The Castle of Good Hope, which remains in the centre of Cape Town many years after it was first built
by colonial settlers, was once the nerve centre of South Africa’s difficult past – colonial injustice and racial oppression.
It is a standing reminder and sanctuary for the defence of a brutal system that robbed the majority of South Africans of their dignity,
Colonial castle becomes social identity, land and other benefits of their country’s economic potential.
The Castle of Good Hope, which officially turned 350-years-old in January 2016, is the country’s oldest building and its age, content,
adaptive re-use and ongoing historical significance is indeed a major milestone in the life of the country’s young democracy.
The history of the colonial monument should be taught to young people for nation building and unity, she added.
“The commemoration of the 350 years’ existence of the castle offers us a unique opportunity to revisit, reinterpret and rewrite our complex, brutal colonial and apartheid history in a manner that is fully inclusive, restorative, respectful and educational.
“As with all events like these, the decision to commemo rate was
not taken lightly, that is why we decided not to call this a celebration but rather a commemoration.
We need to embrace our collective history and heritage – whether it is good, bad or ugly.
The commemoration offered the opportunity to rewrite colonial history Colonial castle becomes
in a manner that will enhance healing and nation building, pointed out Minister Mapisa-Nqakula.
“And it must start with primary school children – all of whom must
be taught about the history of the castle in their history books.”
The Minister said government had resolved to transform the castle from what it used to stand for to a place of nation building and reconciliation.
“This bastion of colonialism must, through a balanced interpretation of history, become a centre of healing and learning.
“It is of critical importance that young South Africans study the true history of the castle and, from lessons learnt, be part of efforts to achieve the overarching objective to heal and reconcile this nation.
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