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Heritage cannot be buried

By: M.R.Sauls

Heritage refers to the meanings and values we bestow on collections, buildings, archaeological sites, landscapes, and intangible expressions of culture, such as traditions. Our historical value of our stories makes the complexities of life easier to understand as they may determine our life’s trajectory thus these values of heritage become the key factors in the legitimation in the protection of our heritage.

‘As early as 1689 travelers at one time or another made their way to Zwartberg (Caledon). World renowned travelers like William Burchell who through his drawings made it possible for use to see Caledon, at a time when wildlife was abundant, and Caledon could only be described as Eden. Major Piet van der Byl who played a leading role in South African politics housed the illustrious guest, among them Queen Frederika, King Paul, King George II & General Smuts. Caledon welcomed Lady Anne Barnard, M.D. Teenstra, Prince Alfred, Lady Duff Gordon, and Princess Alice to name but a few, who all saw the potential for greatness and growth, most importantly the need for conservation and protection of the slice of Eden we call home.

Apart from the Wildflower Garden the mineral properties of the Caledon Springs were well known and visited frequently by 10’s of thousands of travelers yearly, our climate, scenery and natural resources were once world renowned.

Mary Hall (who claimed to be the first lady to ever complete an overlay journey of South Africa) once said “If ever a Guide to South Africa should be published it will describe Cape Town with its beautiful environs; the hot springs of Caledon, reached by delightful route through Sir Lowry’s pass…”

With more than a dozen Provincial Heritage sites we should not only be proud to be entrusted with the conservation and preservation of these historical value sites but acknowledge that with great heritage comes great responsibility.

Our heritage cannot be buried as the soil we walk on have been walked on by Captains and Kings it is fertile with their ambitions, hopes and dreams, we breathe the same air Queens and Princesses once inhaled may it become a mecca of life may it become the clouds we will once more walk upon.

ǃke e꞉ ǀxarra ǁke; "Diverse People Unite."

Let us take hands and use our natural resources once more to feed our towns economy and resurrect the ambitions and predictions of our predecessors and regain the level of eminence where we could once more be mentioned as one of the foremost attractions in South Africa.

Through the collections of heritage at the Caledon Museum, the Heritage Walk and community projects such as the Faces of Caledon and Caledon Tales in cooperation with Caledon Tourism we not only seek to foster, promote, and entrench community consciousness, social cohesion nor community building but patriotism within all Caledonians as we are Caledon, I am Caledon.

‘Info Source: Our Heritage, A History of Caledon by Joy Edwards.

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