from
the foothills of Table Mountain to Klapperkop Hill
will be even more of a Olympic gold medal- the
ultimate trophy for years of hard work- than for
the protagonists of the Pretoria Capital Initiative
The PCI group however, deserves recognition
not only for highlighting Pretoria's myriad of assets
and attributes to the outside world, but especially
for succeeding in rallying Pretorians of all colours
and creeds behind their cause. City pride is at a
high ebb now, and that is of the utmost importance
for success in the reshaping of society.
This article is about a number of projects under
way in the Jacaranda City, which are aimed at
restoring the face of Pretoria: to make it the
people's place which it was in earlier years ... in the
days visitors dropped in at the President's house to
discuss matters of state (often was closely related to
personal matters) over a cup of coffee, when they
had time to play boat races on Church Square ...
when people were more important than the system.
The Bid for Parliament
According to the PCI it will be in the interest of the
country and all of its people if the Republic of
South Africa has a single national capital. The current dualistic system is the result of an old, ineffective and costly entrenched compromise made during the negotiations for the 1910 constitution, and
cannot be reconciled with the new era of consensus
The capital should be close to where the people
The choice for a national capital, says the PCI,
should fall on Pretoria not only because it has always been perceived by all as the national capital,
but also because of its more central and strategic
position. Within a radius of 200 km you find the
whole of the PWV as well as portions of four other
provinces. You find here a total of 29 percent of the
country's population, reflecting all language and
population groups.
In Pretoria the head offices of 32 government
departments, major parastatal and privatised corporations and the SA Reserve Bank are found and if
Parliament is here, the essential linkages can be
maintained more easily and efficiently. This will be
in the interest of effective government.
The city is more accessible to the provincial
capitals, being on average base 800 km closer to the
capitals of the provinces than Cape Town. The City
is also more of a gateway to Southern Africa than
Cape Town, and hosts most of the major foreign
missions to South Africa.
It is situated in the economic heartland of the
country, namely the PWV province, and can be regarded as the epicentre of the major stakeholders in
the process of government- albeit political parties,
professional bodies, organised business and agriculture etc. This will be of particular importance in
the reconstruction and development of the country.
The relocation of Parliament in Pretoria will
bring about substantial savings in terms of capital
expenditure on physical infrastructure, communication costs, costs to government departments and
the running costs of Parliament.
Off course there is recognition for Cape Town's
claim in terms of history and tradition in the land
of the Blue Bull, but the PCI feels that this should
be relinguished by the Mother City in the interest
of the country.
Well, even Capetonians might agree that there is
much food for thought in these arguments, and the
490 members of Parliament and the Senate cannot
ignore this if they eventually decide to debate the
issue. Apparently they are not too keen to do it before next year's municipal elections.
The Culpra Project
However, the cultural movers and shakers in Pretoria began to propose long before this debate that
the city should establish itself in the cultural niche:
internationally capitals are also the cultural nerve
centres of their respective countries.
The national capital is the national display window of a country's cultural treasures, which is not
only manifested in monuments, statues and buildings, but also in national museums and other cultural institutions. The examples are numerous:
Washington, Ottowa, Paris, Berlin, Vienna and
Pretoria is richly endowed with cultural resources, of which its five national institutions - the
Transvaal Museum, the Museum for Science and
Technology, the State Library, the National Culture
Museum and the National Zoological Gardens are not the least.
Adding to this its wonderful climate, its natural
beauty and- of course - its greenery (jacarandas)
even in the centre of the city, Pretoria is certainly
the top contender for being the cultural capital.
But, up to this day Pretoria has not had much
tourism development, although there has been
some effort by the city council to market and develop this great potential more aggressively.
It has led to the introduction of a culture route,
the establishment of a Committee for Cultural Development in the city council, a Conference on
Cultural Resources and a survey of Cultural Resources in the city, but still there was something
The answer came in the so-called 'Culpra' -project, proposed by a group of national institution
heads and driven by Clr Louis Cloete, deputy
mayor and chairman of the Committee for Cultural Development.
