Construction starts on R164 million Sarah Baartman Centre

AUGUST 1, 2014

A sod -turning event, marking the official start of construction on the long-awaited R164 million multi-purpose Sarah Baartman Centre of Remembrance was held in Hankey, in the Kouga Local Municipality, on the 2nd of May.

Construction of the centre, which will be situated on Vergaderingskop adjacent to her burial site, is set to take just over two years to complete.

According to the Department of Arts and Culture, who are funding the project, the 4804.5 m² heritage site will include the declared gravesite, a museum, archives, story-telling pits, a healing pond, a symbolic and productive garden, a reception building, retail spaces, workshops, restaurant, multipurpose hall, auditorium, classrooms, accommodation, parking, a road underpass and walkways.

The museum will consist of two sections; one dedicated to the Khoi-San and the other to Sarah Baartman. Visitors follow a route depicting a narrative about Khoi-San history in order to contextualize Sarah Baartman’s life.

 Speaking at the launch of the architectural competition for the project in 2009, then Arts and Culture Minister, Pallo Jordan, said that the Centre would be “a multi-purpose space of national significance” and “the gateway into the Baviaanskloof ”, in so doing, assisting with the promotion of Kouga as a tourist destination.

According to the Department, the construction phase will also create about 1 960 skilled and semi-skilled job opportunities for locals at a cost of R5 million. About 134 jobs will be created after the completion of the Centre.

“Additionally, R500 000 has been set aside for the contracting of small, medium and micro enterprises from the Hankey area. Only if the required goods cannot be sourced locally, will the contractor source it from outside,” said Teresa Shabalala from the Department. “Some 10% of the total cost must be used to purchase material from local suppliers up to 50km from Hankey.”

The Sarah Baartman Centre of Remembrance is part of the Department of Arts and Culture’s legacy projects aimed at transforming the heritage sector and reflecting the role played by all communities and individuals in transforming the country irrespective of their background, religion and gender. Remembrance