“It is what we say it is, because WE say it is so!”
Self-declaration by a small band of people that they are a traditional community or that they are leaders and representatives of 17th century traditional formations and, making pronouncements on what is and is not authentic heritage sites, and what nay or may not have happened there, does not make it true, never mind whether such claimants are sincere or not. No individual or a group of individuals acting together, are able to make such claims simply without validation that would have any legal standing.
Like everything that proceeds from the SOCIAL COMMONWEALTH OF HERITAGE, there has to be VALIDATION that what is claimed to be inherited from past generations (ancestors) is indeed so.
Furthermore, there is always an interplay between the TANGIBLE and INTANGIBLE…. and no modern day person or group of people can lay exclusive claim to cultural heritage as though it is solely theirs to claim, based on revived memory. This would be violation of the basic human rights of others who may well have the same heritage.
INTANGIBLE HERITAGE is not stories made up in contemporary times. The INTANGIBLE are traditions and living expressions inherited from ancestors and passed on to descendants through customary practice and oral record.
The legacy of physical and non-physical attributes of social groups that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations
Cultural Heritage is the physical and non-physical expressions of the ways of living developed by communities and passed on from generation to generation, including customs, practices, places, objects, built environments, creative expressions, value systems, beliefs, traditions and lifestyles that traces from antiquity to the recent past.
DEFINING TANGIBLE HERITAGE
Tangible heritage that can be seen and touched. This is perceptible by physical evidence, visual presence, touchable and it is able to be mentally grasped. It is the palpable, ponderable, and sensible.
Sites and Places, Physical Natural Features, Buildings, Built-environments, Monuments, Artworks, Craft, Artefacts, Documents & Records, and other Resources constituting palpable physical evidence inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations.
DEFINING INTANGIBLE HERITAGE
Intangible cultural heritage is commonly defined as not having a physical presence. It is the traditions and living expressions inherited from ancestors and passed on generation to generation socially to descendants through customary practice.
Intangible heritage includes traditions, social and spiritual practices, oral traditions, language, traditional skills, techniques and knowledge, dance, stories, crafts, healing arts, indigenous sciences etc. This includes association of these with places as kept alive within communities.
Intangible heritage involves ancestral legacy or transmission over time as a distinguishing feature from simply being a contemporary belief or conviction. Intangible cultural heritage is by nature communal as distinct from a set of individual beliefs, convictions, interpretations, or practices and therefor requires validation
Both tangible and intangible heritage involves validated and verifiable testament arising out of long established communities rooted in an ancestral tradition with multi-generational trajectories from the past to present which can be verified by means of social record, oral traditions, collective consciousness, social and spiritual practices, beliefs, expressions, and convictions rooted in history – tracing from antiquity to the present.
Ancestral in the context of community implies social transmission over time, and thus is integral to heritage. There also always will be an interplay between tangible validation and intangible validation. In cases of ‘revival of distant heritage’ this will always arise out of communities rather than individuals, and will involve negotiation with such traditional communities which survived over time despite impediment and persecution, and with other claimants, within the parameters of traditional custom and law and non-duplication.
Specifically, this also involves local, national, and international laws that protects social identities from crimes against humanity such as forced assimilation on the one hand or cultural and identity theft on the other; or from marginalisation and discrimination.
APPLYING THESE DEFINITIONS & PRINCIPLES TO THE LIESBEEK LLPT SITE
With these definitions and principles in mind there are a basket of claims made as well as some not examined that requires comment in terms of claims made about the LLPT SITE alongside the Liesbeek River. Some of the claims are spurious, distortions or simply false. By making such claims it is disrespectful and undermining of Khoe and San peoples and descendants as it subjects genuine claims to ridicule and as such is an extension of marginalisation and discrimination faced by traditional indigenous African communities of the Cape and all of those involved intricately in the struggles over the past four decades to have San, Korana, Nama, Griqua and Cape Khoe communities recognised in law – a process that has involved engagement with the UN, ILO, AU, WIMSA, and has reached a crucial stage in a globally brokered recognition process. Here are some of the issues and the facts pertaining to them – both tangible and intangible.
1. The first old trans-riverine passage and cattle track into Peninsula for the transhumance winter-summer cycle is a factor that should be taken into account over the broader heritage area of the southern suburbs. So too are the OUTSPAN sites near to the city, in Maitland and in Brooklyn-Ysterplaat. But it does not include the LLPT Site.
There is NO TANGIBLE existing evidence today of the Vaarsche Drift river crossing nor the short Varsche Vallei passage and the Khoe cattle-tack in the 16th and 17th century.
But there are written records and successive maps showing the topography of the Salt River Estuarian environment and Liesbeek and Black Rivers which have changed configuration multiple times in 370 years, through human interventions by colonists. This involved widespread land infill and building of superstructure on top of what once was, including road, rail, bridge and mass business and housing premises.
