ANC ‘birthplace’ now a national heritage site
THE “birthplace” of the ANC, the Waaihoek Wesleyan Church in Bloemfontein, has been declared a national heritage site – more than seven years after the Free State provincial government bought the building for R10 million.
The SA Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) received an application for the church to be declared a national heritage site.
The building was previously a panel beating workshop, and the provincial government renovated it in time for the ANC’s centenary celebrations in January 2012.
In 1912, several prominent African leaders, including Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Saul Msane, Sol Plaatje and WB Rubusana, were joined by traditional and religious leaders to establish the South African Native National Congress (SANNC).
In 1923, the SANNC changed its name to the African National Congress (ANC).
According to the SAHRA, the church has exceptional qualities of special national significance in terms of the heritage assessment criteria.
The SAHRA requires a written motivation to declare a place a heritage site.
The provincial government bought the church after lengthy negotiations with Kevin Jacobs, who had purchased it for R280 000 in 2003.
ANC provincial spokesperson Thabo Meeko said the Free State Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation submitted the written motivation for the church to be declared a national heritage site.
The department said it made the request several years ago.
The ANC also plans to turn its former head office in London, which has been declared a heritage site by the City of London, into a musuem.
The party used the property between 1978 and 1994.
According to the ANC, the building will be refurbished and its ground floor used to showcase its Struggle history. Its upper floors will be renovated into residential units.
The London building is worth R10m and is part of the ANC’s property portfolio worth nearly R310m across the world.
It has given the Liliesleaf Trust the responsibility of developing the building and linking it with the historical Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia.
A warm welcome in Venda.
The Waaihoek Wesleyan Church in Bloemfontein is being renovated.