Covid-19:
Looking Back To The Future

Good Day Castle Friends

It was about this time last year when the full might of the most devastating pandemic hit humanity.  The 356-year Castle was not spared and had to respond to the worst human and economic crisis in recent history.

Despite the debilitating operational impacts of the pandemic, the Castle Control Board (CCB) took a conscious decision not to lament but use the full might of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) to advance their heritage, tourism, and conservation mandates.  During these extraordinary times, the CCB organised virtual tours, virtual seminars, virtual exhibitions, blended events and even hosted a couple of international film shoots.

The CCB joined forces with artists, performers, community organisations, religious leaders and exhibitors to launch a series of thought-proving exhibitions:

  • "Posterity" with its focus on gender-based and other forms of societal violence and links with our colonial past;
  • "If These Bones Could Talk" about rhino poaching;
  • "Imam Haron" dealing with the life and times of this struggle cleric;
  • "Dulcie September" dealing with this anti-apartheid activist's death by letter-bomb;
  • "Cape Muslim Heritage Art Exhibition",
  • the Cape Minstrel symbolic demonstration to usher hope into the new year;
  • the Camissa Museum heritage initiative - a development with the potential to change the course of history and historiography in our land.

These exhibitions and other innovative events attracted unprecedented media interest, reaching an audience of over half a billion people.

During the current financial year, the CCB will endeavour to significantly beef up its income generation capacity by improving the restaurant, gift shop, and conference offering. We are thus extremely grateful towards all our loyal clients and supporters and in particular the Department of Defence, who threw out a life-line when we faced our darkest of hours.

On-site and perimeter security management remain a key priority. In this regard, the CCB and its on-site SANDF partners, are engaging the City of Cape Town, SAPS and private sector to improve crime prevention at the Castle's Grand Parade entrance.

Depending on the lock-down restrictions, the CCB will undertake a concerted marketing effort to get scholars, students, community members and tourists in their numbers back on site. The Board has again committed itself to clean, effective corporate governance and expects nothing but a clean audit for the year behind them. The latter, plus our global status as a heritage thought-leaders, will build confidence, the bedrock for our journey of recovery…

Yours in heritage for development

Chief Executive - Castle Control Board

 

First ever cyberbullying workshop co-hosted with
Trafalgar High at the Castle of Good Hope
[1 June 2021]

 

Deputy Minister of Defence & Military Veterans
Mr Thabang Makwetla's Visit to the Castle
[3 June 2021]

South African Museums Association

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

08 July 2020

- Click here to view the document -

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Legend Of Isandlwana Lives On

18th November 2018.

 

Zulu King Cetshwayo had been pushed into a war that he never wanted with England. Yet, the first battle of that conflict had the unlikeliest of outcomes, writes Dougie Oakes.

Cape Town – The mood of the congregation was sombre as Bishop John William Colenso stepped up to the pulpit of the Anglican Church in Bishopstowe in the colony of Natal – and started speaking…

Those who expected a sermon full of fire and brimstone were wrong. There were no calls for retribution against the Zulu king, Cetshwayo. There was no finger-pointing (at the Zulu people). And there were no predictions of doom and gloom.

There were deep expressions of sorrow, of course – but what Colenso said was peppered with nuggets of good sense: “We ourselves have lost very many precious lives, and widows and orphans, parents, brothers, sisters, friends are mourning bitterly their sad bereavements,” he said. “But are there no griefs – no relatives that mourn their dead – in Zululand? And shall we kill 10 000 more to avenge the losses of that dreadful day?”

It was March 1879 – and a mixture of anguish and anger was sweeping through the white communities of Natal.

Just a few weeks earlier, Cetshwayo had been pushed into a war that he never wanted with England. Yet, the first battle of that conflict, on January 22, 1879, on a hillside near a towering rock known to local people as Isandlwana, had the unlikeliest of outcomes…

Isandlwana was aptly described as a fight in which “a proletariat army from the world’s foremost capitalist nation was defeated by a part-time force of peasant farmers in a short, bloody and eventually inconclusive battle that rocked the British Empire to its core”.