An INTANGIBLE reference today for the oldest Khoe and Colonists roads are Voortrekker Road, Lower Main Road, Main Road, and Albert Road. It is a common assertion in SAHRA architectural submissions on heritage that the Khoe cattle tracks from Salt River to Rondebosch was the route of Jan van Riebeeck’s first wagon road and that generally European colonists created roads like Voortrekker Road, Lower and Main Roads, and Albert Road through to Rondebosch and beyond on the cattle-tracks of the Khoe. It is a good example of the interplay of the tangible in informing the intangible. These tracks skirt the marshes, floodplains, wetlands, and bogs. It is also INTAGIBLE to accurately pinpoint the exact location of the River Ford (Vaarsche Drift) and there are no visible signs of the crossing nor the narrow passage known as Vaarsche Vallei. But the rough location for the passage is between Voortrekker Road and the northern railway line and the location of the ford crossing is roughly just a little way from the existing bridge over the canalised river. We also know from record that these skirt the marshes, floodplains, wetlands, and bogs.
[eg: Wagon routes followed these cattle tracks, and later contemporary roads were constructed along the same paths. Dr Ute A Seemann, Heritage Archaeologist & Consultant was commissioned by Nick Steytler of KHULA environmental consultants on behalf of their client, The Cruithne Trust, to undertake an Archaeological Impact Assessment (AIA)]. “Old Cape Highways” by Dr EE Mossop; Maskew Miller (1927) and A brief history of transport infrastructure in South Africa up to the end of the 20th century Dr Malcolm Mitchell- Professional Advisor South African Road Federation both refer to the practice of roadbuilding over “Hottentot Cattle Tracks”. (who were more skilful than a pastoral people like the Hottentots in finding the safest passages across the mountain barriers for their cattle?)
Validation – There were two directions taken by the Khoe on passing through the Vaarsche Drift and Vallei passage – RIGHT TO TABLE BAY & GREENPOINT or LEFT TOWARDS RONDEBOSCH.
Written record validates that there was a large open area to the right ( From Brooklyn to Ysterplaat) and left (Maitland) before entering through the Vaarsche Drift and these were Khoe OUTSPAN AREAS, as was the area to the right before the dunes near to the mouth of Salt River Estuary and in the direction of Table Bay acted as the first Khoe outspan area on the Peninsula (up to within a half cannon shot from the fort.) (Moodie 22, 47, 76 gives detailed descriptions of these encampment. – Moodie, D, 1838. The record: a series of official papers relative to the condition and treatment of the native tribes of South Africa. Cape Town (1959)
The Khoe cattle-tracks to the left were the basis for the Old Wagon Road built by the VoC and this follows the Lower Main Road and Main Road through to Rondebosch. Described by Mossop and Mitchell.
2) The 1510 Francesco d’Almeida site of violation at a Khoe village was not on the LLPT Site, nor was it a site of a Battle between the Portuguese and Khoe.
There are NO TANGIBLE sites or artefact evidence whatsoever for this event. There is also NO EVIDENCE to assume which Khoe social group – Cochouqua or Goringhaiqua were the social group that fought d’Almeida.
There are five differently authored Manuscripts, each not by an author with any 1st hand experience and all written four decades later that discuss the defeat of the Portuguese by the Khoe in 1510. There are great variations as to where exactly the location was on the Cape Peninsula, but through a process of elimination and concurrences in manuscripts and a dominant traditional narrative many historians agree on the sight of the final battle being at the beach next to the mouth of the Salt River.
There is no dispute about the battle and casualties having taken place. But there is marked variation of the narrative. There are only two vital clues about the sites of conflict and final battle.
The beach and dunes at Salt River estuary mouth is generally accepted as the final defeat site. And the location of the Khoe village is given (by Barros) as being around 1 league – 6,2 kilometres from the beach to “behind the Mountain” (referring to the Devils Peak Ridge), indicating Mowbray to Rondebosch and that the Portuguese retreated before the Khoe cattle giving chase. The cattle-track route was not anywhere near the LLPT Site as these roughly follow today’s main Roads and we also have documented evidence that the Khoe engaged in an attack on the Reijniers farmhouse which was at the top-end of the farm where the cattle-track passes. It is not likely that anything happened in the marshy and dangerous area for cattle and people far away from the livestock tracks. We know that the livestock were used skillfully like cavalry in the driving off of the Portuguese aggressors. The false claim about the LLPT Site being a battleground or alternative the site of a village, is an attempt to destroy this important intangible heritage story which has a totally different narrative and trajectory.
INTANGIBLE argument is based on the only indicative measure in the narratives of fie Portuguese writer-historians written 40 years after the event – Fernão Lopes de Castanheda; Damião de Góis; Gaspar Correa; João de Barros; and the poet Luis Vaz de Camoes. Many others of different nationalities have also written accounts but all are based on these.
Barros presents the location of the village where the conflict started, as being one League or 6,2 km from Salt River estuary mouth (which would have been around the N1 highway just after the Paarden Island Drive turn off.) in a relatively straight line following the cattle-tracks and skirting the marshes would be between Mowbray and Rondebosch, which is also “Beyond the Mountain” the other side of Devils Peak Ridge.
Wind-sheltered Rondebosch which the VoC decided was the best land for the very first Free Burgher farms in 1657 itself has intangible stories that have been around for long about being the site of a Khoe village.
These validations back the INTANGIBLE BELIEF that the village-based conflict took place somewhere in this vicinity and that the described running-battle or chase proceeded from here to the dunes and beaches of Salt River, which no longer exist because of landfill and modern superstructure.