The idea of Culpra is to create something like a
Smithsonian Institution for Pretoria to establish
the Jacaranda city as a dynamic centre of African
art, culture, science and technology.
Its mission is to promote the upliftment of all
South Africans by informal education and
recreation and by doing that to ensure reconciliation and nation building.
Its goals will be to provide inclusive, democratic
guidelines for the development of metropolitan
• Pretoria's vast cultural, technological and scientific
treasures to benefit all South Africans; to provide
informal, people-friendly education and recreation;
to optimalise existing resources and to find a rightful place for under-utilised or abandoned buildings
and places of cultural importance; to involve existing scientific and technological institutions in
bringing science and technology closer to the public as in the case of the Smithsonian Institution, but
adapted to the needs of
Africa; and to involve
communities and all
cultural organizations
and institutions in the
development process.
The establishment
of the Minnaar Street
Cultural Spine will be
the first major project
of Culpra. The pedestrianisation of this quiet,
Jacaranda-lined street
in the city centre will
link within the span of
1,5 km eight existing
and proposed musea,
which will give a visitor
a complete overview of
what South Africa is all
The asset value of
the existing museaMelrose House, Burgers
Park (this well pre-
served Victorian Park is regarded as a terrain museum), Transvaal Museum, the Geological Museum,
the Museum for Science and Technology, and the
National Culture Museum- and other buildings
along the street was determined at R350 million.
The cost to establish the spine here, will be approximately Rll million, or about 3 percent of the
total asset value.
The city council committed itself to the project
by budgeting Rl,9 million for the pedestrianisation
of the street, approving the establishment of an Article 21 company to implement, manage and operate the spine, and giving the green light to re-utilise
the Ambulance Station buildings as an emergency
services and toddler-museum.
However, it was also dealt a setback by deciding
at the end of September that it cannot allow the recently restored City Hall to be converted in a science and technology museum as was originally
Internationally, science and technology musea
The Old Mint building
in Pretoria is currently
undergoing major
changes in order to
house the National
Culture Museum. Above
is an artist's impression
of the entrance and,
below, the main foyer,
reminiscent of modern
shopping malls, bringing
an atmosphere of
are great drawcards, and with the City Hall in a pivotal position in the mall, the Culpra project team
recommended strongly that it should be transferred to the museum.
The council's main argument was that a city
must have a city hall and to replace the existing city
hall will run into at least R60 million.
Pretoria's executive director of culture and
recreation, Mr Mark Theron, was asked to investigate the possibility of other alternative sites for the
science and technology museum.
But rumour has it that an answer has already
been found: eyes are now swivelling to the State
Theatre, which in terms of certain proposals may
be handed down to the city council by the
state ... and can double up as a city hall for the three
times a year that the council needs it.
In the meantime, the Culpra Task Group is
eager to get on with its task. It is aiming to have the
project in a far advanced state in the second half of
1996 when the National Culture Museum will open
its doors in the renovated Mint Building.
Existing buildings along
Minnaar Street can take
on new functions on
completion of the
Cultural Mall, for
example housing
Church Street Pedestrianisation
The pedestrianisation of Church Street is another
project which is aimed at using the city's cultural
assets to bring back ambience and people to the
city centre.
The underlying philosophy of the pedestrianisation is to upgrade the city centre environment to
create a people's place 'that will attract people and
stimulate further development in the area.
The mall will eventually encompass the whole
area of Church Street between Prinsloo and
Bosman Streets, including Church Square. Although buses, emergency vehicles and delivery vehicles will stay for the interim, the reducing of
other vehicles in the street, makes it possible to
provide larger areas for pedestrians and to improve
pedestrian circulation.
Street furniture will be specially designed to
create a strong theme. The historical environment
will be enhanced, while the project will have the effect that it unifies the diverse architectural styles
and types and sizes of buildings.
Formal facilities for the informal sector will be
provided as it is seen as an essential ingredient in
creating a people-friendly Church Street. Permanent stalls will be erected along the northern
boundary of Strijdom Square. This will create a
neater and more attractive environmental quality
than before.
Work on the project started in April this year.
