Thank you so much Alan for your passionate & moving podcast “Red Location Failure” about the healing power the Red Location Museum contributed to our people during it’s operational years.
See: http://mype.co.za/new/red-location-failure/126601/2019/11/ for context.
I sorely miss that era when the Museum operated as well – and I remember the awesome support you consistently provided during that time to our Museum as the MyPE website.
Last week I was privileged to mingle with some Swedish delegates during the 20 year anniversary celebration of the Twinning partnership between Göteborg City & Nelson Mandela Bay. Their main & moving talk was about the Red Location Museum – their hearts obviously bled deeply as the beloved late Comrade Olof Palme – a former Swedish assassinated President – had the main Street running through the Precinct – named after him.
Moreover, the Swedish people contributed greatly to that initiative: They sponsored R26 million for the development of the Red Location Museum, completely supported the new RDP housing development of Phase 3, built a community Hall in the latter area, & reached out to the Red Location Museum through a partnership with the World Culture Museum (such as: training the surrounding community & supported doing their own video programme of interviews around the effect HIV had on some community members lives, and having an awesome localised & enhanced mega international exhibition namely ” The NoNameFever – Ugawulayo” showcased at the Red Location Museum).
Furthermore, regarding some community members forcefully closing the Red Location Cultural Precinct on 18 Oct 2013 – it has very deep roots stemming from many years before.
The protestors’ intention was to put pressure on Local Government to get their dangerously crumbling/collapsing RDP build housing rectified – as was sadly unfulfilled promises many times since 2000. Unfortunately, when this implementation was eventually offered to the residents by 2013 – it was on the basis that it would be according to the parameters of 40 square meters “Metro housing” & not the formerly 48 square meters of RDP housing. Some affected community members were enraged about this, as previously – at the time when visiting national ministers made promises to them that their houses were to be rectified “soon”, it was on the clear understanding that it would be according to the then RDP housing guidelines.
Today, I suspect that the vandalisation costs of the Red Location Cultural Precinct is easily above R35 million and so much more – as extremely valuable Museum collections were stolen – and people profoundly lost out on great transformation & development opportunities. Surely the vandalisation of the Precinct today entails to much more than it would have cost Government to have rectified the houses according to RDP guidelines (48 square meters).
Since the closure of the Museum, more issues have been added by affected community members – such as that they want “participation” in the Precinct’s programmes not just to “benefit” from such. In other words they desire a say in programmes identified, developed, launched and running.
Sadly the Red Location Cultural Precinct lacked essential development from the “onset” with greater community participation – where Metro residents could feel that they had meaningful ownership of this initiative – starting from before the Museum was developed. “Community” referring especially the surrounding residents as well as the rest of our people in the Metro.
But Local Government, once the Museum was built, expected it to successfully launch like some kind of Shopping Complex and not as a Museum given ample time from it’s concept roots, for instance with content development, the collection of artifacts, inclusion of all former Liberation parties stakeholders etc.
Instead, some local politicians & high ranking officials unprofessionally behind the scenes, forced their hands on what content the Museum would feature or not! And unlike the free entry to the other Local Government Museum in the City (Mandela Metro Museum) in a formerly white area – entrance fees were charged to visit the Red Location Museum in a Township!
Because of the vandalisation of the Precinct, rising crime in the unfenced venue and drug abuse by young people here – the immediate surrounding community members are today left totally frustrated.
The Good News is that more and more community members are coming on board getting the Precinct running again – with great thanks to Percy Lamani, a well known media personality, leading a Campaign under the banner “Save the Red Location Museum” through his regular shows on KQFM radio and Bay TV.
Additionally, with pressure from our Swedish partners & sincere efforts from Local Government – I am feeling much more positive & hopeful, that this time around the genuine reality getting the Precinct operating again, is indeed on the rise.
If, despite this latter support, the affected residents perhaps might still feel adamant that their demands are not fairly met, I propose that they take up their plight with the Constitutional Court.
Humbly yours in the continued People’s Struggle…
Annette du Plessis
Former RLM Marketing Officer
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