SA's 10 most endangered cultural heritage sites revealed
Thursday, 14th December 2017
The most endangered cultural heritage sites in SA have been announced.
The Most Endangered Cultural Heritage Sites campaign, an annual initiative of the Heritage Monitoring Project (HMP) has identified 2017 cultural heritage sites that face significant risk from natural or human forces in South Africa.
HMP Co-Founder, Jacques Stoltz said: “We aim to provide a platform for heritage activists to share with the public their vision for at-risk sites and how communities can assist in overcoming these risks.”
These sites share common threats, such as a lack of development, maintenance, funding, gentrification and, more to the point, negligence.
-Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, Western Cape
Bo-Kaap is threatened by ongoing gentrification, insensitive developments approved by the City of Cape Town – often resulting in over-scaled, high-rise buildings, and land use being approved in conflict with the predominantly residential character of the area.
The Ratepayers Association has called on the urgent declaration of the Bo-Kaap as a national heritage site and for the proposed Heritage Protection Overlay Zone to be adopted and enforced by the City of Cape Town.
-Goudkoppie Heritage Hill, North West
A lack of funding to address the urgent need for security at the site hampers efforts to stop vagrancy and vandalism. The poor state of facilities is also deterring tourists.
-Jan Smuts House Museum, Irene, Gauteng
Smuts House is in a poor state of repair and the valuable library with rare books dating from the 16th century lacks the requisite climate control necessary for the preservation of a priceless collection.
-Tragedy Hill, Port Edward, KwaZulu Natal
The owner of an adjacent piece of property has applied for a mining permit to begin sand mining and create a borrow pit directly adjacent to Tragedy Hill. The proposed mining also threatens Port Edward’s much-needed tourism economy.
-Botshabelo Mission Station, Mpumalanga
The Botshabelo Community Development Trust gained ownership of land falling within the Botshabelo Nature Reserve. Infighting among the claimant community resulted in years of neglect leading to buildings being vandalised, fences stolen, the disappearance of historic objects and the loss of tourism revenue as visitor numbers dwindled.
-Village of Bathurst, Bathurst, Eastern Cape
Historic Bathurst has identified a number of endangered sites that they hope to restore in time for the bicentenary, such as the Bradshaw Mill, constructed in 1822. The mill remains operational and is a big drawcard for tourists. Keeping it operating is financially and physically demanding and requires rare skills.
-Railway stations & associated structures of South Africa
The Grahamstown Railway Station and platform were completed in 1879. The last line closed in 2009, leaving the station to decay and suffer vandalism.
After, the closure of the line at the Heilbron station, the building was left vacant and has since been vandalised to the extent that it no longer has a roof. Local heritage activists Twin Mosia and Piet Lombard would like to develop the site as a mixed-use tourism attraction.
-Xolobeni Red Dunes, Wild Coast, Eastern Cape
Historic Bathurst has identified a number of endangered sites that it hopes to restore in time for the bicentenary.
-Children’s Memorial Institute (Old Nurses’ Residence), Johannesburg, Gauteng
The Nurses’ Residence has been unoccupied since 1978 when the children’s hospital functions moved to the Johannesburg General Hospital (now Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital)
A lack of proper asset management and maintenance, poor security, vandalism and informal occupation has left the building stripped of many original features and equipment. With doors stolen and windows broken, structural concerns are increasingly apparent.
-Fort Hendrina, Makhado, Limpopo
The Makhado Local Municipality is the custodian of Fort Hendrina. Activists claim that the fort has all but been abandoned by the municipality and is now the victim of neglect, vandalism and in need of restoration.
Article/photo courtesy of: http://www.tourismupdate.co.za/article/129305/SA-s-ten-most-endangered-cultural-heritage-sites-revealed/20