Stories capture ‘far south’

2015-09-29 06:00

From sailors and shipwrecks, to princes and imams, to fishermen and prehistoric finds. These are some of the stories of False Bay, now included in a project to boost tourism to the peninsula.

The City of Cape Town recently completed a project that records the history of Cape Town’s South Peninsula through stories. The aim of these stories is to stimulate local interest by illustrating the rich heritage of the area.

The interesting stories about places, buildings, sites, events and people are linked to the history of the area, explains Johan van der Merwe, mayoral committee member for energy, environmental and spatial planning.

“Through this project, the City was able to capture the history of Cape Town’s ‘far south’. The stories have been comprehensively recorded by many residents and each story is about real-life characters and events that have shaped our past. We are particularly excited about initiatives like these which offer a fresh approach to educating residents and tourists about the heritage of our city,” he says.

The project was proposed by ward councillor Simon Liell-Cock and funded through his ward allocation budget.

“The intention was to get these stories out to the public and eventually establish a heritage route along which these stories can be told,” he says.

Liell-Cock hopes the stories will be developed further with community participation and that documentaries based on the stories will be made.

There are a great number of fascinating stories in the South Peninsula, agrees Muizenberg Historical Society’s Chris Taylor. But locals seem ignorant of the rich heritage of the peninsula.

“Ask any passerby about the milestones along Main Road or the Battle of Muizenberg, and you will be met with a blank look. Our stories are not taught in schools. The details tend to lie hidden in old out-of-print books which few people seek out, yet they tell dramatic tales of brave people of every possible ethnic background. There are stories of deceit and betrayal, of magic and superstition, of world-changing events,” he says.

The stories have been selected to balance historical themes from pre-history, through pre-Colonial to Colonial settlement, apartheid and democratic South Africa. They cover the geographical area of Chapman’s Peak southwards to include Imhoff, Ocean View, Masiphumelele, Kommetjie, Witsand, Misty Cliffs and Scarborough, Plateau Road, Cape Point, Smitswinkel Bay to Miller’s Point, Boulders Beach, Simon’s Town, Red Hill, Glencairn and Fish Hoek to Muizenberg.

The stories can be downloaded as a complete document or as individual chapters at www.capetown.­gov.za/heritageinfo.


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