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 -

CEO Welcome Letter - August 2018

17th August 2018.

 

 

Welcome to the Castle of Good Hope, South Africa’s oldest surviving building still in use today…

Every morning when I arrive at work, I have to remind myself what a huge privilege and honour it is to open the doors of the oldest, operating office in the country.

There is not a single day that is the same as the one before. Sometimes my early morning catching up on emails session is interrupted with the wild exciting laughter of hundreds of school kids running past my open window. On other days the inquisitive questions in heavy foreign accents and on others just deafening silence – as if the Castle is an island far away from the hustle and bustle the City of Cape Town. On other days, it is the sounds from the resident Egyptian geese competing with those of the not-so-resident starlings creating a cacophony of life and an ambience nowhere to be found.

Whether you come here for to appreciate the architectural a kindergarten parties, military parades, memorial services, Ministerial functions, weddings, Khoi full-moon ceremonies, Hollywood feature film-shoots, Christmas parties, birthday celebrations, corporate dinners/lunches/breakfasts, films festivals, conferences, Nama language classes, workshops for abused women and children, skills exchange programmes, entrepreneurial initiatives, community building workshops, traditional indigenous seminars, award evenings, dance lessons, cooking competitions, markets, birthday parties, Voortrekker conventions, youth camps, commercial and non-commercial TV-shoots, art classes and the likes all find themselves merrily happening between the castle’s five bastion walls!

Built between 1666 and 1679, the Castle is the oldest surviving building in South Africa and has been the center of civilian, political and military life at the Cape from approximately 1679.

Simplistically put the Castle fulfilled two historical roles – to keep the VOC’s officials safe inside but also to keep the indigenous people out. That is fast changing. Under the motto “bringing the castle to the people and taking the castle to the people” every South African and world citizen are welcomed to appreciate and celebrate in their own unique way what is offered by this 350 year old time-capsule.

I often scan through what the tourist reviews say about the Castle: some glorify the magnificent combination of Dutch an English architecture that has defied almost 350 year of Cape weather; others are attracted by the macabre sites of torture, horror and incarnation. In addition, yes, there are the ones attracted by ghosts!

However, for me it is the link the Castle provides with the past the present and the future – making it a true simple of and Good Hope.

Welcome and take your time even if your tour guide is trying to spur you on to your next appointment.

Calvyn Gilfellan,
Chief Executive
Castle Control Board

 

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

 

ccb SATSA FAQs

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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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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