Mossop (pg 8) says “in 1510 strewed sixty-five of D ’Almeida’s company along the Liesbeek between the river mouth and Mowbray”
There is no likelihood from either the written accounts or from the topography of the time that any aspect of the battle was at the LLPT Site, nor was it possible for there to have been a village at that site because it was impregnable, impassable and uninhabitable. The intangible story of the origins of Ronde Dooringbosch (Rondebosch) is that the actual round circle of trees grew from stakes marking out a Khoe Kraal, which had sprouted.
3. First Forced Removal of Khoe and the first resistance to the Dutch settlement was not on the LLPT Site. It is a complete fabrication. Another Lie of 1652 created by mischief in the 21st century. Indeed the LLPT Site was not a site of forced removal at all. The mischief is an attempt to remove culpability, blame and the sites of expropriation and resistance from the colonial Southern Suburbs to a peripheral piece of wasteland. 28 years after 1994 the Southern Suburbs crimes of forced removals has still not been addressed and effectively a so-called greenbelt is nothing other than Jan van Riebeek’s First Barrier Frontier in another guise.
The first forced removal did not take place in 1657 but rather from 1652. This occurred in Table Bay at the site of the Golden Acre Centre. The TANGIBLE evidence is the ruins of Wagenaars Aqueduct and dam, where the Camissa River fresh water was first dammed. This was the original site of the ǁAmmaqua (Watermans) a name which the record reports was the name they preferred to use for themselves. Here I am referencing the traders settlement of Autshumao, upon which Jan van Riebeeck built the first Fort de Goede Hoop.
The TANGIBLE aqueduct ruins together with the record in Jan van Riebeeck’s journal to the forced removal and to Autshumao’s claim to the site and the trade, provides a basis for the INTANGIBLE memory and belief that this is a site of habitat and a spiritual place of remembrance and the site of the most valuable resource – WATER, from which the ǁAmmaqua trader community called Strandloopers disparagingly by the Dutch and equally disparagingly “Goringhaicona” meaning outcasts and drifters by the other Peninsula Khoe, who also referred to independent Khoe farmers and to the Khoe who lived among the Sonqua line-fishermen by the same term. Validation of the Forced Removal of the trader community to “behind the Lion’s Rump” (Green Point) is contained in the Journal of Jan van Riebeeck.
Autshhumao’s defiance to having his community removed, by remaining encamped at the site even after the Fort was built is recorded by Jan van Riebeeck. ( Van Riebeeck J; Page 37-39)
Autshumao’s insistence of the claim to having first started the trade with passing ships, is recorded by Jan van Riebeeck in his journal. (Van Riebeeck J; Precis of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope; Journal of Jan van Riebeeck Part 1; PP 36 – 39; HVC Leibrandt; WA Richards & Son; 1897)
4. The first Free Burgher Settlement. In RONDEBOSCH in 1657
The first settlement outside Table Valley was at Ronde Dooringbosch, later known as Rondebosch; where a round grove of trees stood, and the South Easters were less severe than in Table Valley. It was the very first site of the 1657 first Free-Burgher Farms. Of course the first Free Burgher Farms, were not the first colonial farms on seized land. The VOC Company in Table Bay had already establish a company plantation and other farms. It can only be colonial mischief afoot that history is being distorted by the Observatory campaigners.
The Rondebosch land was the best for grazing of Khoe cattle and for the colonial settlers it constituted the best land for growing wheat, fruit and other crops, because in other areas the Southeaster Wind was too destructive. The legend had it that the round clump of bushes were actually originally the staked area of a village where the stakes took root and left the mark of the village.
Theal, George McCall; History of South Africa, 1486-1691; Page 82; London. Swan, Sonnenschein, Lowry and Co. (1888)
This and other substantial records offer tangible evidence of Rondebosch being the most desirable site along the Liesbeek for both Khoe and colonists. In terms of INTANGIBLE HERITAGE there has never been a trajectory from the past into the present where any people or communities or people made any claim of INTANGIBLE HERETAGE for the LLPT Site based on San, Khoe, or Enslaved persons. Aerial photographs in the early 20th century and in 1937 show a desolated infill area with little sign of any environmental value,.
Along with the initial false story even more grossly false stories started coming out of the Observatory Lobby campaign.
FALSE STORIES – are NOT Intangible Heritage . There was never any HOLOCUAST or GENOCIDE that happened on this site as claimed, nor has there been claim or findings of this being a burial site. It also does not represent the EPICENTRE of the 1657 – 1660 period of settlement, war and forced Removal. All of these false intangible claims have a very recent genesis.
Some of the claims indeed have an element of lunacy and wickedness, such as a claim that slaves were secretly murdered on site using lethal injections and then cremated. This insult, falsehood and distortion of the truth about the oppression of the African-Asian Enslaved undermined the public orgies of humiliating tortures, and executions like crucifixions, impalements, and dismembering of limbs is just wicked. A major part of this public approach was that these were declared to be deterrent actions. Even after death, bodies were put in public places and highways “for the bodies to rot and be eaten by birds”. Striking fear and deterrence into the Enslaved Population is well recorded. To try and suppress this well recorded history by replacing it with WW2 style executions and suggesting that these killings were hidden rather than public affairs blatant false propaganda and marketing for a modern day Southern Suburbs cause. Its a blatant attempt to try and hijack the term “Holocaust” for publicity value.
