Social compact will see Khoi and San culture recognised at River Club development
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A model of co-operation between First Nation collective and private property owner
Cape Town - Following extensive consultative talks, a coalition of Cape Town’s First Nations leaders have signed a social compact with the Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust (LLPT) at the controversial River Club development site.
On Wednesday, representatives of the Western Cape First Nations Collective Trust (FNCT) signed the unique social compact at a ceremony held at the site. Mayor Dan Plato with one of the last fluent speakers of theN|uu language, Queen Katrina Esau of the San, were in attendance.
The social compact is a model of co-operation between the Khoi and San collective and the private property owner, which will see heritage features constructed or conserved as part of the redevelopment. This will include a dedicated Cultural Heritage and Media Centre, operated and managed by the First Nations.
The centre will also serve as an income generating stream to further promote projects and interests of the First Nations people in the province: an indigenous garden, heritage eco-trail and garden amphitheatre.
The plants in the indigenous garden will be selected by a specialist botanist with expertise in First Nations botany, and will include medicinal plants traditionally utilised by First Nations peoples.
“This social compact serves to preserve and build upon the resources of knowledge so that descendants of First Nations people will have a place in our city that celebrates them as well as their ancestors. The inclusion of First Nations history and culture here, in the River Club redevelopment, solidifies First Nations people’s presence in the history of our country,” said Plato.
“Not only will our important history be acknowledged, but this development will also be a significant boost to our city’s economy in the wake of the devastation of the pandemic.
“It strikes that crucial balance between honouring the heritage of our people, rebuilding our economy, and rehabilitating the damaged natural environment.”
FNCT representative Chief !Garu Zenzile Khoisan said: “We as the First Nations have fought a battle for almost three decades. We have gone everywhere, even to presidents of this country. But what we did here at the River Club was an act of radical reconciliation.”
LLPT said: “The LLPT is proud that it can facilitate a project that will not only bring much-needed economic growth and job creation to the city (including 5 239 construction jobs and 860 jobs when operational) but which will also contribute to the protection of the city’s biodiversity and will see the memorialisation and celebration of the First Nations people whose history and heritage, for too long, has been under-appreciated and under-recognised.”