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Solomon Plaatje

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 22 JULY

22 July 1875, Richard Giddy Lodge No 1574 has its first meeting at the Treasury.
22 July 1931, Abantu-Batho Hall (pictured) opens.

DID YOU KNOW

The Abantu-Batho Hall, now the Galeshewe Centre, was opened on 22 July 1931, and cost some £3000. A post office and café was provided for within the hall. The Hall is 70 feet by forty feet, and was provided for film shows. At least 500 could be seated. Perhaps most importantly, Sol Plaatje (pictured) made a speech on the day it was opened, and the last speech he made in Kimberley before dying in Johannesburg in 1932 was also made in the Hall.

PT-Abantu-Bathu_Hall-1931

Abantu-Bathu Hall

A section of his July 1931 speech was to do with eviction of families from Riverton:

“Nearly 100 families living there [in Riverton] are threatened with eviction. In the course of the Waterworks enquiry it appeared that a few Europeans were dissatisfied because some native peasants round Riverton had lived there on cordial relations with Europeans for 30 and some even for 40 years. It ruffles the minds of some people when white and black are not quarrelling; in order, therefore, to create native unrest the squatters’ law was set in motion to turn those natives out of their own homes…Municipal authorities all over the country are seriously concerned over the alarming influx of natives into towns, and efforts are being made to get them back to the country. The process is commonly called “the urban native problem,” whereas no native had a share in its creation, and here are the police hounding native families out of the only homes they had ever known. The bulk of them will have nowhere else to go to but No. 2 Location, where no one should know better than the municipal council that their presence will accentuate the urban unemployment trouble and result in increased vagrancy among the natives. Can anyone imagine anything more inhuman than this choosing a time of unprecedented depression, to turn people out of their homes and expel them from their natural environment, where they were never a charge upon anyone? If they must be evicted, why wait for the coldest winter in 30 years to break up their homes and expose their children to the elements?”

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt

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