24th Sept - HERITAGE DAY IN HOUT BAY
Sadly Heritage Day in South Africa is seen as just another Public Holiday where the majority of people can have the day off, and if you are lucky you can take the days on either side to make it a long weekend. However, one must suppose that the real reason for the creation of a “Heritage Day” is for communities to explore, celebrate and understand their local heritage and history - good or bad. History has a habit of repeating itself and the lessons it can give us are often profound.
As the third oldest formal settlement in our Country, Hout Bay has some fascinating history and two hundred years ago and more was seen as a safe and important shelter for East Indiamen during the winter months. Merchant ships were particularly vulnerable during times of war happening in Europe and seen as “prizes” by opposing Navies. During 1781- 83 the French, then allies of the Dutch, built the East and West Forts to protect the Bay against the British, who in Sept 1795 challenged them in earnest and you can read the real story if you click on the moving link above.
The excitement of the period was re-enacted on the day which was a very serious intrusion at the time but the 2014 “Spin” made it into the most exciting heritage event in the country and residents and visitors had a real chance to feel what it must have been like all those years ago. Those who concentrated there energy on braaing for the day - don’t know what they missed!