- nelson mandela -
The Protea Village Community was established on the farm Protea in 1834. When Bishop Gray, the first Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, bought the farm Protea, he changed the name to Bishopscourt, although the Protea Village Settlement retained its name. Bishop Gray made a particular effort to convert those living in the Protea Village Settlement and therefore established a small chapel called the Good Shepherd. The first church service with the Protea Village Community was held in approximately 1864. The present Church building was built in 1886 by the residents of the Protea Village Settlement, using stones from the nearby Liesbeek River, with extensions added in 1904 and 1990.
Protea Village grew into a vibrant community, especially during the establishment of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in 1913, where many of the men worked as gardeners and provided their skills and labour. The women worked mainly as domestic workers and flower sellers in the surrounding areas. The community flourished, having its own character and community spirit with strong family, community and spiritual values. Everyone knew each other. The community lived peaceably on the property among the trees, river and the beauty of the mountain. Protea Village had its own church, school, playing fields, spring to supply the drinking water and a shop run by the Hussein family. The community worshipped at the Good Shepherd.
Protea Village was declared a “White Group Area” in terms of Proclamation 190 of 1957 and Proclamation 34 of 1961. The forced removals of the Protea Village Claimants from the Property took place over a decade from approximately 1959 to approximately 1970. The majority of Protea Village Claimants were forcibly removed to the Cape Flats, in particular to Grassy Park. No compensation was paid to the Protea Village Claimants at the time of the forced removals. 132 families were forcibly removed over a decade. The school was closed, the church closed for regular worship and all of the houses, except for the 3 Stone Cottages on Farm 875, were destroyed and bulldozed flat. The Apartheid State tried to destroy the Community. Many elderly community members died as a result of the stress and pain caused by the forced removals. The painful memories remain in the Community.
The Protea Village Community returned to the Church on a monthly basis. The sense of community remained. On Advent Sunday, 1978, the church reopened for regular Sunday worship; and there was great rejoicing. People from the surrounding (now very affluent) areas and those who had been dispossessed and scattered, started worshipping together: building a new congregation which through the years has grown together in love, understanding and acceptance.
The 86 Community Members who opted for the restitution of land will now return to homes on the properties and to wish to create a desirable place for people to make Protea Village their home. The plan is to create an inclusive development; and one that considers the value of the properties in the surrounding area, as this will enable not only the Claimants’ homes to be restored, but will also enable the restoration of their wealth.
In July 2015, the Community and the State publically advertised and called for proposals for the development of the properties awarded to the Community. After due process, the Community elected to partner with Bethel Partners in June 2016.
Bethel Partners is working with the Protea Village Community to design, plan and implement a project that creates 86 houses for the Community; generates revenue for the Community; creates annuity income that will partially and sustainably subsidise the cost of the future home ownership; and one that enables the current generation to leave a positive legacy for their descendants and beneficiaries.
The development of Protea Village will respond appropriately to the environmental, economic and social context of the property; generate the best financial returns for the participants; and due consideration should be given to, as far as reasonably possible (but without compromising the primary intent of funding and providing 86 houses to the Claimants), preserving and enhancing the environmental assets on the properties.