• The Slave Lodge, Slave Memorial

    More than sixty thousand people were brought to the Cape to be sold into slavery during 1652 – 1807.  Between 1679 and 1811, this windowless building was filled to the brim with slaves – many of them women and mothers. The ‘lodge’ was also used as a prison, mental asylum and unofficial brothel. It is said that back then ‘women in the Cape were few, but slaves were plenty.’ It is now an Iziko Museum and amongst the displays is an exhibition on the story of shweshwe – a fabric synonymous with traditional fashion in South Africa. Across the road in Church Square, is a series of marble blocks dedicated to those slaves, inscriped with their names and powerful words of resistance and suffering. One of the artists involved in the design is celebrated sculptor Wilma Cruise. Sadly women still often find themselves enslaved through abuse or disempowerment – and the Women’s Legal Centre in Constitution House in Adderley St offers help very often free of charge. Started in 1999 by a group of women attorneys, the Centre gives legal advice and guidance to women in Cape Town and across the country.