HERITAGE WEEK 2020 AT THE CASTLE OF GOOD HOPE 

 The 354-year old Castle of Good Hope, after months of forced closure and relative inaction, restarts its return to ‘normality’ with an array of exciting programs and activities.

“September is Heritage and Tourism Month. It thus fits that one of South Africa’s oldest and most imminent heritage-tourism institutions leads the way to mark this important period. Fittingly, the theme for Tourism Month is “Tourism: Building Peace! Fostering Knowledge while the theme for Heritage Month is “Celebrating South Africa’s living human treasures”. We are also very fortunate to use 22 September, World Rhino Day, (which is also the official beginning of Spring in the southern hemisphere), to re-open the Castle with the launch of a harrowing art exhibition coming to the Castle later this year” says Calvyn Gilfellan, CEO of the Castle Control Board.

Herewith some detail of an exciting Heritage Week at the Castle:

22 SEPTEMBER:
WORLD RHINO DAY

This Rhino art exhibition, confirmed to open in the first week of December 2020 officially, tells the story, through art, of an artist’s encounters with rhinos wounded by the greed and cruelty of humans.  Monique van Deventer regularly accompanies her husband, Dr Ryan van Deventer, who is a wildlife veterinarian, on field trips in KZN.  As an artist, Monique was shocked to see the suffering and sometimes death of these animals who are globally being poached to extinction.  Her powerful drawings and ceramic renditions of bones show five specific rhinos who have been affected by this cruelty.  Her sensitive “portraits” bring home the fact that these are sentient beings.

“The exhibition, curated by Carol Brown who is known for her exhibitions and research in art through activism and social concerns, is intended to bring this important issue to the forefront through Monique’s drawings, sculptures and photographs (see attachment). These will be shown in the 354-year-old historic stable in the Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, from mid-December 2020.  This is a joint project with Iziko Museums and the Castle Control Board. The exhibition is intended to be a voice for the ‘voiceless’ and to increase awareness of humanities disregard for and destruction of the planet before it is too late”, says curator Carol Brown.

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23 SEPTEMBER:
SPECIAL PROVINCIAL PRAYER SERVICE FOR THE VICTIMS & SURVIVORS OF COVID-19

Also on Wednesday, is a joint Western Cape Government, City of Cape Town & South African Religious Forum COVID-19 prayer service that will be held in the old Chapel in the Castle.

“COVID-19 came as an unpleasant surprise and shock to all of us.  Many South Africans have lost their lives and livelihoods. This special thanksgiving service is meant to celebrate the lives of those who have succumbed to this deadly virus.  But it is also an opportunity to thank those brave women, men and children who risk their lives in the frontline fighting this scourge. As we move into the phase of re-opening, rebuilding and picking up the pieces, we need to reflect, and thank our Creator for his mercy to those who have made it” says Bishop Templeton, national chairperson of the South African Religious Forum.

The service is scheduled to start at 10h00.

24 SEPTEMBER:
NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY & LAUNCH OF HISTORIC MUSLIM MUSEUM AT THE CASTLE

On Thursday, 24 September, access to the Castle will be FREE OF CHARGE to all South Africans and tourists.

One of the highlights of the day is the launch of a first-ever South African Muslim Heritage Museum (MHMSA).

“Over recent months, members from our community has requested a much-needed Museum for Muslims and their contributions to the South African community at large.  People in Heritage fields had ongoing meetings and eventually registered an NGO and established the MHMSA, Muslim Heritage Museum of South Africa.  It is a first of its nature in South Africa.  Treasure Yourself Magazine came on board as it is often referred to as a ‘moving Museum’ says Fadia Mohammed, spokesperson for this historic initiative.

The Board is inviting all citizens and tourists to join us in our first public event since the March COVID-19 lockdown.  Although it is a fun-day, people must take responsibility for their health and safety by following all the COVID-19 protocols.

 

Media Enquiries: Calvyn Gilfellan, +27 (0)82 3346098 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rhino Exhibition Enquiries: Ms Carol Brown (Curator) on 0837781192.

COVID-19 Prayer Service: Bishop Templeton on 0611782262.

SA Muslim Museum: Ms Fadia Mohammed on 0734781728.

General Enquiries: Mr Sonwabile Maxebengula. +27 (0)73 751 9433 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information on individual events please call: +27 (0)21 787 1260.

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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.

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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).

October 2020
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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.

 

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