The battle for history and a river — the Liesbeek and the River Club site

Lalou Meltzer – 7 July 2022

It is significant that the early colonial history of the Cape has again become a battleground of ideas. Clearly, history is not dead — moribund rather are those interpretations that succumb to old relations of power and don’t look to nurturing a more resilient future.

A case in point is that of the development of the River Club site which includes the confluence of the Two Rivers (Liesbeek and Black) — itself once witness to an iconic struggle. Here the early and most important wars of resistance were fought by indigenous Khoe against the newly arrived Dutch colonists. Today, the River Club, an integral part of the area, is being decried and dismissed by some as a wasteland and marsh — as historically insignificant and not worth the fight to mark, remember and hold dear…