TOPIC:                 Living along the Liesbeeck River
SPEAKER:          Dr Helen Robinson
DATE:                  Tuesday, 21 February 2012
TIME:                   19h45 for 20h00
VENUE:               The Athenaeum at the intersection of Campground and Mariendahl Roads, Newlands

The Liesbeeck River has supported human settlement for hundreds of years as it flows from its source on TableMountainto the shores of Table Bay. It sustained nomadic herders in the earliest days and later immigrants built their homesteads along its banks, living there with their slaves and their descendants.

Dr Helen Robinson’s talk explores the lives of some of the people within these households. She asks the question – to what extent did this multi-cultural population achieve a degree of self-sufficiency which enabled them to co-exist in the villages which were later established along the banks of the River?

This is a story of change from a simple agrarian community to a vital modern lifestyle, which was fuelled by the technological advances of the 19th century and came to fruition in the next 100 years. Her talk and her book attempt to bring together these issues and to present a coherent account of the process which brought about change in this socially sensitive area.
This story concludes with the incorporation of the villages into greaterCape Town in 1913, but suggests that this is an ongoing process with many more implications for the 20th and 21st centuries.

Above all, it is the story of a struggle for recognition by men, women and children against a background of hope and despair, of affluence and poverty, of ignorance and understanding. It is a significant segment ofCapehistory and an acknowledgement of all the people who made it.

Dr Helen Robinson received her MA in 1985 for a study on forced removals in Greyton in the Overburg.
Her PhD thesis in the History Department in 1998 was Beyond the City Limits – People and Property at Wynberg.
She published Wynberg – a Special Place in 2001 which looks at the impact of change and modernization on the area during the twentieth century, and in 2005, a commemorative book to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the annual season of Shakespeare at the Maynardville Open Air Theatre.

Her latest book will be on sale at the very exclusive price of R150: The Villages of the Liesbeeck – from the sea to the source.


The South African constitution has undergone no fewer than 18 Amendments in its relatively short life-span while the VASSA constitution has survived 25 years without any change.
The context of built heritage conservation has completely changed within this time with the advent of new legislation, heritage practices and authorities, to say nothing of the technological revolution.
Twenty-five years ago a ‘laptop’ might have had a completely different connotation!

The amended Vassa constitution positions the society to be proactive as well as responsive to architectural conservation dynamics. It provides for greater transparency and accountability as a public benefit organisation; and the use of information technology as a tool. It streamlines management and operational practices and broadens the scope of activities in support of our original objectives.


It also allows us to alter when we have our AGM, from March to November, and ratify the subscription rates.
This means we can budget better and announce the rates at the beginning of each year, which is a more practical way forward.

It also means that there will be no increase in subscription rates this year – and that we will be having another AGM in Nov 2012 when we’ll announce the rates for 2013.


Bring along your subs payment to the Feb talk!
2012 Rates are unchanged from 2011:

R165 for singles, R275 for family & R250 for SACAP

& R20 for a replacement badge.

What is required is that when you pay, you also complete a Membership Form – either a hard copy available at the door, or online. This is non negotiable.


This year members are receiving a separate invoice with payment details included– see attached.

Please Note that you have 2 months only in which to pay.

As proof of current payment, a coloured slip will be mailed to you in the March newsletter (which will be sent to all members, even those who usually receive the newsletter by email). This slip must be inserted into your badge and worn at all times.


Diarise Tuesday 20 March
Joy Saxon is valiantly organising the party spread. Should you wish to help in any way please call her 021 674 4717.



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