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Western Cape
Apr 26 2012 11:32AM
 
Activists' haven Community House steps up as heritage site
THE FINAL BATTLE: Community House came to symbolise the collective spirit of a mass movement
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Nadine Ford-Kritzinger

The unique social and political significant Community House in Salt River will next week celebrate its official declaration as a provincial heritage site.

In 2010 after a protracted engagement with Heritage Western Cape, official provincial recognition was gazetted, stating: "In the height of apartheid repression in the 1980s, Community House came to symbolise the collective spirit of a mass movement that fought the final battle against an unjust regime.

Today it still functions as a home for civic organisations". The mid-1980s saw heightened repression in apartheid South Africa, the revival of the workers' movement and an intense struggle for liberation created the need for infrastructure and a stable environment from which trade unions and civic and service organisations could wage their struggle.

To meet this need the Western Province Council of Churches and the NGO, Social Change Assistance Trust purchased a dilapidated workshop in Salt River, an area known for its textile and light metal factories.

Community House was officially opened on August 21, 1987 and eight days later apartheid agents bombed the building, but shortly thereafter it became a meeting place for anti-apartheid resistance.

Today Community House continues to accommodate organisations engaged in struggles for socio-economic justice and equality.

This continuity constitutes its character as a living heritage site. The drive to earn Community House the accolade began in earnest in 2007, when tenants and activists drew up this and other plans for the historical place.

nadinef@thenewage.co.za

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