WELCOME TO 2015 !
2015 started on a strange note for Capetonians, with the shifting of the Tweede Nuwejaar * Carnival to a date so far from the start of the year that it felt disconnected. Whether you support the Carnival or not, you can’t argue with it being an important part of this city’s heritage. It’s a pity that so much of its history got lost along the way. What a powerful link for us all to remember that part of our past is located in the shameful enslavement of people, and the joy and meaning that they found in this day of celebration during their time of enslavement. This association make more apparent the connection between Tweede Nuwejaar and the Emancipation Day Walk in the Night which we have been involved with for a number of years now, to mark the day on which the enslaved people at the Cape were freed by law (1 December 1834).
But that, I suppose, is the nature of history. It is up to those of us who care about the past to keep it alive. Seven Steps members continue to lead the way in showing how much they care about making sure that a forgotten past stays alive!
* Second New Year
As usual, our first ‘Seven Steps’ members’ activity and public programme for the year starts with the 11 February commemoration of the declaration of District Six as a White Group Area (1966). The closing in of the historic cairn of stones in old Hanover Street by the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) construction has been an intense focus of 2014 and is likely to continue in the current year.
While we continue to pay attention to the future of the cairn, we should at the same time be vigilant about the other sites of memory which are potentially at risk. This includes the Memorial Park (Horstley Street), Lydia’s School (Dry Dock), Hanover Street from the site of the cairn to the Holy Cross Church and, also, the site of the first pilot phase of housing development—representing years of struggle for the land.
Bonita Bennett (Director), 30 January 2015