Feb 2017 1st Edition

Royal prisoners honoured at the castle

Written by Amukelani Chauke

Sport, arts and culture

King Cetshwayo, King Langalibalele, King Sekhukhune and Chief Doman were honoured and remembered when Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula unveiled statues of them at the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town recently.

The unveiling was part of the 350-year commemoration of the castle which was part of the colonial government’s exploits from the 17th century.

Inkosi Langalibalele led the Hlubi royal delegation while Chief Basil Coetzee led the delegation representing the Khoi Royal House.

“The statues that you see in front of you is the tangible recognition of these and thousands of other unsung heroes and heroines in colonial wars of resistance.

“It is the beginning of an ongoing commitment to honour all those who gallantly fought against colonial conquest and in turn inspired future generations of freedom fighters,” the Minister said.

The castle, which was first built by Dutch colonists in 1666 after their arrival at the Cape, is associated with many memories of pain and hurt for indigenous tribes encountered on the land at the time.

Built as a military headquarters for the Dutch, the Castle represented colonial injustice, racial oppression and land grabs.

The Minister said while it houses a lot of painful memories, the castle has been revamped and new facilities have been built to promote unity, nation building and social cohesion.

She said the monument should be used as a centre for healing, and all members of the public are encouraged to visit the heritage site.

The castle housed the first formal seat of government until 1811 and also served as prison for high-profile historical figures like King Cetshwayo, Adam Tas, Adam Kok I, King Sekhukhune, and King Langalibalele.

The castle is the oldest building of its kind in South Africa.

To commemorate the castle’s 350 years of existence, government recently gave the monument a R108 million facelift to restore its rich history and heritage. It is hoped that learning about the pain that still exists in the castle walls will foster greater national understanding. 

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