Group smashes seat

2015-09-29 06:00
A mosaic bench on St Georges Mall has been damaged by activists.

A mosaic bench on St Georges Mall has been damaged by activists. PHOTO: LERATO MADUNA

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The City of Cape Town has condemned the action of a group of Khoisan activists who smashed one of the mosaic benches at Krotoa Place last week.

“Irrespective of the reasons, there could never be any justification for the use of violence and the destruction of public property as we witnessed in Krotoa Place on Tuesday last week,” says Brett Herron, chairperson of the City’s naming committee.

Krotoa Place, the small square at the intersection of Castle Street and St Georges Mall, was named after the legendary Khoi­san descendant Krotoa van Meerhoff.

She was a niece of Autshumato, an influential trade negotiator and interpreter, and sister-in-law to Oedassa, chief of the powerful Cochoquas.

At the time of the first European settlement at the Cape in 1652, she was taken into the fort by Jan Van Riebeeck and his wife as a servant when she was about 10 years old. She became fluent in Dutch and also spoke English and Portuguese, acting as an interpreter and negotiator.

In the past three years since the renaming of the square to Krotoa Place and the installation of mosaic benches, the City has not been approached with any grievance or complaint, says Herron.

“The Rock Girl Safe Spaces campaign donated two benches in 2012 and they were placed at Krotoa Place so that people could sit around the square,” he says.

“I am horrified by this thoughtless and cunning destruction of a bench that was ironically donated in an effort to oppose violence against women and children.”

Donated artworkThe bench that was destroyed was unveiled as part of the renaming ceremony in 2012.

It was an artwork donated by the Rock Girl Safe Spaces campaign, which was aimed at creating safe places for women and children and to raise awareness in the effort to end violence against women and girls.

The campaign was inspired by a group of Grade 7 pupils from Manenberg

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