SOUTH AFRICA’S HERITAGE SITES, WHERE TO GO

As South Africa celebrates its rich- history and heritage during the month of September, citizens have been urged to visit the various tourist attractions and places of heritage that the country has to offer.

Government says of critical importance is the fact that Heritage Month is about the restoration of dignity for the people of South Africa, citizenship and nationhood.

It is also important to recognise the injustices and inhumanity of our past in order to continue to pursue our national goal of rejecting all forms of racism, discrimination and sexism,” says the Tourism Department.

Below is the suggestion of places that will take you back in time, trigger some emotions of disbelief and reconnect you with your heritage.

The Cradle of Humankind, which was declared as the World Heritage Site in 1999, takes you on a journey of the evolution of humans. It is on this site, which is about 50 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg that you will get to see human fossils dating back to millions of years ago.

At a site nearby, 15 fossil skeletons of an extinct species of hominin, named Homo Naledi, were discovered recently and captured the interest of the rest of the world. Take your family on a journey to these hidden caves, and be sure to dress comfortably in order to walk through the unique caves.

When it comes to the Castle of Good Hope – a star fort that was built in Cape Town in the 17th century – the story of the coloniser of the Cape, Jan Van Riebeeck always comes to mind.

The Castle, which is said to be the oldest colonial building of its kind in South Africa, was constructed to replace an older fort called Fort de Goede Hoop, which Van Riebeeck built when he arrived at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652.

The Castle, which was declared a provincial heritage site in 2000, has been at the centre of South Africa’s military heritage as it was a centre of the country’s political and military life in the Cape during colonial times. According to Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the Castle is currently being refurbished and will hopefully be declared the ninth site in South Africa to be named as a World Heritage Site.

While the colonisers are well documented in the Castle’s history, the story of a lesser known Khoi woman Krotoa, who was a servant in the Castle, is not mentioned often. Her linguistic talent was key in the negotiations that led to the famous Dutch-Khoi war coming to an end.

The painful past of South Africa’s 20th century is documented at the Apartheid Museum, which opened its doors in 2001.

Take a tour into the museum and learn how the segregation of blacks and whites later laid a foundation for the oppressive apartheid laws and the violence that was accompanied by anti-pass laws protests, amongst others.

Liliesleaf farm in Rivonia is considered South Africa’s place of Liberation, having once been a place of hiding for anti-apartheid activists, including former President Nelson Mandela, among others. The property was the nerve centre of the liberation movement and a place of refuge for its leaders. Today Liliesleaf farm is one of South Africa’s foremost, award-winning heritage sites, where the journey to democracy in South Africa is honoured.

In the early 1960s, Mandela, under the alias of David Motsamai, and his comrades would converge to the property to plan covert operations aimed at fighting the apartheid government. Most of the leaders of the liberation movement were arrested on the property after a raid by security police and they were all tried in what became known as the Rivonia Trial.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK.