House of Hope signed and sealed for Hout Bay

Denis Goldberg signs the co-operation agreement. Looking on are MEC for Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais, and Susan Ball.

A co-operation agreement between struggle hero Denis Goldberg, the provincial department of cultural affairs and sport and the Hout Bay Museum to commence the House of Hope project was signed this week.

The House of Hope, being rolled out under the auspices of the Denis Goldberg Legacy Foundation Trust, is an art and culture education and training centre for children in Hout Bay and greater Cape Town (“Goldberg secures the future”, November 24, 2017).

The Western Cape provincial government offered the 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 centre will provide opportunities for disadvantaged children to participate in painting, drawing, drama and exercises that improve their writing and language skills in the main languages of the community (English, Afrikaans and IsiXhosa).

The activities will include IT literacy and computer skills, which are essential for full participation in both social and economic aspects of society in the 21st century.

The intention is to bring people, particularly children and youth, together through music, singing and dance of all kinds, resulting in social cohesion that is envisaged in South Africa’s National Development Plan and that underlies the Freedom Charter drawn up in the 1950s.

The House of Hope will also house the Denis Goldberg Art Collection, Life is Wonderful, which consists of some 200 works of art by South African artists.

In attendance at the signing ceremony at Mr Goldberg’s home on Tuesday October 2 were MEC for Cultural Affairs and Sport Anroux Marais, as well as other officials from the department.

Mr Goldberg, who is suffering from cancer, said he hoped the presence on the site would also help grow the Hout Bay Museum. To this end, he announced the donation of laptops to the museum’s oral history project, believing that that it was important for people to know their history and these devices could assist in telling the stories in the local community.

“This signing ceremony marks what we had hoped to do and turning it into a reality,” the Rivonia trialist said.

“We are busy all the time. I’m busy all night long in my head when I’m in hospital, thinking about getting out and talking to people about the project.”

Mr Goldberg enchanted the guests with the story of the sentence he received at Rivonia, after which he told his mother, “It’s life, and life is wonderful”.

“We were given four life sentences, but I thought I had scored because I would only serve one,” he quipped.

Ms Marais thanked the trust for its commitment to Hout Bay, saying it was a “great privilege to be part of the co-operation agreement.

“We are in urgent need of positive change in our most vulnerable communities,” she said.

Susan Ball, of the Hout Bay Museum, paid tribute to Mr Goldberg for bringing new hope to Hout Bay through the project, and also commended management and staff for guiding the board of trustees in the right direction.

The first phase of the project, which ran from June to September, involved initiating activities for children to raise awareness for the House of Hope.

This phase included a holiday programme run at the Hout Bay Museum in collaboration with arts non-profit Lalela.

The second phase, from October 2018 to December 2019, seeks to co-ordinate House of Hope on the museum site. During this phase, there will be afternoon and holiday programmes, while the trust has also been investigating the possibility of offering training in various artisan and other employment-related skills.

This period will also be used to obtain approval for the building plans from the City council. The museum site is zoned for cultural purposes, and this should shorten the approval process as it will only involve approval for the plans, and not require a lengthy public consultation process.

The phase will involve construction of three rooms alongside the museum hall.

The architectural plans for this first phase are at an advanced stage. A preliminary evaluation suggests that the cost will be about R6 million.

The third phase, from January 2020 onwards, will expand on cultural activities taking place at the site while raising funds, and completing all the other processes required to construct an auditorium.

The provincial government has expressed strong 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.

For more than 60 NPOs currently operating in Hout Bay, there will be an opportunity to use the new rooms.

These NPOs currently face challenges in finding an affordable venue to undertake group-based activities, and the new rooms will be attractive to them due to their affordability, the “buzz” that the combination of activities will generate, and the trust’s provision of supporting services such as transport from different parts of Hout Bay and snacks and meals.