“The Zulus attacked the red-coated British because they feared for their land and their independence. The British soldiers, drawn from the very poorest level of the working classes, fought back because they had been lured, like Private Moss from Wales, to take the Queen’s shilling’.”

It was a contest between spear and the most modern weaponry of the day, but thanks to a mixture of British arrogance, stupidity and bad planning, it was those who fought with spears who were victorious.

More than 1 500 redcoats, and an even greater number of Zulu fighters, died in the battle.

Cetshwayo was no one’s fool. It had taken a bruising battle – which had later escalated into a civil war – against his brother, Mbuyazi, for him to become the main contender to succeed his father, Mpande, as monarch of the Zulu kingdom.

When he became king in 1872, following the death of Mpande, he was keen to build a good relationship with the British administration in Natal. But he refused to be told how to run his kingdom. He needed to tread a fine line, and in this he succeeded admirably.

But then diamonds were discovered – and matters changed inexorably.

British colonial secretary Lord Carnarvon decided the best way to administer a southern Africa with far greater economic possibilities, but with a growing need for cheap labour, was via “confederation”.

By this he meant a region in which Briton, Boer and every African chiefdom would operate with some independence, under the control of England.

Although it was obvious that Cetshwayo would never agree to such an arrangement, Lord Carnarvon decided that there were many ways to skin a cat.

He left it to his most enthusiastic supporter, his Natal wheeler-dealer, Theophilus Shepstone, to decide how – and when – to bring this about.

Shepstone opted for the tried-and-tested: pick a fight with Cetshwayo and defeat him, using superior weaponry.

The British High Commissioner, Sir Henry Bartle Frere, set the ball rolling by pretending a number of minor border incidents were major threats to the security of Natal. The tipping point came when the sons of a Zulu chief seized two of their father’s adulterous wives in Natal, dragged them into Zululand, and killed them.

Cetshwayo was given an ultimatum: hand over the sons, pay 500 cattle in compensation, and disband his army and his age-group system of military organisation – within 20 days.

There was no way he could comply. All he could do was insist that “the king has, however, declared, and still declares that he will not commence war, but will wait till he is actually attacked before he enters on a defensive campaign”.

In January 1879, British forces entered Zululand – and on January 22 came the shock of Isandlwana.

As Cetshwayo feared, Zulu losses at Isandlwana and, on the same day, at nearby Rorke’s Drift were horrific. And as the weeks passed, casualties mounted at an alarming rate, with serious losses at Kambula and Gingindlovu especially.

Then, on July 4, the redcoats attacked the royal headquarters at Ulundi, razing it and forcing Cetshwayo to flee.

On August 28, he was captured in the Ngome Forest and sent to Cape Town, where he was held at The Castle, while the Zulu kingdom was”dismembered” into 13 parts, each of which was put under the control of pliant chiefs.

A striking figure, Cetshwayo handled himself with great dignity, refusing to be regarded as a curiosity and insisting that he be given European clothes to wear while in Cape Town. Many people who saw him commented that he was not the overgrown ogre painted by colonial officials.

Although he couldn’t read and write, he displayed a remarkable grasp of local, national and international politics. In this he was assisted by Bishop Colenso and his social activist daughter, Harriette.

Cetshwayo fought with dogged persistence to win back his freedom – and the kingdom of Zululand. In this regard, his key weapon was a letter-writing campaign that drew in prominent officials and even the monarch of England, Queen Victoria.

In March 1881, in a letter written from The Castle to Sir Hercules Robinson, the governor of the Cape Colony, he wrote: “I have done you no wrong, therefore you must have some other object in view to invading my land.

“How is it,” he asked, alluding to the fact that Shepstone had backed his ascension to the Zulu throne, “that they crown me in the morning and dethrone me in the afternoon.”

Cetshwayo’s persistence earned him a trip to England to state his case.

There, he impressed as many parliamentarians and ordinary people as he did in Cape Town.

He was freed in July 1883, but his return to Natal sparked a war with his main rival, Zibhebhu. Forced to flee his territory, he sought refuge with the British Resident Commissioner in Eshowe, where he died in 1884.

Cape Times

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

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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.

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Contact Number:
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Four steps for visitor safety.

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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).

June 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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