The first 1657 colonial settlement along the Liesbeek was at Rondebosch, and over 1657 – 1658 and then through to 1662 the first settlement spread out.
The INTANGIBLE HERITAGE OF RONDEBOSCH BEING THE EPICENTRE OF KHOE HABITATION is validated by this observation by –
“a landmark which was to give a name to the locality of his first permanent settlement; it was a curious formation of trees in a round cluster which he named “Het Ronde Doornbosjen”. This clump of thorn trees had probably grown from a Hottentot stockade around one of their cattle kraals and the situation of this celebrated grove at whose shrine we may well hold a tercentenary dedication can be determined with fair correctness.”
A brief history of transport infrastructure in South Africa up to the end of the 20th century DR MALCOLM MITCHELL- Professional Advisor South African Road Federation both refer to the practice of roadbuilding over “Hottentot Cattle Tracks”. (who were more skilful than a pastoral people like the Hottentots in finding the safest passages across the mountain barriers for their cattle?)
5. There is a Question of where exactly was the farm of the duo Jan Reijniersz and Wouter Mostert situated – later called Den Uitwijk and transferred back to the VOC headed by Commander Jan van Riebeeck who originally provided a financial loan for the duo to acquire the grant in 1657. A false picture about this property is inspired by an erroneous set of maps drafted in the 19th and 20th century. The erroneous maps present a false scenario by presenting a 17 Morgen piece of VOC land that was added to the returned farm to the VOC Commandeurlanden after the conclusion of the first Dutch-Khoe War for the purpose of establishing the new First Barrier Frontier.
After the Reijniers-Mostert farm was destroyed in the war in 1659, JvR called in his loan which the duo, each with a half-share, could not repay. To be able to repay the loan the Commander on behalf of the VOC bought the farm from Jan Reijniersz. Mostert sold his half share to Cornelis Claasz, who in turn within the month sold the halfshare back to the VOC. At that stage the VOC added the further 17 morgen on the east side of the river, where the VOC used this as a natural barrier as part of the first phase of the First Barrier Frontier line which was then brought down at right angle in line opposite the farm of Boom, next door to Den Uitwijk. This was the end of the first farm on the Liesbeek being a Free Burgher Farm. It joined seven other pieces of VOC Company land classed as “Commandeurlanden”.
It is eroneously projected that Jan van Riebeeck had personal property farms. The “Commandeurlanden” were VOC Company Properties. Company Officials could not own property without permission of the VoC. Jan van Riebeeck may well have broken these rules as he had done in Vietnam before, but the fact that documentation clearly notes these as “Commandeurlanden” seems to indicate otherwise. The unauthorised Potter Map of 1661 provides clear evidence that this was neither a Mostert Farm, nor was it Jan van Riebeek’s private farm. It was a VOC company property and the extension was part of the important First Barrier Frontier project.
TANGIBLE EVIDENCE exists in the form of the official VOC Surveyors Map of 1658 by Pietter Potter. The 1661 MAP which some selectively use is logged as an UNAUTHORISED MAP. But a close look at the 1661 MAP shows that it is a copy of Pieter Potter’s 1658 MAP, with alterations drawn over it. . The 1661 Unauthorised Map was graphically enhanced with incorrect information in 1928 by Eric Stockenstrom..
It is absolutely clear from the only authorised Map of the First Farms by the VoC Surveyor Pieter potter that there were only two farms opposite the LLPT Site and that neither crossed the Liesbeek River west bank to the east bank side. The Unathorised Map of 1661 is evidence of the building of the first phase of the Barrier Frontier only 337 metres from the foot of the original Reijniersz-Mostert farm. At that time the Liesbeek was not running where it is today. It ran through today’s Malta Park sports fields (in the 20th century moved some distance across the road to make way for the Liesbeek Parkway Road.
There is no credibility to the story that Mostert had a separate farm grant from Jan Reijniers. The new 17 morgen established after the war was not a Free Burgher Farm. The impenetrable and dangerous nature of that land is clarified in records.
“After great trouble it has been ascertained that the Fresh River Liesbeek is so deep, and the banks so steep, from the house of Jan Reyniers to the crooked tree (Kromboom Rondebosch East) above that of Jan Martens of Vrielants, inclusive, if only cleared of the rushes, that no cattle can be driven through, except at three or four narrow places, which may easily be deepened, and the Hottentoos thus compelled to cross between the sea coast and Reynier’s house”
The location of Reijniers farm is spelt out…. As around “500 Roods from the sea.” Then the position of the palisade and natural barrier location is addressed….. “ (properties of others) and Jan Reijniers’ – in all about 170 morgen in the line of this fence, 100 roods from the Liesbeek and Salt River”. It clearly states that “it is 100 Roods from the Liesbeek, which had steep banks, 12 feet wide, very deep and covered in reeds.”
The LLPT Site was unoccupied. Resolutions, C.1, pp 238-241
6. The fortification of/and borderline of the first colonial ‘Cape District Barrier Frontier’ is THE ONLY MOST COMPELLING REAL EVIDENCE THAT A PART OF THE LLPT SITE IS OF HHIGHLY IMPORTANT SIGNIFICANCE IN THE CULTURAL HERITAGE ARENA. Nobody has raised this most important fact. The stretch of borderline between Keert de Koei via the LLPT SITE and ending at the edge of the 17 morgen at the foot of Boom’s Farm has high significance in the discourse about land restitution – and this demands an appropriate response by the landowners about surrendering this small bordeline portion in the centre of development, by title deed to a PBO Community Trust of the Hoe-San Peoples.
