Media Statement: Rocklands Community Hall declared a national heritage site
Following Heritage Western Cape’s submission to the South African Heritage Resource Authority, Minister Anroux Marais is happy to announce the Rocklands Community Hall has been declared a National Heritage Site.
In August 2019, Minister Marais unveiled the Provincial Heritage Site plaque for erf 11553: inclusive of the Rocklands Community Hall, the library, the Memorial Square and the Community Healthcare Centre in Mitchell’s Plain.
At the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport we strive to provide for the conservation, promotion and development of heritage resources to facilitate processes for the standardisation or changes, where necessary, to assist with heritage resource management by implementing at provincial level the mandates of the World Heritage Convention Act, 1999 and the National Heritage Resources Act, 1999. Together with the expert assistance of Heritage Western Cape and the City of Cape Town’s facilitation, the political and social significance of this site is now officially acknowledged and will rightfully be promoted in the public domain as a National Heritage Site.
As a result of in-depth research, following the relevant official processes and interested parties requesting the site be upgraded to a National Heritage Site, the socio-political significance of the Rocklands Community Hall can now be highlighted as a National Heritage Site.
Held at this iconic location, the meeting in which the UDF was established in 1983 was the start of the largest socio-political movement that united South Africans from diverse backgrounds to fight against the injustices of apartheid. Campaigning around issues of housing, education and the unjust status quo of the time, the UDF initially represented 500 organisations from all sectors of society. The Front’s eventual affiliates included trade unions, youth and students, women’s and religious groups, civic associations and political parties. Within a few years, it embraced almost 1000 affiliated groups.
The value of the Rocklands Community Complex lies in its political and social nature and is of outstanding significance for the memorialisation and acknowledgement of civil organisations and their role and contribution to our democratic society as experienced today.
The National Heritage Site status will communicate clearly and definitively that the heritage community and agencies consider this site to be a major and important heritage asset that warrants serious and focussed conservation attention from all parties. National Heritage Site status immediately provides the full protection to these sites described in the National Heritage Resources Act (1999).
Minister Marais said, “The declaration of the Rocklands Community Hall as a National Heritage Site is indeed welcomed by the Western Cape Government as we can all agree that the value of the Rocklands community complex lies in its societal nature, amplified by its socio-political significance. We look forward to collaboratively sharing the significance of the newly declared National Heritage Site of erf 11553 at the Rocklands Community Hall and thank all who had a hand in the approval of the National Heritage Site status. We are indeed grateful to each stakeholder as you have contributed to a community’s sense of place, belonging and purpose and unleashed its potential to yield information contributing to a wider understanding of the history of co-existence in the Western Cape”.
Spokesperson for the Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais
083 504 1171