Character disappearing

2016-08-30 06:00
Margaret Elsworth with the remaining bronze candlestick similar to the one that was recently stolen from St Paul’s Church in Rondebosch.

Margaret Elsworth with the remaining bronze candlestick similar to the one that was recently stolen from St Paul’s Church in Rondebosch. (Lydia van der Merwe)

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There’s a call to bring back the historical village character of Rondebosch and stop the rot that is affecting the area.

The ongoing deterioration of Rondebosch Village was the main topic of discussion at a recent meeting between the Groote Schuur Community Improvement District (GSCID) CEO, Anthony Davies, and Dr Margaret Elsworth, a concerned community member and leading member of Saint Paul’s Church on the main road.

At this meeting Elsworth highlighted three major problems affecting not only the church but also the broader Rondebosch community.

“There is constant heavy traffic congestion along sections of the main road causing a serious gridlock,” she says.

“Another problem is ongoing vagrancy and related social issues as well as the loss of the historic Rondebosch Fountain which was such an iconic landmark in this area.

“All of this is contributing to the disappearance of the charming character this area was once so well known for.”

Rondebosch has been without its iconic fountain since a motor accident caused irreparable damage to it last year.

Efforts to replace the fountain have as yet not been successful.

“A new fountain needs to erected to try and bring back some of the original Rondebosch character,” adds Elsworth.

She also points out that the homeless in the area continue to present an ongoing challenge.

“The church, with its open grounds, is a real target for vagrancy,” says Elsworth.

“On Sundays before our service I usually go there earlier to remove the waste and excrement that has accumulated around the church buildings but particularly on and near the steps where church goers enter the church. The open door policy for worshippers has also resulted in them becoming victims of theft.

“We try and keep the church open every week day,” says Elsworth. “But, we had one of two large bronze altar candlesticks, as well as two smaller candlesticks stolen.”

One of the plans for the future is that the church, in conjunction with the GSCID, is intending to host a public meeting for role-players and decision-makers to discuss how best the Rondebosch business community can work together to tackle the problems identified.

V Members of the public who are in possession of any close-up photos of this monument are urged to please send them to Heritage.Management@capetown.gov.za to help with a restoration project.

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