Stop here for a glimpse of the area

2017-07-18 06:00
A total of 21 historical interpretive boards have been installed recently along a section of Main Road. PHOTO: City of Cape Town

A total of 21 historical interpretive boards have been installed recently along a section of Main Road. PHOTO: City of Cape Town

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A collection of interpretive boards along Main Road have been installed by the City of Cape Town, in collaboration with the local historical associations in Muizenberg and Kalk Bay.

A total of 21 historical interpretive boards were installed recently along a section of Main Road, over a distance of almost 4.5km.

The boards aim to tell the story of the people who lived in this part of the city over the centuries, says Eddie Andrews, Mayco member (South).

“Locals and tourists who stroll along the new sidewalks that we have constructed along this section of Main Road will see the new storyboards as they are taking in the views of the impressive Muizenberg mountains and False Bay. Some of the boards are placed at other popular public open spaces, for instance at the pedestrian rail crossing at York Street for those who are passing through towards Surfers’ Corner, and at Muizenberg Park at the corner of Camp and Main roads.”

The project forms part of the rehabilitation of Main Road, Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development, says. “A team of experts – including a spatial historian, historical archaeologist, social historian, narrator and the Muizenberg Historical Conservation Society and Kalk Bay Historical Association – formed part of the committee who selected and developed the themes depicted on the storyboards. A number of archives and individual collectors contributed to this project by making their postcards, family collections and other useful photos available. Thus, this can be described as a collective effort by the City, local residents and non-profit organisations who are passionate about the diverse history of Cape Town.”

Some of the themes on the storyboards include the story of the indigenous KhoeSan hunter-gatherers and herders who were the first to settle around this area, chapels, mosques and synagogues, surfing culture and hippie and New Age movements, the Battle of Muizenberg, the fishing history of the area, local architecture and the area’s status as a coastal ­resort.

“The storyboards are cleverly designed, with maps, photos, drawings and text telling the stories of the people who have lived in this area for over 400 years. It shows how the peninsula has evolved from a food provider to a fun holiday destination, and the conflict and development that came with it. It is the collective story of our rich and diverse cultural heritage,” says Herron.

Andrews adds: “Most interesting is that freed slaves, political exiles and Filipino mariners found a home on the False Bay coast. Families lived in mixed neighbourhoods. Fishermen from the Philippines were Catholic and St James was their patron saint. Many slaves and exiles were Muslim and summer visitors and the owners of villas attended the Jewish synagogue on ­Saturdays.”

The purpose of the storyboards is not to create a complete historical overview of the area, but to give locals and tourists a glimpse of the southern peninsula and its people, says Herron.

“We have worked for nearly two years on finalising this project. I encourage residents to take a closer look at these boards next time they are strolling along Main Road.”

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