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To celebrate Heritage Month, here are 6 sites of historical importance to visit in SA

Published Sep 30, 2021


South Africa is known for its rich cultural heritage and with this history comes an array of buildings which locals and tourists love to visit.

Some of these have not been as well preserved as others but many are still in daily use, either as museums or landmarks of interest.

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Here are a few of the country’s many buildings and homes of historical importance.

1 Koopmans-De Wet House, Cape Town

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This former home was built in 1701 but underwent additions over the years until 1793. It was named after one of the last people to live in it, Marie Koopmans de Wet. It also used to be the location of an influential salon frequented by prominent politicians and personalities.

The property, at 35 Strand Street, was declared a provincial heritage site in 1940.

Today, it serves as a museum and is the oldest house museum in the country.

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2 Lindfield House, Johannesburg

Lindfield House, Johannesburg. Picture:

Located in the suburb of Auckland Park, this former Victorian home – which used to be called Grey Roofs – is now a museum. It is set up exactly as it would have been when it was first built in 1910.

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Lindfield House, which was built on half an acre (about 2 200m²), was declared a provincial heritage site in June 2012 but this classification has since lapsed.

3 Mandela House, Soweto

Nelson Mandela lived in this home from 1946 to 1962 and, after his release from prison in 1990, he returned there. Built in 1945, the property is now the Mandela Family Museum.

It is situated on Vilakazi Street in Orlando West and still has bullet holes in its walls and scorch marks from petrol bombs.

The property is currently a provincial heritage site but requests have been made to have it declared a national heritage site.

4 The Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town

Known locally as The Castle, this 17th-century bastion fort was declared a historical monument in 1936. Built by the Dutch East India Company between 1666 and 1679, it is the oldest colonial building in South Africa.

Today, The Castle – which was once the local headquarters for the South African army in the Western Cape – is home to the Castle Military Museum.

5 The Union Buildings, Pretoria

This building, designed by Sir Herbert Baker and considered to be an architectural masterpiece, was completed in 1913 and houses the country’s administrative offices, including the offices of the president.

It was constructed mostly with local materials.

The building was declared a national heritage site in December 2013, and has become a symbol of the country’s democracy.

6 Quadrant House, Durban

This property, on Durban’s Victoria Embankment, was built in 1929 to house a naval school.

The five-storey building is now a modern office block with balconies and an entertainment area on the rooftop.

It was declared a provincial heritage site in 1988.

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