The only TANGIBLE EVIDENCE of this are records, sketches, and in a different area, that section of the fortified borderline known as the WILD-ALMOND HEDGE.None of the built REDOUBTS (Fortified Towers) and palisade barriers still exist and it is difficult to pin-point their exact locations because of the totally reconfigured environments.Because we know the distance of the barrier is a 100 roods (337m) from the old banks of the Liesbeeek (Malta Park and that it passed between the two rivers at a narrowing of the distance between the two rivers, this LLPT Site is the one place where we can be most certain as to the site of the fence at least for this piece of ground. From all of the descriptions of the site it effectively was the BARRIER itself – a natural barrier.In Raven-Hart, R.: Cape Good Hope 1652-1702, Jan van Nieuhof in 1654 notes that the river was twelve or fourteen feet wide ….. but is very deep. In “The first fifty years of Dutch colonization as seen by callers” Volume 1; pp 13 -16: Balkema, Cape Town, (1971), it records the river being so thickly grown with sharp nipah, water plants and wild rushes up to two fathoms high, that a proper inspection of the river itself was not possible.At least two drownings in the river were recorded by Van Riebeeck: in 1658 a farmer drowned while trying to place a fishing net in position in the river, and in 1660 Corporal Elias Giers and his horse were drowned – Van Riebeeck Journal, 18/1/1658, Volume 11 p 215. Van Riebeeck Journal, 8/8/1660, Volume 111 p 248 The one and only INTANGIBLE claim for the LLPT site that can be held up as an incontestable fact is that the fortified borderline of the first Cape Colonial District (THE FIRST FRONTIER) did pass through the middle of this site according to sketches, and written accounts.The impassable and uninhabitable marshy, bog site, described as being ‘snake infested’ actually provided a natural barrier for penetration from outside of the peninsular, similarly to the ‘Wild-Almond Hedge’ further along the frontier-line.VALIDATING Sketches show that there were three East Embankment Fortified Redoubts – Duynehoop, Coornhoop and Hout den Buyl, roughly equi-distant from each other at Salt River Dunes, Mowbray Coornhoop VoC Farm, and around Kirstenbosch.Then there was the fortified First Frontier which started with a redoubt name Kijkuit Tower which stood on Paarden Island opposite Duynehoop Tower. The next redoubt was strategically placed to guard the crossing ford called Vaarsche Drift at the crossing and beginning of what would in later years be called Vaarsche Vallei. But it also had a name providing validation for the intangible. It was called KEERT DE KOEI or “Turn around the Cows” as the extended territory beyond, including the LLPT site was dangerous to people and animals. Drowned cow carcasses were seen in the bog.Another fortified Redoubt Tower Ruyterborst was possibly located on the Observatory Hill with line of sight to Keert de Koei, Coornhoop Redoubt Tower and Ruijterwacht Redoubt Tower.The next redoubt tower was at Ruiterwacht in line with Rondebosch but exactly between the two-river system. Between KERT DE KOEI and RUITEWACHT were natural barriers and erected barriers and later this would be supported by cavalry after a bridge was built across the river.
7. The 1st Khoe-Dutch War 1659-1660 and its epicentre was NOT on the LLPT SITE. This is a fabrication with evidence to support that it was not a site of any war battles. The top end of the Reijniersz-Mostert property where the house of Jan Reijniersz stood was the war site, far away from the LLPT Site. The Khoe-Dutch War traversed the area of Table Bay through to Kirstenbosch and beyond. In terms of the EPICENTRE of this WAR it certainly was not the peripheral LLPT Site and as clearly shown on the accompanying map of the 1657 settlement farms, there is no doubt that the EPICENTRE is RONDEBOSCH.
It is extremely important that 21st Century falsified claims should not be seen as INTANGIBLES as it undermines and falsifies the entire story of the Khoe-Dutch War and gives the colonial descendent property owners of the Southern Suburbs a way out for their ancestors culpability in the war and absolves them for any obligation to Restoratrive Justice and Restitution. Effectively those promoting this false account that shifts the dispossession and war to the periphery are selling out the cultural heritage of the Khoe-San.
By falsifying the story of the first struggles and locating it on a small peripheral piece of land, it disempowers any future land claims or cultural heritage claims over the much broader terrain of struggle and thus becomes another colonial lie.
There is already a colonial misrepresentation which says that the fortifications and barricades were not there to expel the Khoe and keep them and their cattle out. Colonial historians who plug this line will be most pleased to have legal rulings declaring that the epicentre of the Khoe struggle was on a peripheral piece of marshland. This is a travesty of justice and defies all that is known about the War.
Validation can be found by a study of my multifaceted Map attached.
THERE ARE SO MANY MORE INTANGIBLES AND TANGIBLE EXAMPLES OF THE REAL HERITAGE OF THE DESCENDANTS OF KHOE AND ENSLAVED AFRICANS & ASIANS IN THE ARENA OF THE TRUE BROAD RESISTANCE STRUGGLE HERITAGE SITE. The only argument for the small peripheral piece of land is one of its proximity and symbolic value to the bigger picture.
