IN response to Deena Padayachee’s letter regarding maintaining historic buildings, I simply cannot agree more.
I had to undertake a business trip to Bloemfontein with some members of our company this week.
With a number of meetings planned, we found we had a few hours to spare before returning to the airport.
Our Bloemfontein agent proudly offered to take us to visit a few “older sites” and I was flabbergasted.
The central historic buildings have been immaculately maintained to house mostly government departments.
However, the most impressive building was the previous government’s state president’s residence. Apart from the fabulous gardens and the building itself, it now hosts a privately run tea garden. It is home to stunning works of art that I assume are donated by or commissioned by local artists.
Lunch was surprisingly inexpensive and of an impressive quality.
Later, we walked around the house itself, which is now a home to works of art both old and new, and historical videos explained the past and the works of art. At the exit stood a small donations tin and a request that we “please call again soon”.
It was no wonder our guide was proud to show us around town. I had to wonder, though, would I have done the same if he were visiting Pietermaritzburg. Admittedly, living here my whole life I have yet to wonder through the halls of many of our heritage sites.
To our guide Claude, many thanks for the tour and to Bloemfontein, may I say well done for the way you have maintained your historical buildings and statues, no matter who they represent and signify.
We may do well to remember that in 100 years we too will be history and I hope someone will be proud enough to tour and remember our contributions to history.