A Muizenberg woman has started a campaign to restore the village’s iconic beach huts.
Angela Gorman says the beach huts are special to her personally and iconic beyond sentimental reasons – they symbolise summer holidays for people around the world, and she feels they must be preserved.
She says that during a recent walk she saw the huts were in a shabby state and has made fixing them up her personal project.
She created a Facebook page, Save our Beach Huts, and set about finding like-minded folk. They came out of the woodwork, as it were, with offers of paint, wood and time. And there were messages of support from international visitors with fond memories of the rainbow beach huts.
Daniel Blaauw, of Whale Watchers, agreed to donate proceeds from the sale of his My Muizenberg Buffs to the #saveourbeachhuts campaign. And, as a special Heritage Day promotion run by Roxy Davis, of Roxy, 20% of the proceeds of any boards hired between Heritage Day, September 24, and Sunday September 27, will go to the campaign.
Meanwhile, Dr Zahid Badroodien, mayoral committee member of community services and health, has allayed community fears about the future of the huts.
“We have no plan to remove all the huts, I would not support that,” he said.
Only huts that were isolated and in bad states of disrepair would possibly face removal.
The rest, he said, would be refurbished with weather-resistant materials.
Dr Badroodien said the huts along the whole coast were valued symbols for tourism and the City wanted to preserve them and make them functional.
One option, he said, was for a citizens group with an interest in the huts to manage them on behalf of the City, but with the City’s support.
If the existing huts were suitably restored and functional, the City might re-establish those already taken down, he said.
Ms Gorman said she was thrilled with the response so far to her campaign. “So many people have offered help, but we can only utilise them once we get going with the project. I can’t wait to see people painting the huts and celebrating their restoration.”
She said she would like to see the huts used as locker rooms that people could hire and leave their valuables in while they went to the beach. “Donations of wood to repair what is missing or broken would be amazing,” she said.
She wants people to take photos of the beach huts and share them on social media to show what they mean to them. “I’m aiming to repair one hut at a time and hope that once people see us actually working on the project, more volunteers and donors will come forward.”
Dr Badroodien said it was important that the right materials were used to restore the huts because of the harsh weather they endured.
Phase one of the Save our Beach Huts plan is to repair and paint the first 25 huts up to the lifesaver’s tower. Ms Gorman said she had already secured sponsorship for the repair of the first four huts, but a way needed to be found to maintain the huts after they had been repaired.