Freedom Park: Briefing

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


12 November 2002

Mr Kgware

Documents handed out
Freedom Park Conceptual Framework (See Appendix)

The Committee was briefed by the Freedom Park Trust on the implementation of the conceptual framework on Freedom Park. Issues included the establishment of a Garden of Remembrance for South Africa's unsung heroes; the need to review the Heritage Act for the purposes of maintaining uniformity in regulating all heritage sites in the country. There was also a need for the establishment of two sub-committees that would start facilitating and generating dialogues around the Garden of Remembrance.

Dr Serote from the Freedom Park Trust advised the joint committees to start working on the architectural structure and symbols that would be portrayed in the Garden of Remembrance at Freedom Park. He added that the joint committees should also start identifying and compiling biographies of all the people that had contributed to the history of this country.

He informed the committee that there was a need "to emancipate an African voice of what really happened in this country" and also to generate more heritage resources so that all the national monuments could articulate precisely the spirit of patriotism and the long history of this country. The Freedom Park Trust was currently busy securing the site for the Garden of Remembrance, however they were still concerned about the proposed suggestion that the Gauteng Rail should pass underneath the Freedom Park.

Dr Serote was strongly against that idea as he was of the view that it would distort the dignity and sanctity of the site as a whole. He proposed the establishment of a single institution in which all heritage sites would be accounted for. He informed the committee that in 2006/7 after the completion of phase one of the Garden of Remembrance, a Spiritual Memorial around the Garden would be set up.

Mr Cassiem (IFP) informed the committee that he would like to see Freedom Park employing more females. He added that the Freedom Park should be perceived as a cultural heritage junction.

Mr Cassiem was of the view that it was necessary for Dr Seroti to meet with the media and present the proposed programme of action with regard to the Garden of Remembrance. He also suggested that there was a need for a public hearing and that there was need to review the Heritage Act as a matter of urgency. He asked the joint committees to produce a report on Freedom Park that will be presented to Parliament.

Mr Opperman (DP) asked if Dr Seroti could expand on what he meant when he referred to the "African voice" and also to give more clarity on the establishment of a Spiritual Memorial.

Mr Dithebe (ANC) was strongly opposed to the proposal of the Gauteng rail running through the Freedom Park. He asked Dr Seroti to expand on the criteria that would be used to identify the unsung heroes.

Mr Raju (ANC) conceded that that the proposed Garden Memorial was a national project and hence it was important to involve all the provinces and together with their respective legislatures. Mr Raju was of the view that there was a need for recognition of all the people who had suffered under the apartheid regime and included those who were not necessarily involved in the formal struggle. He stated that the definition of an African should be redefined so as to be inclusive of everyone in this country.

Ms Vilakazi (IFP) concurring with all the previous speakers suggested that the NCOP members should be utilised to disseminate information about the Freedom Park to their respective provinces.

Mrs Van Wyk (DP) was of the view that the portfolio committee on tourism should also be involved in this project so as to come with ways of attracting foreign tourism. This project could serve also as a very important economic component.

Dr Seroti informed the committee that Freedom Park Trust was willing to make to make an input in the drafting of the committee report. With regard to the employment of more women and perceiving the Freedom Park as a heritage juncture Dr Seroti was of the view that those suggestions could be included in the architectural recommendations of the Garden of Memorial. There was a need to establish contact groups in Parliament so as to short-circuit communication between Parliament and the committees. The Garden of Memorial would embrace all the racial dimensions across the spectrum and the narrative that would be provided by this site would put everyone in a position to treat everyone equally. Hence the Freedom Park was a step forward towards nation building. In conclusion he informed the committee that the criteria for identifying unsung heroes was not yet in place but it was something they were currently working on.

The meeting was adjourned.



