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ARTS, CULTURE, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
29 May 2001
FREEDOM PARK INSTITUTE: BRIEFING
Chairperson: Mr W Serote
Documents handed out
Freedom Park briefing (Annexure 1)
The Freedom Park will reflect the pre-colonial, colonial, apartheid, and post-apartheid phases that were instrumental in the development of the South African nation. It will give historical meaning to the struggle for democracy. The themes for the park are struggle, democracy, and nation building.
Vibrant commercial activities and a strong African based service industry will be developed to enhance the marketability of the Freedom Park. The proposed site for the Park is at Salvokop in Pretoria.
The Freedom Park Trust will oversee the development of the Freedom Park Project. The Trust has R 5.4 million to start off with. The Trust will have a three-year life span. It is proposed that the design of the Freedom Park will be revealed by 15 November 2001.
Ms Lindi Gabb (Chief Executive Officer of the Freedom Park Project) made the presentation. She noted that the concept of the Freedom Park originated in 1994 with a suggestion from Government. Government felt that it is important to have a national monument.
The project started with the creation of a trust in November 1999. The trustees were appointed in December 1999. The board of trustees was chaired by Mr Joe Modise. The trustees include:
- Gertrude Ghope,
- Professor Viste Estehuiz,
- Faith Gaza,
- Rev Frank Chicane,
- Frene Ginwala,
- the Director of Arts and Culture
The trustees put together a concept document which outlined three themes for the Freedom Park. These themes are: Struggle; Democracy and Nation Building.
The Freedom Park will reflect the pre-colonial, colonial, apartheid, and post-apartheid phases that were instrumental in the development of the South African nation.
Ms Gabb outlined the following:
Vision of the Project
To develop a natural heritage site and place of pilgrimage and inspiration which:
- Acknowledges South Africa's heritage, and
- Gives historical meaning to the struggle for democracy (through the exploration of South Africa's pre-colonial, colonial, apartheid and post apartheid history).
- The museum reflecting colonialism and apartheid should include all phases of struggle, from pre- colonial, colonial, apartheid and post apartheid.
- A monument to heroes of the struggle should be erected.
- A museum will feature women's struggles.
- Vibrant commercial activities with strong African based service industry will be developed to enhance the marketability of the Freedom Park.
- It will be a garden of remembrance.
The Freedom Park Trust
The trust will oversee the development of the Freedom Park Project. It presently has R 5.4 million to start off with. The trust will have a three-year life span and will:
- Raise funds for the development of Freedom Park and finance the development of its components.
- Assist with and promote the trust fund raising initiative.
- Consult with interested stakeholders.
- They have developed an implementation plan, a consultative strategy, and a media strategy.
- The site for the park has been identified.
- They intend to engage in a National consultation process and promote a design competition.
- They propose to complete the public consultation with all stakeholders by National Heritage day.
- They propose to reveal the design of the Freedom Park by 15 November 2001.
The proposed site is at Salvokop in Pretoria. The site has been approved. It measures 35 hectares and is located at the Southern Entrance of Pretoria. It will be near the Voortrekker Monument. The Ben Schoeman highway flanks the hill and the Nelson Mandela drive. At a right angle to the Park one will find other museums.
As South Africans there is a need to resolve the contradictions of our history. One of the most visible aspects of our history is that we have a multi-segregated culture. Although there are deep contradictions, there is still a great deal of wealth of human experience that needs to be tapped and localised.
Mr Cassim (IFP) made the following points:
- He said that the monument should be cathartic for this to happen. It must be a museum cum theatre.
- He noted concern that the fund raising cycle is limited to three years. He felt that more time is needed.
- Finally he suggested that the Transvaal museum must be tapped since that museum had early items of humanoids.
Ms Gabb agreed with Mr Cassiem's suggestions and said that she noted them.
A committee member commented that:
- In the past there were problems with the way in which public consultations were handled. There is a need to assess the reason for this. They must engage the public without repeating the mistakes of the past.
- Children should be engaged in the process because they are the future leaders.
- He envisaged a national media debate before the public debate.
Ms Gabb replied that school children would be consulted. She added that she hopes that the content in the Freedom Park would be interactive and engage all persons who see the Park.
A member of the opposition said that the history of the Anglo-Boer war and the impact that it had on all persons within South Africa must be included. She said that the Park must also reflect pre-colonial conflict. A submission must be made to the department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
Ms Gabb responded that there was a need for an immense amount of archiving. The heritage manager will be responsible to roll out the project. She said that she would take the issue of the Anglo Boer war to the trustees and the Department of Arts and Culture will also be actively involved.
Another member of the Committee felt that four weeks was not enough for people in the rural areas to be engaged.
Asked whether traditional leaders were engaged, Ms Gabb responded that in the National Consultative process traditional leaders have been designated .The traditional leaders who will be consulted would be the head of organisations. Also, there is a plan to have teams go to rural areas and consult with them.
In response to a question on why the site is in Pretoria, Ms Gabb replied that Pretoria is the National Capital and was chosen accordingly.
In response to another question Ms Gabb replied that the names of the trustees were suggested by the Department of Arts and Culture and by the Presidents office. It was then approved by Cabinet.
Ms Ghandi (ANC) commented that the old history of South Africa should be noted. However, one must realise that it is the most recent history of the country that foreigners are interested in.
FREEDOM PARK (29 May 2001)
Freedom Park: a Legacy Project
· Freedom Park project was approved by Cabinet in Cabinet memorandum of 10 June 1998.
· The Trust and list of trustees was approved respectively on 4 November 1999 and 1 December 1999. The Trust has been established to manage the development of the site.
· The three themes of struggle, democracy and nation building underpin the development of the site.
· It is envisaged that the Freedom Park will reflect pre-colonial, colonial, apartheid and post-apartheid phases of democratisation and the development of the South African Nation.
· The commemorative components will be developed
· taking into account representativity i.t.o gender.
· A national heritage site and place of pilgrimage and inspiration which acknowledges South Africa's heritage and gives historical meaning to the struggle for democracy through the exploration of her pre-colonial, colonial, apartheid and post apartheid history.
· The Museum reflecting Colonialism and Apartheid should include all phases of struggle, from pre-colonial, colonial, apartheid and post-apartheid.
· A Monument to Heroes of the Struggle should be erected.
· The museum components should feature women's struggles.
· Vibrant commercial activities, with a strong African based service industry, are to be developed to enhance the marketability of Freedom Park.
ARTS, CULTURE, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
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