Castle To Become A Beacon Of Inclusivity

9th December 2018.

 

 

Cape Town – With talk of decolonisation echoing through the halls of universities, talk of land reform resounding around the country and nationalisation and redistribution of wealth on the lips of almost every South African, what better place to start than the land’s oldest colonial building?

This weekend, the Castle of Good Hope turns 350, and it is fast-tracking its reimagining by unveiling four statues of men who, up until now, have been little more than footnotes in the country’s history books.

They include king of the amaHlubi, Langalibalele, whom the suburb of Langa is named after and who opposed colonial rule, and Zulu king Cetshwayo, who famously led the resounding defeat of the British army at the Battle of Isandlwana.

Another is Bapedi king Sekhukhune, who through force and political manoeuvring built his kingdom Sekhukhuneland and violently opposed British rule, handing the Boers a number of crushing defeats.

Khoikhoi interpreter Doman, who led the first resistance against the Dutch by setting up monopolies of trade, so as to grow his own people’s wealth at the expense of Jan van Riebeeck and his party.

Walking between the hallowed, majestic bastions of the castle, Leerdam, Oranje, Nassau, Katzenellenbogen and Buuren, through the govenor’s chambers, the castle barracks, old munitions storage facility and the gloomy torture chamber, on guided tours, one is reminded of the cruelty of the past.

The systems of oppression and slavery, the torturous punishment of those who tried to escape slavery, or had the temerity to worship their own gods, refusing to submit to the missionaries, who forced Christianity on the indigenous enslaved tribes.

The Castle of Good Hope, far from shying away from its dreadful past, seeks to remind us, lest we forget.

However, the castle is changing. From its original purpose as the main port of defence, to the housing of the governors of the Cape, to a tourist attraction, the castle has also become a vibrant events venue, recently hosting the inaugural Cape Town Flower Show.

Daily, there are visitors from the US, the UK, Australia, Russia, Belgium and elsewhere around the world, who come to marvel at a structure that ties together iconic parts of Cape Town – timber from the vast forests of Hout Bay in the 1660s, stone from Table Mountain, held together by powerful limestone cement made on Robben Island.

Cape Argus

SA Tourism Services Association
Frequently Asked Questions For Tourists Travelling To SA [PDF 2MB]
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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


There is currently an open RFQ for the Castle Control Board.

Click HERE to view the SCM page.


 

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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).

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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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