Historians may place different emphasis on one issue or another but are in general agreement as to what are the TANGIBLE and INTANGIBLE when it comes to the LLPT Site. Those who are falsifying our history and heritage are doing incalculable harm to the cause of Khoe and San people and to descendants of various indigenous Africans and African-Asian descendants of enslaved, and of countless people who suffered Forced Removals in our life-times. Fakery, lunacy and preposterous attention seeking claims are damaging the interests of those who were always victim to divide and rule strategies by vested colonial interests.
I here below just highlight a few issues of importance, not least of all the last point as it shows where the mischief in all of this dividing of oppressed peoples really lay.
8. Modern day forced removals sites. Observatory, Mowbray, Rosebank, Rondebosch, Newlands, Claremont, Bishops Court, Kirstenbosch are all sites of FORCED REMOVALS in the 1960s and 1970s. Pockets of land including so-called environmental land should be used to build homes that will integrate black people of the Cape Flats back into the Southern Suburbs which still bears the legacy of exclusion. It should also include sites of memory of Khoe and African-Asian Enslaved descendants which remember specific identifiable stories. of Forced Removals during the 1960s-1980s. This also requires sites of memory.
Much evidence exists to this effect with many of the victims still alive.
Between 1958 and 1968 radical reconfiguration of the Liesbeek River resulted in one arm getting cut off right through to the 1990s and even with some rehabilitation in the 1990s on the old arm it has not been returned to what it once was.
INTANGIBLES here include digging up the natural environment and shoring up a newly built Liesbeek confluence channel, by trucking in landfill made up of railways scrap, toxic waste, and rubble from Forced Removals. This happened in the lifetimes of many who were forcibly removed and are still alive. This dirty Cape Town secret was covered over by colonial veneer environmentalism
EXAMPLES OF OTHER TYPES SITES OF HERITAGE IMPORTANCE WITHIN THE BROADER EARLY RESISTANCE HERITAGE ARENA OF THE RIVERINE ARENA
A. Places of execution & punishment: The Driekoppen Site in Mowbray & the Fort Knokke place of Execution
B. Mapping the heritage of the KROOMEN Builders at the Royal Observatory and many other micro-history stories The West African Kroomen Settlers of Simonstown were brought to build part of the Royal Observatory because local builders were afraid of snakes and wildlife in the marshes and bog around the Royal Observatory —- namely the LLPT Site.
C. The site of the finale clash of the 1808 Slave & Khoe Jij Rebellion and execution sites. The Vaarsche Drift crossing and outspan areas was the site of the finale of the 1808 Jij Rebellion of Slaves and Khoe, number 346 who had taken over 40 farmers and families prisoner over a three day uprising starting in Malmesbury and Tygerberg. Lord Caledon du Preez sent the Dragoons garrison out to attack and stop the two columns of rebels led by Louis van Mauritius and Abraham van der Kaap. The court records of the largest treason trials ever are recorded in detail as TANGIBLE RECORD. Five of the leaders were publicly executed and their bodies left in chains at the various main roads including Koeberg Road as a deterrent. The site of the final attack by the Dragoons, and the Fort Knocke and Castle sites are also Tangibles, but overall there is no other Tangible evidence.
D. THE 2012 ASSAULT ON KHOE and MANNENBERG LAND RIGHTS PROTESTORS AT RONDEBOSCH COMMON by property owners a environmentalists of the Southern Suburbs such as those representative bodies in TRUP.
DIFFERING BETWEEN STAKEHOLDERS & VESTED INTERESTS
Property owners, Ratepayers Associations and Business Owners are vested interests. Conservationists as distinguishable from genuine environmental concerns is a vested interest. The UCT as a major property and investment player is a vested interest. TRUP TRUST and PROJECT is a vested interest which has invested much finance and energy in their project. The Black River Park Business Centre, its businesses and board of executives is a vested interest. The Observatory Sports Grounds are a vested interest. Businesses on the East Side of the Liesbeek such as Hotel and the Fig Restaurant are vested interests. Liesbeek Leisure Property Trust is a vested interest. All of these are financially vested in property with heritage value.
Indigenous Khoe-San social formations, Africans of all indigenous social formations, all subjected to forced removals, the homeless communities and backyard/shantytown dwellers are all people who have a cultural heritage of dispossession and need to be distinguished from lobbies by vested interests.
VESTED INTEREST PROPERTIES WITH KHOE-SAN VALUE and VALUE TO OTHER OPPRESSED
These are numerous across the arena of the RIVERINE BROAD EARLY DISPOSSESSION & RESISTANCE HERITAGE ARENA. The truth is being obscured about sites of heritage and then replaced by the peripheral land at LLPT SITE distortedly called the AMAZON.COM SITE.