    1. Legacy Projects
    2. Freedom Park Project
    1. Rationale

    2.2 Theme

    1. Garden of Remembrance
    2. Memorial
    3. Museum/The Interpretation Network Centre
    4. Administration Facilities
    5. Commercial / Service Facilities
    6. Infrastructure
    1. (i) Phase I - 2001 -2003
    2. (ii) Phase II - 2003-2005
    3. (iii) Phase III - Beyond 2005


Table 1: General Description of Components

Table 2: Themes, Media, Programmes and Activities

    1. The Legacy Project
    2. The people of every great country are bonded together by their history; hence their cultural landscape is enriched by the patina of the buildings, monuments, sites and other places of meaning which reflect the events and layers of experiences and processes throughout the centuries. The Cabinet-approved Legacy Project has undertaken to approve and facilitate the setting up of new monuments, museums and museum programmes, plaques, outdoor art works and other symbolic representations that would create visible reminders of the many aspects of our formerly neglected heritage, widely distributed throughout the country. Through their variety of themes, the proposed national symbols will also communicate a stimulating message of rich cultural diversity.

    3. The Freedom Park Project

    In terms of the National Heritage Resources Act, No. 25 of 1999 Section 7.1(a), Freedom Park should be classified as a "Grade 1" Project because it is a heritage resource with qualities so exceptional that they are of special national significance.

    As an envisaged 'One-Stop Heritage Precinct', Freedom Park shall strive to accommodate all of the emerging experiences and symbols which unfold to tell one coherent story of struggle of humanity in South Africa i.e. the struggle for survival, land and resources and how it shaped the social, economic, political, cultural and historical landscape of our country.

    Freedom Park will be a place to balance and indeed engage the fragmented propensities of our multi-cultural, multi-class and multi-ethnic society. Therefore, there are also integrative processes in which Freedom Park must engage such as celebrations and commemorations of nationally significant days which are a feature of any people who share, however differently perceived, their history, territory, economy, educational as well as cultural institutions in a unitary national state.

    The story of South Africa is the story of struggle of humanity to survive in his/her environment and to live harmoniously with fellow humankind. The vision behind Freedom Park is to portray the South African heritage from this perspective and contribute towards the development of national consciousness and identity. Freedom Park goes beyond a mere assembly of representations of diverse legacies. It endeavours to bring together these multiple identities and perspectives to form a holistic picture of our national identity and thereby provide a coherent, wider and overarching perspective of the South African character as a whole. Recognising the traditional gender bias of historical narrative, all elements of this interpretation will be cognisant and inclusive of the contribution of women to the history and heritage of South Africa.

    If realised, Freedom Park could provide more than the sum of disparate representations. It could have the potential to interpret and present an accumulated, powerful portrait of a nation in the making, created by the various textures of struggle, exploring the nature of its own democracy, and striving towards a vision with which all its people can identify and ultimately own.

    It is envisaged that Freedom Park will become a place of pilgrimage and inspiration, for South Africa and the world. An acknowledgement of South Africa's true history and its contribution to humanity, an affirmation of national identity and values and a celebration of the triumph of humanity realised with the advent of democracy. It will be a place of historical meaning and celebration, enticing every South African citizen, who will find their heritage well-represented.

    1. Rationale
    2. For centuries, many myths and prejudices have concealed the true history of South Africa. Thus the rationale behind the establishment of Freedom Park is to address the gaps, distortions and biases and provide new perspectives of South Africa's heritage. Freedom Park will be a broad presentation of the entire South African story, challenging traditional narratives through the re-interpretation of previous heritage sites.

      The journey to Freedom Park should be a cathartic, spiritually cleansing and inspirational experience for its visitors.

      The primary objective of Freedom Park is the creation of a monument to South Africa's heritage. The secondary objective is the development of a heritage resource for research and education aimed at developing a deeper understanding of South Africa and its people.

      Through the concept of thematic zones, Freedom Park will serve as the basis for various components which will express these objectives. Indigenous South African architectural and artistic forms should be fore-grounded in the entire project. Solemnity and dignity should inform the development of the aesthetic elements.

    3. Themes
    4. Freedom Park's central theme is the struggle of humanity to survive in South Africa. This story will be depicted in a visual and interactive manner. Freedom Park will acknowledge South Africa's role in the genesis of early life forms and later hominids some of which eventually evolved into modern homosapiens sapiens, tracing evidence of humanity's evolution found in South Africa.

