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EC Provincial Heritage site getting facelift
15 September 2017, 3:59 PM

In a bid to preserve the heritage of Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, the Albany Museum which manages a number of heritage sites in the city, has embarked on a programme to renovate heritage sites.

One of the city’s oldest heritage sites, the Observatory Museum, is currently being renovated. It’s famous for its Camera Obscura which is the only one in the Southern Hemisphere.

The 8th of September will be remembered as the last day this historical museum was operational.

The closure also formed part of the heritage celebrations for the Sarah Baartman District Municipality, held under the theme, Cultural Heritage for sustainable tourism: The Story of the Observatory Museum.

The museum was a house and shop of Englishman Henry Galpin, a watchmaker and jewellery that lived in Grahamstown in 1850 until his death in 1886.

The museum is unique because of its Camera Obscura with 360 degree view of the city.

It’s believed Galpin used the Camera Obscura to view Grahamstown as he was suffering from insomnia.

Fleurway Jones has worked at the museum as a curator for more than three decades. She says the structure of the building is what makes it special.

“It’s a very unusual building, someone says it defies architecture because it wasn’t meant to be a four storey building with two towers on top with a flag pole. It was meant to be a shop and a home but this man had an extraordinary idea of adding more to it and adding to it and his son helped him. So we have this unusual building that everyone love”

Besides the camera obscura, the museum is also linked with the first testing of the diamond discovered in the country in 1867.

It’s believed this is what led De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited to purchase the house due to its tie to diamonds.

“We have a number of interlinking stories, this was a businessman establishing himself in a new country with the family and so on we’ve got that story. We’ve also got this amazing story of the diamond and how it end up to land in Grahamstown and be identify finally in this building. And the opportunity people took to identify this building as a heritage site and worth of preserving,” Jones explains.

The closure of the museum will not deter tourists from coming to Grahamstown as the city prides itself of heritage sites, events and symbols, such as the annual National Arts Festival, the English Literary Museum which is a national museum and Egazini battle field.

The Egazini battle field site tells a story of a war between Xhosa warriors led by Makanda and British soldiers.

The Grahamstown municipality is named after this Xhosa warrior.

The Director of Museums and Heritage in the department of Arts and Culture in the Sarah Baartman District, Zandisile Sakata says, “It is said that about 10 000 Xhosa warriors were killed about British soldiers. If you look at the Fort England the Psychiatric hospitals, it used to be the British headquarters. So when Makanda was coming to attack Grahamstown, their aim was to attack the British headquarters. Opposite the hospital is where the battle was fought. Those sites are facing each other, that is the headquarters and the monument that resembles the battleground of Grahamstown.”

The Observatory Museum is a Provincial Heritage site.

The country will be celebrating Heritage Day on the 24th of this month.

– By

Celebrating Our Liberation Heritage and Democracy
15 September 2017, 3:50 PM

South Africa will mark Heritage Month in September under the theme: “The Year of OR Tambo: Celebrating Our Liberation Heritage and Democracy”. During the month South Africans are encouraged to come together to share, celebrate and showcase their cultural heritage.

Government will use National Heritage Month and the promotion of cultural institutions as a vehicle for nation building, social cohesion, national reconciliation, moral regeneration, economic and social development. It is also a platform for communities to showcase different aspects of South Africa’s diverse heritage. South Africans are encouraged to take pride in the country’s cultural institutions and play an active role in affirming, promoting and preserving it.

2017 marks the 12th anniversary of the UNESCO conference resolution that recognised liberation struggle heritage as significant and of universal value.

Our cultural and heritage sites offer the space for communities to interact, learn and connect with each other.

The month will also be used to celebrate the liberation heritage route and honour men and women who fought against apartheid. Young people will also be educated that the freedom we continue to enjoy today was not free. It was made possible by the sacrifices of thousands of patriots who confronted the evil apartheid government.

A foremost advocate for a democratic South Africa was OR Tambo, therefore it is most fitting that we are celebrating his centenary this year.

– By

SADC to hold a double Troika in Pretoria
14 September 2017, 9:38 PM

The Southern African Development Community, SADC, will convene a Double Troika Summit of Heads of State and Government in Pretoria on Friday. This comes after recent political and security development in Lesotho. President Jacob Zuma will chair the summit.

Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane,says numerous attempts have been made to halt the political instability in the country ahead of the summit. “My coalition government partners and myself have sat, looked back at what has been the source of political conflict in our country… To rescue Lesotho from the downward spiral of lawlessness, conflict, political instability and the stagnation and degradation of democracy.”

Despite this, the Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, Lt General Motsomotso was assassinated and three other officers killed, creating cause for concern for the region and especially Lesotho Nationals.

The summit is yet another attempt to create an atmosphere of tolerance and peace.

Rogue elements identified in the Phumaphi Commission of Inquiry report will brief the summit on the Ministerial Fact Finding Mission to Lesotho.

President Zuma is expected to be joined by Heads of State and Government from the Kingdom of Swaziland, Republic of Angola, Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Namibia.

– By Lehana Tsotetsi

Lesotho officials appear in court on various charges
14 September 2017, 5:03 PM

Former Lesotho minister Minister of Finance Dr Mamphono Khaketla appeared briefly in the Maseru Magistrate’s Court on Thursday with her co-accused Thabo Napo. They are charged with soliciting a R4 Million bribe from a fleet service Lebelonyane which was to supply government with a vehicle while still Finance Minister.

Meanwhile, there’s been a breakthrough following the appearance of a suspect in court accused of the assassination of Lesotho Army Commander Khoantle Motsomotso. The court also had to deal with the case of former Defence minister Tselisos Mokhosi who along with four other policemen are accused of the death of deceased policeman Mokalekale Khetheng.

Tseliso was released on bail but skipped the country in fear of his life.

The developments in Lesotho come as the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) prepares for urgent Troika meeting in Pretoria on Friday, to which Lesotho is expected to top the agenda. The summit is held as a result of the recent political development in Lesotho.

– By SABC TV Desk

EU calls for improved presidential polls in Kenya
14 September 2017, 3:53 PM

The European Union (EU) has urged the Kenyan electoral commission to conduct to provide for successful presidential polls next month.

The EU has recommended that the commission develop more transparent procedures for counting, tallying and results transmissions. Kenya is preparing for fresh presidential elections next month after the Supreme Court nullified the August polls.

The European Union termed this month’s Supreme Court ruling as a display of the judiciary’s independence and called on all sides of the political divide to respect the ruling and the country’s independent institutions.

Ahead of the fresh polls, the EU, which last month said it had not seen evidence of manipulation of electoral systems during the August polls, has made 18 recommendations ahead of the fresh polls set for October 17th.

It recommends reforms in the counting, tallying and transmission of results including testing of procedures well ahead of the polls. The EU says the reforms will help Kenyans rebuild their confidence in elections.

The mission also recommended the opening of investigations into the conduct of officials during the polls with the aim of ensuring individual accountability for misdeeds that led to the nullification of the polls.

Watch a related video below:

– By Sarah Kimani

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