Freedom Square in Bonteheuwel was commemorated as an official Provincial Heritage site today as a means of honouring its socio-political significance in the fight against apartheid.
The site was commemorated with a symbolic plaque which was unveiled by Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais together with the assistance of Heritage Western Cape and City of Cape Town.
“During the liberation struggle, Freedom Square was a space for congregation and political meetings. The Bonteheuwel Civic, the library, the staircases and platforms surrounding the library would act as assembly and meeting points, which provided a platform for activist to address crowds. The significance of Freedom Square lies in the cumulative significance of its series of spaces. Meetings were held in the library in the 1980s away from the scrutiny of the apartheid police. The staircase at the square provided a platform from which activists could address crowds, when not done so at the Bonteheuwel Civic,” said Marais.
The minister further added that Freedom Square possessed high social and historical significance because it comprised of places and buildings that are associated with living heritage.
“Freedom Square indeed embodies the spirit and legacy of Bonteheuwel’s heroes and heroines. The site also holds importance in the community, in the pattern of South Africa’s history and has strong and special association with the life or work of a person, group or organisation of importance in the history of South Africa.”
Concluding her statement, the minister said that the provincial heritage sit status will now communicate clearly that heritage agencies considers this site to be an important asset that warrants serious and focussed conservation.
Provincial Heritage Site status immediately provides the full protection to these sites described in the National Heritage Resources Act (1999).