New Heritage Plaque Unveiled at Leeuwenhof
On Wednesday, 18 April 2012, the Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, and the Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Dr Ivan Meyer, unveiled the new badge that will mark all formally declared provincial heritage sites in the Western Cape. This high-profile event happened on International Day for Monuments and Sites at Leeuwenhof. Leeuwenhof is the official residence of the Premier of the Western Cape and is also one of the oldest buildings in Cape Town, dating back to the early years of colonial settlement.
The new ceramic plaque replaces the bronze plaque used by the National Monument Council to designate national monument status. Dr Ivan Meyer said in the presence of members of the Western Cape cabinet and HWC that Leeuwenhof is a historic building and we need to remind people that historical buildings need warning: "The public should know that this site should stand for another 500 years and that the vision of this should be a place where the good government is run."
Premier Zille mentioned that it's a great privilege to unveil the plaque on this historical site and that heritage should not be taken for granted: "We must care for our heritage and it's important to understand it, where our past needs to be analysed and respected and unless we respect our heritage, we cannot have a future." She thanked the HWC for understanding the importance.
HWC celebrates its tenth anniversary this year and CEO, Andrew Hall, said it is essential to uphold cultural heritage and encourage local communities to take pride in it. He said that community members should protect their heritage, embrace it and remember the role it plays to stabilise a community.
The use of the bronze plaque has proven impractical, both from a cost perspective and because of the value of the material making it subject to theft. A lot of thought has gone into the development of the new plaque where ceramic objects were found easy to adhere to structures, resilient and difficult to steal without breaking. The majority of the remaining provincial heritage sites will, over the next few years, be remarked with the new plaque.
The new plaque has the logo of HWC together with the words "provincial heritage sites" in the three official languages of the Western Cape, which promotes respect and understanding for cultural diversity. To commemorate heritage sites around the world, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) launched "International Day for Monuments and Sites" in 1982. This special day is commemorated and celebrated worldwide annually on 18 April. Each year, a theme is selected to help focus the celebration and promotion of cultural heritage across the world. The theme selected for 2012 is World Heritage in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention: Recognising Challenges for the Future.
In April 2000, all former national monuments became provincial heritage sites and since October 2004 have been administrated by Heritage Western Cape (HWC). HWC, one of the public entities of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, recognises that heritage resources are both tangible and intangible and one of their responsibilities is to replace the previous badge on all formally declared provincial heritage sites in the Western Cape with the newly designed version. Established in January 2003, this public entity seeks to identify, protect and conserve the rich and diverse heritage legacy of the Western Cape. There are many landscapes, sites, artifacts, buildings and structures of significance to the people of the Western Cape. Identifying, protecting and conserving these heritage resources will ensure that they are promoted and conserved for generations to come.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport and Heritage Western Cape safeguard cultural heritage and encourage local communities to take pride in it and consider its value to their lives and the shaping of their common identity. To foster respect and understanding for cultural diversity, the Western Cape Government supports the recognition of significant heritage sites, the growing awareness of this shared inheritance and the conservation of its legacy for future generations.