1.In the immediate area of the LIESBEEK LLPT SITE there are three vested interest properties that are of much greater interest to the Khoe, San and African-Asian enslaved descendants than the greater part of the LLPT SITE, with the exclusion of the small central Frontier Barrier Site within the LLPT SITE.The real site of the VOC Commander’s Den Uitwijk and site of battle at the top end during the Khoe-Dutch War, which was developed into a high rise business centre only in 1999 with no protest – Lion Match Factory Site, St Michael’s Church, Residential Properties and particularly the Black River Business Park, its businesses and board of executives. (there was no opposition to development of this site in 1999)
2. Malta Park and Hartleyvale Sports Fields.
3. Then there is the strategically placed UCT Commercial Investment Property on the East Bank of the Liesbeek and a real site of the FIRST FREE BURGHER FARM IN 1660 on the Eastbank of the Liesbeek before the earlier established Rondebosch Sites. This is now a commercial Protea Marriot Hotel hotel and Wild Fig Restaurant. It is a large piece of land long in commercial hands and with a greater history of importance to the Khoe-San and descendants of enslaved African-Asians. There was no opposition to this important cultural heritage site for the Khoe-San and UCT and campaigners withold this information in campaign protests.The Van Deventer (Willemze) – de Jongh farm was actually the first settler farm on the east bank of the Liesbeek but has been presented as though it was just part of the much later Valkenberg farm.) This large commercial property and venture is a UCT Financial Asset – “The Protea Hotel Mowbray and Fig Restaurant is part of an important Khoe-San heritage precinct owned and leased by UCT where the university significantly benefits from the profits. The Observatory Campaign and the self-styled new Khoe group allied to it have hidden this from those it asks to support their campaign in which UCT is a player.
4.Then there is the case of Rondebosch Common, long protected by Southern Suburbs residents and white business interests and is a central cite for restitution claims by the Khoe. In 2012 there was an occupation of the site by Khoe protestors and Homeless people from Mannenberg. None other than the same constituent bodies of the TRUP organised the violent disruption of this Khoe protest campaign and got SAPS to arrest the Khoe protestors and demolish their structures. Suddenly by 2017 the same anti Khoe evictors were now defending Khoe rights at the Liesbeek LLPT Site.
5. Station Road Site:. Opportunity existed for Observatory Residents and Campaigners to establish a Khoe-San Memorial in Station Road on the open site on its left looking down to the Liesbeek. Instead money and energy was expended to relocate a colonial monument from Hospital Bend to erect it at this important site for the Khoe -San. There were no protests.
The only explanation for all of this suppression of Khoe-San and other interests of the broader dispossessed is that not everything about this entire Indigenous Peoples Heritage Protection Campaigning by the Observatory led lobby is that dishonesty, mischief and vested interests are behind the false stories about heritage. This entire issue needs much more closer scrutiny.
Our approach has to be informed by all of the issue of the BROADER HERITAGE AREANA and not simply by the vested interests groups and allies involved in this dispute.
TOPOGRAPHY OF THE RIVERINE SYSTEM FROM TABLE BAY THROUGH TO KIRSTENBOASCH
The original topography and changes per century from the 17th – 20th century to the two rivers and the Salt River Estuary needs to be looked at carefully. Where were the original rivers estuary and Island in relation to todays landfill street maps? Where were the impassable marshlands and bogs, and the floodplains? Where was the actual Drift in the 17th century as it continuously was changed?
In the broader sense of Tangible and intangible in terms of what can be seen and touched as different to what cannot, there could be an argument that says because this environment has been so radically altered, there is little that is left that is tangible.
The combination of looking at all of these will bring us closer to an answer to the heritage matters. But the one thing we can be pretty sure of is that we cannot undo 400 years of tangible change that we see around us. Restorative Memory in this case is not going to bring back what was. What Restorative Justice can accomplish now is a nuanced and negotiated way forward to achieve Restorative Justice. And this does not need lies and falsifications which ultimately undermine the struggles of Khoe-San and Camissa Africans.
In this context the greatest tangible sign of Restorative Justice is Restitution to Land Rights and Resources for the descendent communities of those dispossessed. The best means of Restitution is Empowerment in Law by transfer of title deed (to community trusts and trusts of Traditional Societies – indigenous communities) I advocate that the Observatory Lobby has been mischievous and has promoted division and the interests of colonial descendents by exploiting the name of the Khoe and San.
The Real fight should be around having part of the LLPT LAND ceded by Title Deed to the Khoe-San as well as to agree to building a centre of memory and understanding on that part of the site that carries the one and only significant Cultural Heritage Value that is vitally important in the memory of all so-called frontier wars – wars of land dispossession. The fact that this originally was a prime piece of state-owned land that was sold off way below nmarket price only adds motivation as to why TITLE DEED FOR LAND RESTITUTION TO THE KHOE-SAN should be a central part to any JUST AGREEMENT.
Rigid environmental, political, residents and business associations, lobbyist , or landowners or property-developers, issues should honestly work toward common cause approaches to resolve difference of opinions in the cultural heritage arena without rancour and insult. Where the issue involves land where ancestral heritage rights are involved the solutions cannot be limited to a memorandum of understanding. There must always be an element involving transfer of at least a portion of the land, by title-deed to legitimate claimants from traditional societies and formerly black oppressed civil society organisations. This cannot simply be transfer to individuals and must be into public benefit Community Trusts established as Non-Profit Companies.
We really need to go back to the drawing Board, where there should be a strong voice of the black dispossessed and the Khoe-San in particularly. A negotiated win-win solutions needs to be found and at its heart must be real elements of land restitution and title transfer.
