The Provincial Heritage Site plaque was unveiled at the Rocklands community hall in Mitchell’s Plain on Tuesday 20 August. Anroux Marais, the provincial minister of cultural affairs and sport unveiled the plaque in commemoration of the historical meeting of 20 August 1983 which led to the establishment of the United Democratic Front (UDF).
According to a statement, erf 11553 is inclusive of the Rocklands community hall, the library, the memorial square and the community healthcare centre and has political and social significance. The statement says the community hall was built during the early 1980s and provided a convenient space for mass resistance and large scale political gatherings that were organised by anti-apartheid organisations.
“Held at this iconic location, the meeting in which the UDF was established in the 80s start of the largest socio-political movement that united South Africans from diverse backgrounds to fight against apartheid,” the statement says.
Together with the expert assistance of Heritage Western Cape and the City of Cape Town’s facilitation, the social and political significance of the Rocklands community hall will now officially be acknowledged and will rightfully be promoted in the public domain as a provincial heritage site.
“The provincial heritage site status will now communicate clearly and definitively that the heritage community and agencies consider this site to be a major and important heritage asset that warrants serious and focussed conservation attention from all parties,” Marais said during the unveiling ceremony.
Marais said the status immediately provides the full protection to these sites described in the National Heritage Resources Act (1999).
“We look forward to collaboratively sharing the significance of the newly officiated provincial heritage site of erf 11553 at the Rocklands Community Hall and thank all who had a hand in the approval of its status,” said Marais.
Marais said they are grateful to every stakeholder as they have contributed to a community’s sense of place, belonging and purpose.
Zahid Badroodien, Mayco member for community services and health said, this must be used as an opportunity to realise and re-imagine the potential of Mitchell’s Plain. “Let the Rocklands community centre be a place of hope again; a birthplace of new beginnings. Our young people can bring hope to this community again and this site can be the catalyst of much need change,” said Badroodien.