From jailhouse to tourist spot … Project Gateway reinvents itself

2008-11-02 00:00

Project Gateway has launched the Old Prison as one of the major tourist attraction sites in the city. The launch marks the official opening of a coffee shop, fashion shop, the Old Prison Café and the services of a tour guide on the premises.

The tourism project is aimed at generating funds that will be ploughed back into community upliftment projects.

Since taking over the Old Prison premises in 1992, Project Gateway has transformed the property into a useful venue for community development.

Project Gateway chief executive Jabu Mnculwane said 22 churches came together to start Project Gateway.

“We were responding to the needs of the people, communities hounded by violence, poverty, HIV and Aids and other challenges. Over the years we have relied on donations as a means of income, but it is not enough …”

The new developments include craft and souvenir sales and the new café where tourists will be able to unwind.

The Old Prison is rich in heritage and forms part of the “Tourism Route”. Project Gateway hopes that curious tourists will come in their numbers to learn more about the traditional uses of the structure, where many well-known freedom fighters were once detained.

The prison dates back to 1862 and the suffering of its inmates is well documented. It was finally shut down in 1989.

The Old Prison is situated at 4 Burger Street and is open from 8 am to 4.30 pm from Monday to Friday.

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