The contract was awarded to the firm Savage and
Lovemore North. The first phase of this project is
due for completion on the city's birthday on the
16th of November this year. The opening of the
mall will form part of this year's Pretoria Day celebration and the Jacaranda Carnival.
Tram lines and an old water furrow were uncovered during the excavation work and plans were
adapted so as to use these as tourist attractions!
Terminating the avenue, two granite-dad
columns will tower to a height of fifteen metres,
forming an imposing entrance to what will be
known simply as "Kerkstraat".
The City lake Development
A R600 million urban development project with a
lake at its heart, is another facet of the process to
change the face of Pretoria and create an exciting
environment in which to work, live and play in the
capital city. It will also provide excellent investment
The city council recently accepted a Murray and
Roberts Properties proposal for the design, development and financing of the project in principle.
The lake of nearly 4 hectares will form the core
of the development, surrounded by a dynamic variety ofland-uses, such as office and residential accommodation, a hotel, shops, restaurants and entertainment and recreation facilities. All these will
be bound together by a network of landscaped
pedestrian malls and squares, linking every part of
the development with the waterfront and with the
existing urban fabric.
The development will be situated on the
boundary between the Central Business District
and the suburb of Pretoria. It is strategically located
to form a link between the CBD and the lively Sunnyside business and shopping precinct.
It is located at the confluence of the Apies River
and the Walker Spruit.
It is within easy reach of the population of the
Sunnyside and Arcadia flatland- one of the most
densely populated areas of South Africa. The area is
supported by excellent urban-infrastructure and is
easily accessible from the rest of the city.
Other People-oriented Projects
The above-mentioned projects are city council driven, but the spirit has caught on and many private
developers and entrepreneurs are also involved in
people-orientated developments. One is thinking
of the Gerard Moerdyk Street Project in Sunnyside,
where a whole street is being re-utilised for residential purposes, offices, shops, light manufacturing
and restaurants, without losing the individual character of historic buildings and the residential ambience of the street. Another example is the revitalisation of the Railway Station area and the Berea City
complex. On a much smaller scale, you have the reopening of the quaint Cafe Riche on Church
Square as an upmarket coffee house.
It will be hard not to be seduced by Pretoria's
unveiled face, which has too long been kept obscured. •
tion out of Johannesburg on long distance
steam safaris, changing times
have led to the decision to
move Transnet Museum's flagship steam safari train, the
Union Limited, to Cape Town
late last year- with resounding success.
Until recently the Union
Limited's target market was
steam enthusiasts and tourists
from abroad. Due to unrest
and violence in South Africa,
this market has dropped off
dramatically. To overcome this
problem and to remain viable,
the Union Limited has tailored
its costs and tours to suit the
local tourist market.
During 1992 the Transnet
Museum launched an experimental marketing campaign in
Cape Town for a seven day
tour during September. This
was repeated in December
1993, The response was phenomenal and the trains were
filled with local passengers. It
was thus decided to move the
Union Limited to Cape Town.
Contributing to the Union
Limited's success in the Cape
was the fact that many overseas flights now fly to Cape
Town directly, the availability
of six different rail routes out
of Cape Town, as well as short
rail distances to scenic locations. In addition Cape Town
is a tourist friendly city with
lovely scenery, beaches, the
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
and ample hotel accommodation and guest houses.
The reasonably close proximity to the George - Knysna
museum line furthermore offers a museum rail link, while
the possibility also exists of
erecting a museum station at
the V & A Waterfront.
The clamour for boarding
passes has already out -sped
any journey and a full spectrum of steam excursions is
available - from a marvellous
wine and dine night on the
tracks that will cure you of the
usual restaurant routine, to an
ultimate 14-day holiday experience guaranteed to give new
perspective to the tired Out of
Africa theme.
And every tour has its own
specialised route, be it the 5star, Saturday night dining bonanza on a round-trip from
Cape Town to Malmesbury, or
overdosing the senses on a
two-week Zambezi spectacular
via Beit Bridge, Bulawayo and
the Wanki Game Reserve, to
the Victoria Falls.