      The existence of early life forms and geological formations in South Africa can be traced back to 3, 6 billion years in Barberton, which is regarded as one of the most ancient places on earth. For this reason Freedom Park will highlight the significance of South Africa in the early formation of the continents. In terms of the continental drift theory, scientific evidence suggests that South Africa is the site of some of the oldest known geological formations. In tracing these formations, Freedom Park will point to significant geological processes resulting strata bearing valuable minerals such gold, diamonds, platinum and other minerals. It is important to establish the link between these mineral strata and later social, economic and political events in South Africa and internationally. Thus, Freedom Park will show how those geological events gave rise to struggles over resources between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.

      Beyond its geological significance, South Africa also has a pivotal palaeontological significance which Freedom Park will bring to the fore, namely the emergence of early life forms. Billions of years ago, important climatic developments in this region led to emergence of single cellular life. Freedom Park will thus follow the development in South Africa from single to multi-cellular life whose developing complexity brought the emergence of dinosaurs and their extinction, evidence of which event around 70 million years ago was unearthed in the Karoo.

      South Africa also possesses unique evidence of the evolution of modern humans, the significance of which is internationally recognised. Palaeo-anthropological sites confirm that millions of years ago hominids, the early ancestors of modern humans, were found here. A lack of recognition within South Africa of these significant events makes it critical for Freedom Park to highlight South Africa's central role in humanity's history.

      Having presented the background of South Africa's geological and evolutionary history, Freedom Park must address the history of the people of this land, in particular, the distorted and neglected history of indigenous communities which was the victim of colonial and apartheid historical revisionism.

      The legacy of South Africa's heritage landscape is a denial of the existence of complex indigenous societies prior to the arrival of Europeans. Freedom Park thus aims to recognise, celebrate and unify the totality of South African history by giving cognisance to our ancient forebears. It will debunk false theories that South Africa was an empty land prior to the arrival of Europeans. In so doing it aims to restore the dignity and pride of its indigenous people, not only by acknowledging their ancient existence, but also by demonstrating technological acumen of ancient societies, evidence of which is found at numerous sites across the country. Thus Freedom Park will demonstrate that South Africa has a proud history stretching over thousands of years. This will enable us to understand the true history of where we as South Africans come from.

      Beyond the technological skill of the early South Africans, Freedom Park must also showcase the ample evidence which exists of the social complexity of early indigenous societies, focusing in particular on the early Khoi and San whose rich legacy of rock art have provided an invaluable record and window to our past.

      The narrative at Freedom Park will trace the beginnings of the Iron Age in South Africa. Of great significance is emergence during this period of important industries based on the production of iron and the emergence of formal trade. New social patterns also emerged as a result of these developments, an exploration of which will give South Africans a new understanding of their Iron Age ancestors. Freedom Park will thus examine issues such as indigenous knowledge systems, social organisation, systems of political organisation and the administration of justice.

      The restoration and thorough exploration of the history of our indigenous forebears thus provides the context in which Freedom Park will explore early contact and subsequent conflicts with the European arrivals from the 17th century onwards. Returning to the context of South Africa's role in the evolution of humanity, the arrival of Europeans signifies the beginning of the return of the human Diaspora to its prehistoric home. However, the nature of this arrival resulted in the dispossession and oppression of indigenous peoples which was to be the defining mark of the following 300 years of South African history under the domination of the early settlers and their descendents.

      In order to understand the exploitation and abuse of the indigenous people by the European arrivals - which led to wars of resistance by the indigenous population - Freedom Park needs also to place in context the social and political background of the Europeans which informed their attitude to the indigenous people whom they found. Thus it is necessary to give a brief explanation of the master and servant relationship, which although it collapsed in Europe in the 13th Century, was resurrected in Africa during the early voyages of plunder by so called explorers and their settler descendents. Thus Freedom Park will trace the origins of European racism which led to the complete upheaval of the indigenous people on the Southern tip of the African continent.

      It is against this background that Freedom Park will trace the return of the human Diaspora to this region through the arrival of settlers in the Cape and advent of colonialism. It will be important to examine the impacts of the Dutch and British settlement which brought with it cultural, political and economic imperialism resulting from the urge of these settlers to exclusively control resources and impose their will on the indigenous communities. Freedom Park will depict how indigenous communities and their inter-relations were violently altered as a result. Importantly it is crucial for Freedom Park to correct historical distortions which have omitted early wars of resistance by the indigenous people against subjugation.