My critique of the LLPT is that they got STATE LAND on the cheap. This entire conflictual episode in my studied opinion is not about development or non-development; it is not about the environment; and it is certainly not about Khoe and San Cultural Heritage being violated.
The real issue for me is that this site because of its proximity and its slender ties to the greater heritage arena which is a concern of the Khoe and San and descendants of African-Asian Enslaved, there is relevance to Restorative Memory that leads to Restorative Justice. There is an underlying LAND RESTITUTION ISSUE. One would have thought that not just a memorandum of understanding about having an interpretation centre for Khoe and San Heritage at the centre of the LLPT Site, but there should be an actual ceding by TITLE DEED OWNERSHIP to a Khoe and San TRUST for that central piece of land be given as restitution. This would then be a secured agreement. It would also have set a precedent and example and challenge to other developers.
The real symbolic relevance of that central piece of land around which the commercial development is taking place, is that it was there that the first fortified barricaded frontier line passed through all the way from Salt River Beach to the full length of the 1657 colonial farming settlement.
The LLPT Site itself is not a complex one to deal with. Its value is limited to Khoe cultural heritage and history, but the one thing that stands out as important – the definable site of barricade and frontier fortification passing through its centre – is so immensely symbolic as an issue of INTANGIBLE HERITAGE. An agreement with the Khoe and San and all of South Africans who faced Colonialism and Apartheid to give back the Title Deed for the central part of this development where a Khoe – San Interpretation Centre and National Monument as a place of Memory, would give much greater legitimacy to an agreement. That is my own critique of the LLPT.
Thus while I have to critique the fakery coming out of the TRUP lobby and vested interests dressed up as a Khoe Struggle with much dishonesty about Indigenous Peoples history and heritage, my critique is that the agreement does with the people of South Africa does not go far enough, given the symbolic importance.
I recognise that there is no compulsion in law to enter such an agreement, it is the moral thing to do, and it would send a positive message to all in South Africa on what nation building is all about. TRANSFORMATION and LAND.
IDENTITY & SOCIAL IDENTITY
As far as who are recognised legally as social communities and representatives of any of the 15 traditional South African social communities and substructures, (including the Five San & Khoe families of peoples San, Nama, Korana, Griqua and Cape Khoe-San revivalists and sub-structures) is contained in the legal framework of the Traditional and Khoe-San Leadership Act. Whatever its imperfections and there are imperfections, it still is a progressive advance and victory for Khoe-San peoples which resulted from Khoe-San Activism over the last four decades.
To protect against identity theft, misrepresentation, and potential of existing conflict between claimants, legislation allows for all traditional societies to make submissions to be recognised based on verification and validation of communities who have over the past, record, and structures of such ancestral legacy.
Self- identification does not stand on its own as claim to being a legitimate legacy community or to being a legitimate leader of such a community with multi-generational trajectories from the past to present. Validation of such has to be verified by independent means from a range of sources of social record, community affirmation, and record of multi-generation claim to identity and practices. Oral traditions, consciousness of social group values, social and spiritual practices, beliefs, expressions, and convictions rooted in history – tracing from antiquity to the present should we considered as intangible contribution to claims.
And independent investigation commission established by legislation will receive claims, testimony, and proof of validation for investigation and verification and look at these against claims of others, duplication, and historical record, as well as how such social groups and claimant leaders are organised and seen by others within the traditional societies. The Commission on Khoe – San Matters will make submissions after due investigation, to the Minister and House of Traditional Leaders for consideration.
Transmission of custom, organisation, practice, and leadership over time is integral to any claim being rooted in ancestral heritage and in cases of ‘revival of distant heritage’ this will always involve negotiation with other traditional communities which survived over time despite impediment and persecution, and with other claimants, within the parameters of tradition law.
Only when a traditional social formation and its leadership is validated and verified as such according to legislation, can such society legally represent those entities.
All individuals have the right to self-determine and give expression to the identity of choice – social, spiritual, cultural, or sexual and this is protected by the Constitution, but this cannot be at the expense of the same rights of others.
Claims of primacy of rights or “FIRSTISM” over that of others is both historically nonsense and is unconstitutional. Identity is recognised to be complex and in itself will always have diverse contributions that have come together over time. Any person may chose, to celebrate their heritage whether with singular focus or plural, and have the right to do so without insult or injury.
Individuals may associate with others of similar affirmation, formally and informally, subject to the social group rights and the right that these have not to be subject to identity theft or forced assimilation. Such associations do not necessarily constitute legal right to recognition as representatives of legitimate Traditional Social Formations, nor make claims in the name of legitimate Traditional Social Formations.
Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act 3 of 2019 – Traditional Societies and Law as legislated is the only means to address rights of Traditional Social Formations and Leadership, as well as collective rights of legitimate traditional societies.
Constitutional Rights to equity, human dignity, life, freedom, and security of persons; freedom of religion, belief and opinion; freedom of expression; freedom of association; freedom of language and culture; all provide guidance on INDIVIDUAL IDENTITY.
Constitutional Rights also establishes legal parameters to limitations of rights, and that no rights can be at the expensive of the rights of others most especially the advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that would constitute incitement to cause harm, propagate war, and incite imminent violence.