Three hundred and fifty tumultuous years will have passed when a commemoration to mark the laying of the cornerstone at the castle in Cape Town is held there on Saturday.
And to acknowledge the castle’s many negative historical associations, the function is not being billed as a celebration, but rather a commemoration of the laying of the cornerstone on January 2 1666.
Currently an asset of the Department of Defence, the Castle of Good Hope was built by the Dutch East India Company – Jan van Riebeeck’s employer – and was completed in 1679.
According to Cape Town Tourism, building materials included granite from Signal Hill and blue slate and shells brought over from Robben Island, with the labour drawn from slaves.
The commemoration of the laying of the first stone is expected to start a new chapter of healing at the castle which is strongly associated with dispossession of land, colonialism and brutality.