      Freedom Park must also examine South Africa's unique history of slavery explaining why the settlers found it expedient to import slave labour from the Far East in spite of the existence of indigenous people. Thus it is important to place slavery in the international context of European mercantilism and its need for human labour. In examining the issue of mercantilism, Freedom Park must present the role of agencies such as the Dutch East India Company.

      The arrival of slaves from the Far East signifies the return of yet other elements of the human Diaspora, although in less than favourable circumstances. Thus Freedom Park will examine the circumstances of their arrival and their experiences having arrived here.

      In examining the arrival of the settlers and the slave communities, Freedom Park must explore how their original cultures as well as those of the indigenous people were transformed and have influenced what has gradually emerged as the South African national character.

      In challenging the traditional discourse on South African colonial history, it is incumbent upon Freedom Park to clearly depict unacknowledged development of indigenous communities and the emergence of nation-states which took place simultaneously in other parts of the country as yet unaffected by the arrival of Europeans and other peoples. The presentation of a complete picture of the formation and organisational structures of indigenous states, in particular their modes of production, science and technology, religion, economy, political and military systems as well as the inter-relations is thus critical at this point.

      It is also important to examine traditional liberatory practices (wars of resistance) of indigenous people against dispossession by both the British colonialists and the Boer trekkers. At this point Freedom Park will examine the causes of the conflict between the two settler nations over resources which triggered the Boer trek to the hinterland. This places the resistance of unacknowledged freedom fighters such as Moshoeshoe, Sekhukhune, Ramabulana, Nongqawuse and Makana into their proper context and also provides us with a platform to examine different qualitative cycles in the resistance struggle during different periods. These cycles of qualitative changes in resistance at different times involved attempts at negotiated settlement with the encroaching settlers, at times reactive armed resistance to physical attack and at other times proactive guerrilla tactics.

      While many of these early resistance movements were founded on the identity of individual indigenous nation states, Freedom Park will trace the later emergence of a new vision of united resistance among the indigenous nations under indigenous leadership. At this point an examination of the dialogue between Kings Cetshwayo and Sekhukhune regarding the establishment of a common resistance front is relevant. These dialogues formed a precedent for the later birth of the national project under the South African Native National Congress in the early 20th century.

      Freedom Park should depict the many upheavals of indigenous communities resulting from colonialism and the Boer trek against which these early freedom fighters and indigenous leaders were resisting. Some of these upheavals which Freedom Park will depict include the dislocation from their traditional settlements and lands, alienation from their means of subsistence and changing social relations. A particular focus will examine role of the Christian church and its challenge to traditional religions and religious practices.

      In examining the transformation of the region, Freedom Park will refer to the geological formations referred to earlier, in particular the significance of the mineral complex which was one of many reasons for the exploitation of indigenous communities, firstly by Boer settlers after their so-called discovery of minerals in the hinterland. This "discovery" increased the significance of South Africa for the British colonialists and resulted in the subsequent wars of supremacy between the British and the Boer.

      In portraying the Anglo-Boer War, it is critical to examine the impacts it would subsequently have. Important here is the introduction of corporatisation in South Africa which was later to have an important role in South African history.

      A further important impact resulting from the settlement of the final Anglo-Boer War of 1899 - 1902 was the establishment of unity between British and the Boer at the expense of black South Africans and the attempt to consolidate South Africa as a white man's country. This culminated later in the South Africa Act of 1909 - a significant milestone in South African history - which gave birth to South Africa as a geopolitical entity and the intensification of institutionalised discrimination.

      Although the early 20th Century also saw important armed resistance by indigenous people, Freedom Park will also highlight the critical qualitative leap in black resistance with the growing realisation of the need for a united black resistance against a united white domination. Freedom Park will depict how this led to the eventual formation of the South African Native National Congress in 1912, marking the inception of the national project. This harnessed and harmonised people from different ethnic persuasions to consolidate their endeavours to resist the united front of white domination.

      Freedom Park will also depict how, simultaneous to this change in black resistance, was the consolidation of white power with the passing of various acts of which the most significant was the Native Land Act of 1913. A result of this act was the increased urbanisation of indigenous people which was to bring momentous social change. Freedom Park will therefore highlight the qualitative changes in the lives of indigenous people with the emergence of townships and a new urban culture - again a significant milestone in the development of the South African national character.

