Rocklands Community Hall honoured as provincial heritage site
In commemoration of the historical meeting of 20 August 1983 which led to the establishment of the United Democratic Front (UDF), MEC of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais on Tuesday officially unveiled the Provincial Heritage Site plaque at the Rocklands Community hall in Mitchell’s Plain.
Erf 11553: inclusive of the Rocklands Community Hall, the library, the Memorial Square and the Community Healthcare Centre has both political and social significance in that the community hall was built during the early 1980s and provided a convenient space for mass resistance and large scale political gatherings that were organised by anti-apartheid organisations.
Held at this important location, was the meeting in which the UDF was established in 1983. This was the start of the largest socio-political movement that united South Africans from diverse backgrounds to fight against apartheid.
Together with the expert assistance of Heritage Western Cape and the City of Cape Town’s facilitation, the social and political significance of the Rocklands Community Hall will now officially be acknowledged and will rightfully be promoted in the public domain as a Provincial Heritage Site.
During the unveiling ceremony, Marais said: “The Provincial Heritage Site status will now communicate clearly and definitively that the heritage community and agencies consider this site to be a major and important heritage asset that warrants serious and focused conservation attention from all parties.
"Provincial Heritage Site status immediately provides the full protection to these sites described in the National Heritage Resources Act (1999). This is indeed welcomed by the Western Cape Government as we can all agree that the value of the Rocklands community complex lies in its societal nature, amplified by its socio-political significance," Marais said.
"We look forward to collaboratively sharing the significance of the newly officiated Provincial Heritage Site of erf 11553 at the Rocklands Community Hall and thank all who had a hand in the approval of the its status. We are indeed grateful to each stakeholder as they have contributed to a community’s sense of place, belonging and purpose and unleashed its potential to yield information contributing to a wider understanding of the history of co-existence in the Western Cape.”
In his welcoming address, Mayco Member: Dr Zahid Badroodien said: “Let us use this opportunity to realise and re-imagine Mitchells Plain’s potential. Let the Rocklands Community Centre be a place of hope again. A birthplace of new beginnings. Our young people can bring hope to this community again and this site can be the catalyst of much need change.”
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport strive's to provide for the conservation, promotion and development of heritage resources to facilitate processes for the standardisation or changes, where necessary, to assist with heritage resource management by implementing at provincial level, the mandates of the World Heritage Convention Act, 1999 and the National Heritage Resources Act, 1999.