CEO’s 2021 Easter Message

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Good Day Castle Friends

I bring you this update with a healthy mixture of emotions:  On the one hand, there is optimism that the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccines will steer us towards some form of normality, especially in our tourism and hospitality sector, which is showing moderate signs of recovery.  On the other hand, the structural, political, and other weaknesses in the global vaccination roll-out regimes coupled with talks of a third wave are dampening our spirits.  But let us never despair: humanity faced and overcame even the worst trials and tribulations.


President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Minister of Defence
& Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula's,
visit to the Castle of Good Hope on 21 February 2021.

Human Rights Month 2021

As we approach Human Rights Day in South Africa (21 March), we are reminded of the sacrifices of millions of women, men, and children to improve others' rights.  Our Constitution has a special section, the Bill of Rights, focusing on our inalienable rights like freedom of expression, movement, religion, association and many others. But we need to be brutally frank with ourselves: how much did we (you and I) do to ensure that these rights are equitably and fairly applied to all 58 million inhabitants of our beautiful land?

Here at South Africa's Castle of Good Hope, I must remind you of the human rights atrocities committed in the name of past oppressive systems like colonialism, slavery, and apartheid; the legacies still clearly visible in towns and townships surrounding us.

Easter Season 2021: Stay Safe. Stay Healthy. Stay alive.

The Easter holiday season, traditionally a family affair was severely disrupted by the pandemic last year.  It is up to every responsible citizen to avoid the calamity this year.  Third-wave or not, let us practice the health and safety protocols as a matter of principle and save lives.  We owe it to humanity in this month of human rights.

When you visit the Castle, the permanent and temporary exhibitions and collections that carry the coming season's messages are at your disposal.  The William Fehr, Secunde House, Military Museum, Cape Muslim Heritage Art, Ceramic, Posterity, and Rhino poaching exhibitions echo the greed, selfishness, and general disrespect for the other.  But these exhibitions also carry stories of resilience, heroism, and hope – vital ingredients required during today's trying times.  Please engage with the collections and feedback your invaluable comments. They mean a lot to us.

Opening Soon: The Camissa Museum at the Castle

We are currently putting the final touches on arguably one of the most significant permanent exhibitions in decades, the Camissa Museum. The following excerpt from the Camissa Prospectus (2020) sums up the project:

"The Camissa Project's objectives are to inform all South African communities about history and heritage they know little about because unhealthy friction and even violence have come to dominate relations between Camissa Africans and other African communities. In some ways, this is a peace-building project as much as it is about the restoration of memory, leading to restorative justice. Teachers and school pupils, students, and the general public will find the museum exhibition and challenges exposed to be fascinating and enhance inter-community discourse in South Africa. It will also contribute to healing and finding African unity. It will also expose white South Africans to many contradictions within their history of the Cape and South Africa and contribute to understanding and healing. For the tourist community, for the first time, they may better understand the history and peopling of the Cape."

I am indeed looking forward to the opening of this virtual museum in the next month or so. Watch this space.

Stay safe, healthy, and hopeful.

Castle Greetings...

Chief Executive - Castle Control Board

 

South African Museums Association

Recommended Norms & Standards
For The Operating of Museums
During COVID-19

08 July 2020

- Click here to view the document -

Old map of the Cape Colony from the sixteen hundreds

The Castle of Good Hope is known locally as "The Castle". Its Dutch name is "Kasteel de Goede Hoop" and is a bastion fort built in the 17th century in Cape Town, South Africa. The Castle was originally located on the coastline of Table Bay but, following reclamation, the fort is now located a short distance inland within the Central Business District. The Castle was declared a historical monument (now a provincial heritage site) in 1936. Following restoration work in the 1980s, it is considered the best preserved example of a 17th century architectural structure in the entire world.

History

In 1652, the Dutch East India Company (DEIC) settled on the shores of Table Bay to establish a refreshment base for ships en route from Europe to East Asia and to maintain its monopoly over the Spice Trade. Built by the DEIC between 1666 and 1679, the Castle of Good Hope is the oldest existing colonial building in South Africa. It replaced an older fort called the Fort de Goede Hoop which was constructed from clay and timber and built by Jan van Riebeeck, the first Commander of the Cape.

During 1664, tensions between Britain and the Netherlands rose amid rumours of war. That same year, Commander Zacharias Wagenaer, successor to Jan van Riebeeck, was instructed by Commissioner Isbrand Goske to build a pentagonal fortress out of stone. The first stone was laid on 2 January 1666. Work was interrupted frequently because the DEIC was reluctant to spend money on the project.

On 26 April 1679, the five bastions were named after the main titles of William III of Orange-Nassau: Leerdam to the west, with Buuren, Katzenellenbogen, Nassau, and Oranje clockwise from it.

The Castle of Good Hope in 1680

In 1682 the gated entry replaced the old entrance, which had faced the sea. A bell tower, situated over the main entrance, was built in 1684—the original bell, the oldest in South Africa, was cast in Amsterdam in 1697 and weighs just over 300 kilograms (660lb). It was used to announce the time, as well as warning citizens in case of danger, since it could be heard 10 kilometres away. It was also rung to summon residents and soldiers when important announcements needed to be made.

The fortress housed a church, bakery, various workshops, living quarters, shops, and cells, among other facilities. The yellow paint on the walls was originally chosen because it lessened the effect of heat and the sun. A wall, built to protect citizens in case of an attack, divides the inner courtyard, which also houses the De Kat Balcony – now with the “Kings of the Castle” statues in front of it. The original balcony was built in 1695, but rebuilt in its current form between 1786 and 1790. From the balcony, announcements were made to soldiers, slaves and burghers (town inhabitants) of the Cape.

During the Second Boer War (1899–1902), part of the castle was used as a prison, and the former cells remain to this day.

The Castle acted as local headquarters for the South African Army in the Western Cape, and today houses the Castle Military Museum and ceremonial facilities for the traditional Cape Regiments. The Castle is also the home of the Cape Town Highlanders Regiment, a mechanised infantry unit.

SA Tourism Services Association
Frequently Asked Questions For Tourists Travelling To SA [PDF 2MB]
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Tourism Industry Standard Protocols
For COVID-19 Operations

DOWNLOAD the document here.

Updated Lockdown
Level 2 Regulations
25 August 2020

 

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Answering your questions on filming procedures during COVID-19 lock down.

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An infographic with tips and emergency contact numbers.

DOWNLOAD the infographic here.

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Contact Number:
021 487 6552

Four steps for visitor safety.

DOWNLOAD the infographic here.

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Latest Events

To see the latest upcoming events at the Castle of Good Hope, click on a day or the month title to display the event(s).

April 2021
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Key Ceremony

TIMES
10:00|12:00 

This showcases the unlocking of the Van der Stel entrance of the Castle of Good Hope by the ceremonial guards of the castle. It is a past practice that is still practised today.

Canon Firing

TIMES
10:00|11:00|12:00 

The firing of the signal cannon was used to indicate that a ship had been sighted at sea and to relay the message to people inside the fort. You can view the firing of an old cannon, performed by the Cannon Association of South Africa.

Guided Tours

TIMES
11:00|12:00|14:00|15:00|16:00 

Unearth the hidden history of the Castle with a guided tour led by an experienced guide. Tours operate seven days a week.

 

Please note that the Key Ceremony, Cannon Firing & Guided Tour activities have been suspended due to COVID-19 protocols at this time.

 

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