      The 20th century saw the increased momentum and incidence of qualitative cycles of struggle seen with the emergence of different forms of struggle in reaction to the different forms of oppression such as the labour struggle and the peasant's struggles.

      It is important to acknowledge that the struggle at this time moved from the politics of reaction to politics of protest and challenge. This implied a transformation from the near exclusive leadership and involvement of the black elite in the national resistance movement in the early 20th century to mass based movements. The victory of the Nationalist Party in 1948 consolidated the attempt to establish South Africa as a white man's country and led to an increased political consciousness among the oppressed. The exclusive vision of the Nationalists can be juxtaposed with the inclusive vision of the Freedom Charter - a vision which endured over decades and formed the basis of a democratic constitutional state whose basis is inclusively, 40 years later.

      Other qualitative leaps in the 20th century struggle movement saw the intensification of the struggle from different fronts, in particular the women's struggle, the rise of the youth movements and later the emergence of different ideologies within the South African anti-apartheid movement. Freedom Park will also demonstrate how popular culture also became a theatre of resistance and a medium of expression for the oppressed. This time, affectionately known as the Drum Period, reflected and is an important record of the bittersweet lives of urban black South Africans, their yearnings and dreams.

      Freedom Park will examine this as a period marked by a spiral of state repression - utilising political, judicial, administrative, and security forces of the state - to which the liberation movements reacted by adopting new strategies and tactics - these include mass defiance campaigns and more significantly the adoption of a military strategy with the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe and Poqo and the adoption of underground struggle tactics. Freedom Park will highlight the role of the liberation movements in exile and the increasing international awareness of the South Africa situation.

      Freedom Park will examine how in response to the vision of national project, the Apartheid State attempted to break the growing unity among black South Africans by adopting divide and rule tactics. This is most effectively demonstrated with the establishment of the Bantustans in which people were divided along ethnic lines and later the tricameral parliament which attempted to divide Africans from Indians and Coloureds.

      Freedom Park will also demonstrate how the period of the 1970's saw another change in the resistance movement. This saw the youth movement catapulted to the frontlines of the struggle and re-emergence of mass based organised resistance.

      In addition this period also saw the intensified liberation of African states and the rise of Pan Africanism, of which the Black Consciousness Movement was a result. While Pan Africanism has been portrayed as an ideology in opposition to the national project, Freedom Park will demonstrate that it was in fact an extension of the national project which however adopted a different strategy.

      Freedom Park will portray the period of the 1980's as the final and most intense period in the history of struggle and oppression. It will show how the spirit for freedom propelled ordinary men and women to commit heroic acts of selflessness and how racist propaganda was used to manipulate ordinary men and women to commit and support gross violations of human rights. It was marked by the continuation and intensification of the urban mass movements which began in the 1970's. This saw the rise of the labour movements, campaigns for the ungovernability of the townships, the rise of the civic movements to undermine the local authorities and the increasing international isolation of South African regime.

      This period saw an unprecedented unleashing of the organs of repression. The use of the military against both foreign countries as well as in the townships; the rise of the secret intelligence services and covert state terrorism and the sinister shift in the divide and rule tactic, employing the proxy wars in the townships and rural areas deceptively portrayed as black-on-black violence.

      While South Africa appeared to spiral into a state of chaos, Freedom Park should tell the story of the delicate beginnings of negotiations which also began in the 1980's and which presented the early challenge in establishing a tentative trust and co-existence between the different sides - a challenge which in a central feature of the lives of South Africans today. This process laid the foundations for the establishment broader peaceful co-existence among the majority of South Africans.

      Freedom Park's story reaches its climax in the 1990's with the release of political prisoners, unbanning of political movements and the start of formal negotiations - signifying the beginning of the victory of struggle of humanity. A central issue at this time is the parallel existence of negotiation and violence. It also saw the unfolding of many organs of oppression such as the collapse of the Bantustans, the revelations of covert state operations which were to have a profound effect on the lives and consciousness of ordinary South Africans.

