As part of a process of further developing the Lückhoff Living Museum in partnership with the local community, Stellenbosch University (SU) will hold a special ceremony on 16 November at which two of the original school benches will be returned to the school.
Fifty years ago in 1969, as a result of the Group Areas Act of 1950, learners from the Lückhoff School in Banhoek Road, Stellenbosch, were forced to vacate their beloved school and relocate to the new Lückhoff School in Idas Valley, some carrying their benches as they left.
Fifty years on, SU and the larger community of Stellenbosch will commemorate this event and continue a process started in 2007 by the then SU rector and vice-chancellor, the late Prof. Russell Botman, during which the Old Lückhoff School building in Banhoek Road was symbolically rededicated to its original owners.
At the time, Botman said that the rededication was infused with a spirit of hope and an intent to “serve as a balm to deep-rooted wounds and pain, which we believe will heal with time".
Mr Neville Bruintjies, a 1969 alumnus and recently retired Lückhoff educator, commented, “I share my excitement with all other Lückhoff alumni, that this 'proud ou gebou' from a shattered past will again arise as a domain from which a pedagogy of healing, of hope and restitution can emanate".
“This initiative further aims to facilitate the continuing process of critical conversations, spaces of healing, memorialisation and reflecting on 50 years since the painful forced removals during the spring of 1969," explained Dr Leslie van Rooi, Senior Director: Social Impact and Transformation.
“The Old Lückhoff School currently houses the SU Division for Social Impact as well as numerous Stellenbosch NGOs. The Lückhoff Living Museum will form the central point of our reflection and discussions about the history of the historic Vlakte community. As such, it will acknowledge our history while also guiding us in building bridges for the future. This will help us not to repeat the mistakes of the past", added Van Rooi.
He added that SU acknowledges the Lückhoff school community of 1969 and intends to further develop the Lückhoff Living Museum in partnership with the local community in the spirit of restoration and the implementation of a practical demonstration of redress and development. “The ceremonial return signals the continuation of the flame of restorative justice that was lit in 2007 by Prof Botman."
“The impact of the forced removals in the greater Stellenbosch has not been adequately researched. The voices that are still unheard need to be acknowledged and documented in order for healing to take place. This is a wonderful opportunity for a new way of being together to redefine community. I am passionately connected to the Lückhoff School through my late father, an English teacher and part of the school community of 1969, and look forward to co-creating this wonderful initiative," stated Ms Renee Hector-Kannemeyer, Deputy Director: Division for Social Impact.
In a spirit of restorative justice, SU has acknowledged its contribution to the injustices of the past since 2000 and committed itself to appropriate redress and development initiatives. In its centenary year, in 2018, SU developed the SU Restitution Statement,* in which it acknowledges its contribution towards the injustices of the past, expressing regret and unreservedly apologising to the communities and individuals who were excluded from the historical privileges that SU enjoyed.
In keeping with the University's values of compassion, equity, accountability, respect and excellence, the institution's Division for Social Impact extends a warm invitation for past learners of the Lückhoff School and members of the Lückhoff school community of 1969 to participate in the ceremony to symbolically return two of the original school benches in an act of restorative justice.
- The event is to be held on Saturday 16 November from 10am-1pm in the Old Lückhoff School in Banhoek Road in Stellenbosch.
- Liaise with Fredelene Nefdt at firstname.lastname@example.org or tel. 021 808 3645 for more information and to RSVP.
*STELLENBOSCH UNIVERSITY RESTITUTION STATEMENT
Stellenbosch University (SU) acknowledges its inextricable connection with generations past, present and future. In the 2018 Centenary Year, SU celebrates its many successes and achievements. SU simultaneously acknowledges its contribution towards the injustices of the past. For this we have deep regret. We apologise unreservedly to the communities and individuals who were excluded from the historical privileges that SU enjoyed and we honour the critical Matie voices of the time who would not be silenced. In responsibility towards the present and future generations, SU commits itself unconditionally to the ideal of an inclusive world-class university in and for Africa.