House of Hope centre closer to reality

An artists representation of the House of Hope.

The proposal for the Denis Goldberg House of Hope was presented at Hout Bay Museum’s 40th anniversary celebration on Wednesday April 17.

Last year, the provincial governmentofferedthe Denis Goldberg Legacy Foundation Trust a 99-year lease of the site in St Andrews Road, Hout Bay, which houses the Hout Bay Museum.

The House of Hope will provide a venue for organisations to offer activities for the youth.

Denis Goldberg, 86, was a political activist, particularly in the struggle against apartheid and spent 22 years in prison, along with Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu and others. He is one of the two people from the Rivonia Trial who are still alive.

In 2015, 13 years after he returned to South Africa after residing in London, Mr Goldberg and four others established the Denis Goldberg Legacy Foundation Trust. The primary focus of the trust is the formation of arts, cultural and educational centres.

Apart from the venue, the House of Hope will include an exhibition gallery, which will be divided into two parts. One will be a dedication to Mr Goldberg, revealing various pictures of his past, paired with detailed descriptions. A personal art gallery will also be part of the exhibition.

It will display Mr Goldberg’s Life is Wonderful art collection of over 200 paintings, sculptures and crafts, which he started at the age of 51, after being released from prison in 1985.

“You know, after being surrounded by grey walls and ceilings stained with tobacco smoke, I just needed some colour in my life,” he said at the ceremony.

Life is Wonderful shows a vision of what this South Africa could be.”

In addition to his own collection, drawings by kids from Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu will also be put on show in a separate gallery.

“I don’t care about the paintbrush strokes, it’s about what they’re trying to say, that’s important,” said Mr Goldberg.

One of his main objectives was for the House of Hope to have as much natural air and light as possible, which is why the building will have no artificial mechanical equip-
ment.

“The building will be down to earth, hard-wearing and will represent Denis’s values. He wants the children to move through freely and not feel as if they have to tread lightly, to avoid breaking something,” said Jo Noero, a renowned architect and Hout Bay resident.

“It’s important that they don’t feel constricted, but rather that they think of this as their second home.”

Not only will the House of Hope provide the children with essential IT and computer skills, but by incorporating the main lang-
uages in the community (English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa), a desperately-needed social cohesion will be created.

The trust has already raised enough for phase one of the building, but further funding is still needed to equip the building, organise activities and cover basic overheads.

During the second phase, there will be afternoon and holiday programmes, while the trust obtains approval for the building plans from the City of Cape Town. This phase will also involve construction of three rooms alongside the museum hall.

The provincial government has expressed support for the construction of a world-class auditorium that can accommodate an audience of about 250 as there is currently no such venue publicly available in the Hout Bay area.

Mr Goldberg has been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and the treatment that he is undergoing is essentially palliative. It is because of this, that the trustees of the foundation have resolved to double their efforts to create this legacy to honour his life while he is still here.

He hopes the centre will become a healthy environment where young people can express themselves through art, culture, dance and more.

“Being part of something inclusive gives us all dignity. It’s not about skin colour, it’s about personality. There has been so much damage done to us in the past. The oppressed and the oppressors equally need to be part of making this country go forward,” Mr Goldberg said.

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