Historical society hosts first roadshow

The Rhodes Cottage Museum in Main Road, Muizenberg.

The Muizenberg Historical Conservation Society will host the first roadshow at Rhodes Cottage Museum, in Muizenberg, on Sunday March 27, from 10am to 2pm.

An accredited evaluator, Paul Maylam, will be available to evaluate antique or valuable items such as jewellery, fine art, books, Judaica, or any other items, for free.

Local businesses will also showcase their goods such as books, plants and food.

The society’s events organiser, Gabriel Clark-Brown, said the idea behind the day is to bring local communities together and to celebrate the evolution of the many cultures that the Rhodes Cottage is associated with such as a rich and diverse Cape, as well as Zimbabwean and Malawian cultures.

Society chairman, Glen Babb, said cold lamb and champagne, which was Cecil John Rhode’s favourite meal, will be served on the day along with some Malay food and a variety of coffees from Africa.

Mr Clark-Brown said although Rhodes died at the young age of 49, he had in a short space in time achieved several milestones. And although Rhodes could be considered a flawed colossus, he left a legacy of both good and bad behind him.

Benefits, he said, include the creation of the Cape fruit industry. Rhodes bought up struggling farms in the Franschhoek Valley whose crops were hit by a deadly virus and introduced refrigerated fruit exports to the world. He also contributed to the growth of Cape Town by donating land to Kirstenbosch, UCT and Groote Schuur.

Perhaps his greatest personal achievement, Mr Clark-Brown said, was to create and establish through his charted company what later evolved as Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia, all before the age of 45.

He is best known for the establishment of the Rhodes Scholarship that is now open to all African countries as well as internationally that pays for a two-year study at Oxford.

He loved the African Bush and travelled extensively through Africa. His choice of the Rhodes Cottage, a humble cottage, appealed to his frugal nature, while he put his money into his visions of a united Africa.

Rhodes initially bought the cottage, situated at 246 Main Road, Muizenberg, in 1899 and died there March 26, 1902. The cottage was then held in the Rhodes estate until a Capetonian CJ Siebert requested it to become a museum in 1923. Ultimately the cottage was given to the North Rhodesian Government (now Zambia) and then in turn given to the City of Cape Town on the premise that it continues as a historical education centre for Rhodes and his time.

“If records show correctly although the museum officially opened in the Rhodes centenary in 1953, the cottage operated as a museum since 1923, which means that the museum will be 100 years young next year,” Mr Clark-Brown said.

Proceeds of the roadshow will go to curatorial educational outreach programmes in South Africa and Zimbabwe and to the upkeep of the Rhodes Cottage Museum.

For more information, email info@friendsofrhodes.com or call 072 1820 234.