      Freedom Park will examine the different phases of the negotiated settlement and the difficult balancing acts which ultimately saw this period achieve success in the 1994 elections - the realisation of the vision of the national project. In linking the past to the present and future it is critical to highlight how the ancient doctrine Motho ke motho ka batho - which is found in many indigenous cultures - has informed and guided the inclusive nature of the democratic dispensation

      Freedom Park should attempt to portray the impact of democracy on the lives of ordinary South Africans. This includes the emergence of new social structures and forms of cultural expression. It is also important to examine the processes and meanings of democracy, nationhood and reconciliation which form the bedrock of the post-1994 South Africa. Freedom Park will also portray the changing roles of institutions such as the judiciary, the administration, security forces and parliament.

      In its final act, Freedom Park will portray a vision of the future embedded in the African Renaissance.

      Freedom Park therefore presents us with the opportunity to expose to all the significant elements of what makes South Africa different from, but significant to, the rest of the world. Giving expression to a heritage from which South Africa can stand tall amongst the nations of the world as a true symbol of the epitome of the struggle of humanity and the potential of the latter to triumph over adversity.


    5. Garden of Remembrance:
    6. A structured landscaped garden of trees, flowers and lawns will form the external environment of Freedom Park. The garden will be interspersed with monuments, statutes and sculptures as tribute to ordinary South Africans who have contributed positively to the country's development.

      The Garden of Remembrance thus serves to acknowledge individuals and serve as a beacon of inspiration for present and future generations.

      The gardens will provide a space primarily for private reflection and spiritual fulfilment not discarding a sense of relaxation and enjoyment of the natural environment. Within the gardens there will be an open amphitheatre or space in which gatherings on significant days can be held as well as cultural displays and performances.

      In order to preserve the sense of tranquillity and dignity, provision will not be made for cars beyond a certain point in the precinct. Instead the latter will incorporate pedestrian walkways and paths for low impact vehicles. Access to the precinct should be controlled for purposes of security.

    7. Memorial:
    8. Freedom Park will also form the site for a permanent and enduring national memorial seeking to acknowledge the victims of conflict who died in the liberation struggle of our history and preserve their memory as heroes of the struggle, serving as a constant reminder of the dangers of intolerance and greed and pledge never again be trained for war.

      Ideally this memorial will be located at the apex of Salvokop, thus incorporating the symbolism of the ultimate sacrifice and loss.

      The symbol used to portray the retention of memory in this area will play a crucial role in reinforcing a sense of introspection and interpretation, contemplation and reflection.

    9. Museum/The Interpretation Network Centre

The role and purpose of museums is changing the world over. Attention is no longer focused on providing elite spaces for collections, study and research of cultural and natural artefacts only, but also on the assimilation of the people element thus making them accessible public places.

Freedom Park Museum's role is the acknowledgement, preservation and presentation of South Africa's history for present and future generations.

Acknowledgement of our heritage is a crucial part of the process of national reconciliation and nation-building.

Preservation is important to prevent the loss of historical memory, without which a nation does not have a foundation on which to build a future and cannot be said to truly exist.

Presentation for present and future generations is a catalyst for individual understanding and assimilation of our common heritage.

The people-centred approach will allow Freedom Park to break new ground in South African museology by providing exciting learning and recreational spaces where different media can be used to interpret the museum display, for instance dance, poetry, music and dramatic performances. This will also allow Freedom Park to incorporate indigenous forms of expression, which were hitherto ignored in the South African heritage landscape, thereby enabling it to be accessible to wider audiences and encourage the active participation of visitors.

The Freedom Park development will provide a unique opportunity to design and implement an interpretation network that is creative, pioneering and African in nature - a must see for all and sundry. For this ideal to be realised, Freedom Park shall strive to challenge all the stereotypes associated with current museum management practice such as:

  • The fragmentation of display and interpretation, e.g. drawing a wedge between the natural milieu, culture and history;
  • Imposing and alienating buildings and structures;
  • The static presentation of subject matter with an authorative text which tends to create a passive relationship with the visitor

The museum as a centre for interpretation will present an overarching and integrating thematic concept. This concept will guide an outward looking and dynamic approach that is based on the understanding that the significant, exciting and meaningful aspects of Freedom Park are located on and in the landscape.

