Wynberg East residents invited to share their histories

Residents of Wynberg East have been invited to contribute to an oral history project which was launched over the weekend.

Among the short-term goals of the Wynberg East Oral History Project is a showcase of the family trees of Wynberg families as well as a history of the area on Heritage Day, Saturday September 24.

The project, launched at Muhammadeyah Primary School, in Wynberg, on Saturday June 11, is a collabrative effort of the Wynberg East Civic Association (WECA) and the Cape Family Research Forum (CFRF) and it “applies to all families and institutions within Wynberg East,” said WECA chairman Yunus Karriem, who is also the oral history project leader.

Among those at the launch was Paramount Chief Hennie van Wyk who presented an overview of Khoisan history and emphasised that “we all (coloured, black, white) have some form of Khoisan lineage/ DNA.”

Mr Karriem said: “We documented some Khoi history, their culture of being at one with the environment and nature, the use of tree roots and plants as their medicine, of which they have a book printed called ‘Veld Medicine’.

Highlighting the significance of Wynberg in Khoisan history, Mr Karriem added: “Based on the testimony and research done by Patric Mellet, the ‘southern suburbs was created on top of the grazing lands of the Khoe, forcibly removing and destroying their successful livestock economy’.”

Mr Van Wyk said this engagement was significant as in the past “our voices were not heard and we have been struggling too long in this separation. We are a very diverse society and we need to enjoy the diversity.”

The 85-year-old chief said South Africans needed to engage in “cross-cultural and religious activity and voice the rights of the indigenous people”.

Mr Van Wyk said the clan should not only be showcasing their culture on Heritage Day but also engage with children at school to share their stories throughout the year.

Mr Karriem said WECA would be showcasing the rich family traditions and family trees of families that have a long and rich heritage in Wynberg, on Heritage Day.

“We call upon all Wynberg families to join this project where we are documenting our families’ history.”

CFRF public relations officer Kammie Kamedien, WECA was accredited as an urban conservation body with Heritage Western Cape. Therefore, he said the cultural histories recovered through the oral history project could also be used to apply for a Wynberg East Heritage Overlay Zone which would in future dictate town planning in the area.

Wynberg East, he said, was “endowed with many extant heritage-significant Edwardian houses and other landmark buildings such as Palmerston school and the defunct Luxurama movie house, etc.”

Mr Kamedien said future plans included the publication of “both a ebook and coffee table book”.

To contribute to the oral history project, the readers can contact Yunus Karriem on 082 620 2120 or email wynbergcivic@gmail.com