Between these extremes,
are the lures of the five (and
nine) day luxury breaks that
take in some of the most spec-
recharging ofbatteries; speciality shops; all part of the
Union Limited Experience.
New sights and packages
are constantly being investigated. Like the pressing demand
for extended "Day Ramble"
routes - to Simonstown, Sir
Lowry's Pass, Stellenbosch or
the Strand - in a continuous
quest for roads - and tracks less travelled.
First class, four-berth compartments (maximum two
passengers for space and comfort), as well as two-berth
coupes for one are available.
Each compartment has a
hand-basin and there is a hot
shower in each coach.
Meals are served in the
dining cars, of which the "Pro-
tacular scenery in the world the Montagu Pass, Toorwaterpoort, Kaaiman's River Bridge,
Tulbagh Kloof, the wine routes
of the Cape, Franschhoek,
George, Knysna, the Garden
Route ... all tracts of beauty
without end.
Side-tours too, give an
added dimension and bonus
to the uniqueness of these holidays ... wine tasting on farms
renowned worldwide for their
harvests; ostrich park and
game sightings; places of historical significance or haunting beauty; "photo stops" and
oases where you can catch
your breath and capture on
film the scenic beauty along
the best photographic locations en route; sleepovers
alongside a Wilderness beach
or stretch of forest (all the
while still in the comfort of
your coupe or sleeper); places
conducive to the quiet
tea", built for the original
Union Limited in 1933, is still
in use. All meals, wake-up tea
and coffee, and all bedding is
included in the fare.
Or try the lovely vintage
lounge-car, for a cuppa, a
drink or a snack with fellow
For the fundis, motive
power hardware (vintage ranging from 1898 to 1954) are:
Classes 7A, 7B, 12AR, 14CRB,
15A, 15CA, 15E, 15F, 16D,
16DA, 16E, 19C, 19D, 23, 24,
25 condenser and 25NC. Garratt classes include GB, GF,
GL, GMAM and GO. Short
runs take place behind historic
Class 31 or 32 Diesels, and
Class 3E, 4E, and 5E locomo-
The Transnet Museum
stands by its belief that there's
no better way of preserving
old locomotives and coaches,
than by actually utilising them.
More wear, less tear.
No doubt the Union Limited, dubbed the "Train -deluxe" in the 1920's and '30s,
still evokes widespread nostalgia. During its golden years, it
graced the tracks between Johannesburg and Cape Town
harbour, where it would rendezvous with the then grande
dames of sea-voyages, the
Union Castle liners. Carrying
first -class passengers only,
Union Limited was haughtily
proud of its "express" credentials, and was later to pave the
"rail" way for the Blue Train.
Though the outward appearance, both externally and
inside, remains original, the
vintage coaches have been restored to former perfection
and upgraded to include gasheated showers.
From the second you step
abroad the magnificently restored coaches, the graceful
gentility of olden times encapsulates you, strongly evoking
the nostalgia of a steam train
journey of yesteryear - the
clackity-clack of steel on steel,
the unexpected yank of a whistle and impeccably clad waiters
in teak dining cars.
This - and much more - is
yours on the Union Limited ...
Tel: (021) 405-4391/3
Fax: (021) 405-4395 •
Open.up a Transnet truck and prepare
For us, our responsibilities do not end
yourself for a culture shock. Some of these
within the four walls of an· office. That is why
vehicles are taken out to the rural areas in
we sponsor the Transnet Libertas choir that
cooperation with the regional councils for
has become a widely acclaimed attraction
the performing arts ... bringing theatre and
throughout the country.
magic to those who have
We are involved in Arts for
never seen it before.
Africa which
In conjunction with
music, art and drama in
performing arts councils
the townships. Through
we converted Autonet trail-
various workshops and
ers into mobile stages
community arts centres in
which take the theatre to
places such as Potchef-
townships and the country-
stroom, Umlazi and Rhini
side where proper staging
we have become part of
facilities are scarce.
the grassroots develop-
Our dream machines offer stagings of
modern dance, plays and musical performances
to audiences throughout the country.
ment of art and culture in this country.
We know that if we should limit our
horizons there can be no future for our company.
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