Heritage hostel in kasi

Hostel 33 in Lwandle will be declared a provincial heritage site on Monday 24 September (Heritage Day).

This is the only hostel in the area that has been left in its original form.

The hostel was built for migrant labourers, especially single men, more than 60 years ago

Masa Soko, manager of the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum told City Vision this means the museum is moving to another level of significance.

She further added that the declaration will lead to the museum not being seen as an “ordinary museum”, but as one of importance in the province as, uniquely, it speaks about the life of hostel people.

It holds a history that helped shape the province into what it is today, she said.

“This will bring pride to the people of Lwandle, and the museum’s pioneers, whom we enshrine in this museum,” Soko said.

“Their idea of a museum and support for it was not in vain. It is the result of their contribution and the stories they shared.”

Hostel 33 is a landmark, which shows how important migrant workers were in the province, and, in time, it could well be named a national heritage site.

“As we tell our stories we have the potential to go to another level,” Soko explained.

“There are only two museums in South Africa that speak about labour issues, ours and another in Johannesburg [the Workers’ Library and Museum in Newtown, Johannesburg].”

The Lwandle museum can also improve and become a world heritage site, Soko added, as the only museum in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa that deals with migrant labour.

The nomination process commenced last year and was submitted to Heritage Western Cape at the beginning of this year.

She told City Vision she came to realise people were not aware about the importance of having Hostel 33 in their area. “So we will host a workshop to inform locals of its importance,” Soko said. “It is very important that they know [about the history] and they can also tell others as well.”

Hostel 33 will be officially declared a provincial heritage site on Monday 24 September during a special Heritage Day programme.