Abu Bakr Solomons writes that when his eyes caught the sorrowful sight of the the old Mostert’s Mill, almost completely destroyed, he felt such a deep sense of loss. Picture: Corbin August/Supplied
Abu Bakr Solomons writes that when his eyes caught the sorrowful sight of the the old Mostert’s Mill, almost completely destroyed, he felt such a deep sense of loss. Picture: Corbin August/Supplied

LETTER: Mixed feelings about the end of the road of Mostert’s Mill

By Opinion Time of article published May 11, 2021

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by Abu Bakr Solomons

About a week ago, I drove home from the Bo-Kaap, along Nelson Mandela Boulevard. This was a few days after the blaze that destroyed so much of the mountain – especially Rhodes Memorial and UCT.

My eyes caught a sorrowful sight: the old Mostert’s Mill, almost completely destroyed. I felt such a deep sense of loss.

Mostert Mill was an important landmark for me, showing which way to turn off to drive into the Mowbray Main Road from the highway.

How would I know now, but by a razed image, to remind one of a complex, social, environmental and political accountability tragedy of our times?

A doleful sign, raising questions about how far we have advanced or regressed since it's original owners lived there.

The mill was also a visible sign for us that Rhodes Memorial wasn't far away, when we, as youngsters, performed our annual pilgrimage, by bus, to “Rhodes” during Easter school holidays. We were fascinated by its mysterious antiquity.

In recent times we learnt that the mill was bought by Cecil John Rhodes, that arch imperialist, from the old original Dutch family who owned it.

Currently, the historical symbolism of our monuments fall under the spotlight, in the political fray of redress.

In the aftermath of the #RhodesMustFall movement, I could not silence an urge to question whether I would, indeed, be expected to temper my grief for old Mostert Mill and whether my sentiments would, perhaps, be irately censured by our new political avatars.

* Abu Bakr Solomons, Bo-Kaap.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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