Cape Town - Despite the inclement weather across the Western Cape and parts of the country, communities came together to celebrate the country’s richness in diversity and heritage over the weekend, as well as to remember the devastations that had impacted communities such as mass forced removals as a result of apartheid-enforced policies.
Heritage Day was commemorated on Sunday, with several events taking place since the start of the weekend.
In Simon’s Town, a Heritage Day commemorative march took place from Jubilee Square to the Simon’s Town Museum, organised by the museum and the Simon’s Town Phoenix Committee.
The march saw historically displaced communities gather with signs displaying the names of the streets they had grown up on, a reminder of Simon’s Town’s dark history of violent displacement.
The annual Heritage Day march has been held every year since 1996.
Museum Education Officer Tazneem Wentzel said: “It is a day when Simonites, who were forcibly removed, reclaim the town and commemorate our forced goodbyes. It is a bittersweet day of reunions of old friends. This year, we wanted to make the day intergenerational. We had the Ocean View Khoi group, the Kleinberg Marching Band, the Silverjare Senior Group, the Senior Support Group, the Women’s Forum, and Members of Forever Young.”
Guest speaker was author, scriptwriter and playwright Chase Rhys and guest performer Owen Davids.
The programme also featured a screening of the documentary Removed by Loren Loubser, which documents the story of Redhill and centres around the topics of reparations and the forced removals.
At the Artscape Theatre, a special Rainbow Rhythms concert was held on Saturday. Directed by Basil Appolis, and inspired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s concept of the rainbow nation, the performance saw diverse musical styles and expressions converge.
Some of the performers included ethno-music specialists, Hilton Schilder and his Goema band, Dizu Plaatjies and his marimba ensemble and the Figure Of 8 Dance Collective dancers.
The Riel dancers from Clanwilliam showcased the oldest indigenous folk dance, and Ahneesh Valodia and his Taare Dance Troupe, Culture Shock’s Malay Choir and minstrels, and Afrikaaps Hip Hop artist Jitsvinger also took part.
The Castle of Good Hope’s Heritage weekend programme, under the national theme, “Celebrating Our Cultural Diversity in a Democratic South Africa”, started on Saturday and concluded yesterday.
Castle control board CEO Calvyn Gilfellan said: “Heritage, embedded in all spheres of socio-cultural and economic life, is not for the faint-hearted. Hence, the Castle and its partners are not scared to tackle the difficult heritage topics.
“Heritage diversity and democracy unaccompanied by tangible changes in the quality of life of the impoverished is an empty gesture.”