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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Old synagogue' and apartheid court: constructing a South African heritage site
Authors:Buntman, FranISNI
Buntman, BarbaraISNI
Periodical:South African Historical Journal (ISSN 0258-2473)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:religious buildings
conservation of cultural heritage
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02582471003778441
Abstract:Now an emerging heritage site, Pretoria's 'Old Synagogue' originated as a Jewish house of worship before becoming a notorious apartheid court. This article considers the appellation 'Old Synagogue', how traces of the past inform memory and history, the Jewish origins of the Old Synagogue, the transition from synagogue to its use as an apartheid court, its bureaucratic decline and subsequent abandonment, and the substance and implications of numerous proposals offered for its future. Resuscitating the currently dilapidated Old Synagogue could initiate and consolidate publics who agree on the site's value, reflecting and reinforcing the multidimensional, dense, and overdetermined influences of South Africa's heritage, from urban renewal to minority rights, from the past to the future, from law to religion, and beyond. Transforming the site to explicate and interpret the memory and historical traces embedded within the building requires conscious collective efforts. The article expands dialogue and consultation about the building's recovery and re-use. Despite the challenge of finding common ground among the diverse groups with interests in the Old Synagogue, the immediate test is to save a building in peril, thus allowing a bold and inclusive heritage vision bringing together and shaping new publics. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]