Heritage Day: A walk to remember and celebrate a common heritage
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Cape Town - The Claremont Main Road Mosque (CMRM) and the St Saviour’s Anglican Church in Claremont will be leading a Walk of Remembrance this Heritage Day.
The long-standing institutions, both established in 1854, will lead the walk to acknowledge and reclaim the history of displaced communities of Newlands and Claremont, recalling the pain and loss of those who had been forcibly removed.
The first congregants of the mosque and the church were removed from these neighbourhoods during the forced removals of the 1960s.
Former residents and their descendants are encouraged to take part in the walk and to share their stories of the violent uprooting.
Current residents are also encouraged to take part to hear these accounts and to honour the memories of the displaced communities.
Claremont Main Road Masjid’s Imam Rashied Omar said he hopes the day will evoke remembrance, nostalgia and the need to record oral history – and for this history and their struggles to be recognised and, in some cases, gain restitution.
Omar said the idea emerged organically during group discussions about the possibility of a Newlands/Claremont Heritage Society.
“The group needed institutional support and the church and mosque happened to be the oldest buildings and institutions in the area, both established in 1854,” said Omar.
The St Saviour’s Anglican Church rector, Reverend Chesnay Frantz, said this would be the first of many collaborations between the mosque and the church, as they strengthen their interfaith relationship.
“The significance of the walk is the coming together of two religious institutions in Claremont, namely Claremont Main Road Mosque and St Saviour’s Anglican Church, to remember with our congregants their heritage.
“It’s a heritage steeped in historical value as many had been forcibly removed and now commute to the church and mosque weekly, but are not recognised for their foundation, which had been laid in the plush suburbs of Claremont and Newlands.”
The Claremont Main Road Mosque and St Saviour’s Anglican Church hopes to build on the collaboration around this event to launch a Newlands/Claremont oral history project and mobilise support to establish an inclusive Newlands/Claremont Heritage, Environmental Justice and Restitution Society.