A Multi Purpose Public Facility!
The Prestwich Memorial and Visitors' Centre is located in De Waterkant in Cape Town, on the Fan Walk- Way that links the railway station to the Cape Town Stadium. In 2003, during the construction of new apartments near Prestwich Street, a large number of skeletons were uncovered. They were the remnants of unmarked graves of murdered slaves, as well as other people, by the hands of the Dutch in the 17th and 18th Centuries. The location was called Gallow Hills. The bones were exhumed and housed in the Prestwich Memorial Building on St Andrews Square. The Memorial and the Square is an Environmental Education Centre and an Archaeological Heritage site named Prestwich Memorial.
The Prestwich Memorial is a sombre looking building made of red brick and Robben Island slate. It houses the remains of the unknown people who lost their lives and were denied a dignified resting place. 2500 display boxes are on show on shelves and numbered with notes of some regarding the position they were found in. Visitors are told not to point at their remains with their index finger as it is culturally not acceptable. There are rows of dry roses that are believed to be from people who have come to pay their respects.
1820s: The burial ground land was divided and sold
1960s: Black and Coloured people were forcibly removed and relocated at the Cape Flats
2003: The discovery of the human bones which were relocated to Prestwich memorial and the allocation of heritage site status
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