The interpretation framework needs to inform visitors of stories associated with the history of South Africa in the most engaging way. This will include the use of permanent displays as well as the incorporation of engaging and relevant temporary displays which will ensure that Freedom Park remains stimulating to the public at all times.

The history and heritage expressed in the theme and sub-themes will be presented in the form of a multifaceted but linear unfolding story presented in different thematic zones corresponding to the various sub-themes outlined above. While presenting this unfolding history, the presentations will be in such a way that South Africa and humanity, as it is found here, is shown to finally be free to achieve its full potential.

Locating the story of humankind's evolution in the broader living social, cultural, economic and political landscape will allow for the exploration of the South Africa's evolution outside of a pure and narrow 'scientific' context.

Freedom Park will form the central hub and reference point in a network of heritage sites and attractions that extend to all the provinces and beyond.

    1. Administration Facilities
  • Reception and Registration Areas;
  • Staff Accommodation;
  • Boardrooms;
  • Kitchen and Tea-rooms; and
  • High-Tech storage and Conservation Rooms.
    1. Commercial Facilities

The following commercial facilities have been suggested to assist the institution in generating income to ensure its sustainability.

  • Curio Shop;
  • Specialised Bookshop;
  • Restaurant;
  • Conference/Indoor Theatrical Facilities.
    1. Infrastructure
  • Drainage system;
  • Roads;
  • Security;
  • Parking;
  • Sanitation;
  • Telecommunications;
  • And others.
    1. The heritage structure of the Freedom Park will be designed in its entirety, but it would be implemented in phases. The design will include all aspects of the institution, which are:

Phase I - 2001 -2003

    • Garden of Remembrance
    • The Memorial
    • Administration Block
    • Commercial Precinct

Phase II 2003 -2005

    • The Museum (excluding the library and audio visual library)
    • The Conference Centre
    • Commercial Centre

Phase III Beyond 2005

    • Library
    • Audio-visual Library












Multi-Faceted Heritage Destination aimed at presenting a visible experiential and interactive history of South Africa. Official state functions and ceremonies.

Broadly: general and specific, interest visitors, Learners, Conference Goers, Local and International Tourists, Researchers, Academics etc.

SALVOKOP-located between the Ben Schoeman highway and the Nelson Mandela Drive, it measures 35 Hectares.

Art Gallery

Exhibition Halls

Resource Centre


Storage Facilities

Visitor Information Point

ArtPark (Outdoor)

Curio Shops






A landscaped garden of trees, flowers and lawns forming the external milieu of Freedom Park. Allow visitors to relax and enjoy the tranquility of the natural milieu.


Broadly: general and specific interest visitors, Learners Conference Goers, Local and International Tourists, Researchers, Academics etc.

Site still to be determined.

Interspersed monuments and, statues and sculptors. There will be an open amphitheatre of space meant for public usage.




The memorial will serve a dual function. Constant reminder of those who sacrificed their lives for Freedom. Symbol of the price of oppression. Site of annual state wreath-laying ceremony.


Broadly: general and specific interest visitors, Learners Conference Goers, Local and International Tourists, Researchers, Academics etc.

Size subject to public competition.

Main monument within Freedom Park.




Flagship national heritage site dedicated to the aspects of South African History. Tells the holistic, unfolding story of the South African experience from the earliest inceptions of life to the present day. Amphitheater - Performances; official state ceremonies and gatherings.


Broadly: general and specific interest visitors, Learners, Conference Goers, Local and International Tourists, Researchers, Academics etc.

Size still to be determined.

Exhibition Halls

Art Gallery

Resource Centre


Storage Facility

Visitor Information Point

















Central theme The struggle of humanity for freedom in South Africa'.

Sub-Themes: narration and or interpretation SA history in a holistic and integrative manner from the pre-history period to the present day.

Static Display

Temporary Display


Hi-Tech Exhibitions

Simulated Environment

Virtual Reality Installations etc.


Exhibitions-tours and linked public programmes including Lectures, Education programmes and events. Special exhibitions. Creation of Children's Museum.

Linkages to other sites in the areas, region or country that extend the primary narrative.


Information about Freedom Park, its national significance, sites and related attractions and activities.

Signage including maps, pamphlets, small-scale displays AV and interactive computers.


Tour guides and or education officers can foster a link with like institutions.



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