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

 

CEO’S Spring Message: Heritage & Tourism Month

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On 22/23 September, the Southern Hemisphere officially heralds Spring. In geographical terms, Spring is the time of equinox which means the day and night is of the same length!  In the Cape, it is the season of magic and wonder!

Well, as South Africans, we make the most of the most beautiful season of the year. September is Tourism and Heritage Month, and South Africans also celebrate a host of other nature- and societal days during this time of rejuvenation, revival, growth, and hope.

The theme for this year’s World Tourism Day is “Tourism and jobs – a better future for all” whilst heritage month’s is: “Celebrating South Africa’s literary classics in the year of indigenous languages”.  What better place to celebrate both months at South Africa’s oldest surviving building – the 352-year old Castle of Good Hope.  Access to the Castle if free on the 24th of September 2019.  Come with your family, friends and picnic baskets – and remember the flat shoes!

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The Gardens to the left of the main entrance of the Castle.

Ode To The Most Beautiful Season

There is something so sublime about an African Spring that it is simply not possible to capture it graphically. But let me give it a try to describe what we experience at the Castle these days:

Spring seems to put a spring in every creature’s step; the Castle of Good Hope and surrounding a case in point. In the Castle moat, which is fed from the Camissa River in Table Mountain, the flock of black cormorants give the fish a hard time. Their feeding frenzy seems like a strategy to make up for the long, hard winter behind them. The wily old Night Heron with his long neck is trying hard to out-fish them but fails to match their angling skills. The coots glide over the fallen leaves from the papyrus plants on the dam; scooping up the abundant insects and other tiny morsels and preparing for the new chicklets’ arrival.

The happy chirps of the mating weavers, sparrows and starling are only drowned out by the shrill screams of the assertive hadedas and peckish gulls.  The awakening of every bloom and leaf the perfect canvas for these unfolding theatrics.

But it is the majestic Egyptian goose that rules the Castle. We are eagerly anticipating their colonisation of our lawns with their large batches of tweeting goslings! And not even the lone Castle barn-owl or stray cat would dare to come close to their brood.

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Bees in the Aloe flowers,
Restitution Garden,
top of Leerdam.
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Night Heron relaxing on one
of the steel cages protecting
young fish in the Moat.

Season Highlights: Major Events

Now back to Heritage and Tourism Months.  Besides the complimentary tours, firing of a real cannon, four museums, exhibitions, expect a bevy of events, festivities, gathering and celebrations for the rest of Spring.  For our tourists, we have just re-instituted the Ghost Tours, sleep-outs and much more.

These are some of the cultural, lifestyle and heritage events we are proudly hosting over the next couple of weeks:

  • Integrated Conservation Management Plan Stakeholder Meeting, 1 October 2019
  • Justice for Imam Haron outdoor exhibition, October/November 2019
  • Big League 3rd Anniversary Concert, 5 October 2019
  • Ceramics SA Exhibition, 7 – 10 October 2019
  • Open Design Africa, 18 – 22 October 2019
  • Unathi Msengana’s Picnic Concert, 19 October 2019
  • Kings of the Castle Boxing Tournament, 26 October 2019
  • Secret Sunset Event, 31 October 2019
  • Doek on Fleek Outdoor Picnic, 2 November 2019
  • Infecting the City, 23-24 November 2019
  • Harley Davidson Lifestyle Centre, 30 November to 1 December 2019

Disclaimer: Information is correct as on 23 September 2019. Patrons are kindly requested to verify events details and changes on our website or from the organisers.

Best Regards

ccb ICMP button

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 2019
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There are currently no open RFQ's and/or RFP's for the Castle Control Board.

Click HERE to view the SCM page.


 

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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