Constantia, Cape Town

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Constantia
Top left: Groot Constantia. Middle left: The kramat of Sheik Abdurachman Matebe Shah in Klein Constantia. Right: The Cape Dutch homestead at Buitenverwachting. Bottom: a view of Constantia from Constantia Neck.
Top left: Groot Constantia. Middle left: The kramat of Sheik Abdurachman Matebe Shah in Klein Constantia. Right: The Cape Dutch homestead at Buitenverwachting. Bottom: a view of Constantia from Constantia Neck.
Street map of Constantia
Street map of Constantia
Constantia is located in South Africa
Constantia
Constantia
 Constantia shown within South Africa
Coordinates: 34°01′53″S 18°25′06″E / 34.03139°S 18.41833°E / -34.03139; 18.41833Coordinates: 34°01′53″S 18°25′06″E / 34.03139°S 18.41833°E / -34.03139; 18.41833
Country South Africa
Province Western Cape
Municipality City of Cape Town
Main Place Cape Town
Government
 • Councillor Liz Brunette (Ward 62) (DA)
Denis Joseph (Ward 71) (DA)
Carol Bew (Ward 73) (DA)
Area[1]
 • Total 23.9 km2 (9.2 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 12,564
 • Density 530/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
 • Black African 9.4%
 • Coloured 8.1%
 • Indian/Asian 2.0%
 • White 78.5%
 • Other 1.9%
First languages (2011)[1]
 • English 83.3%
 • Afrikaans 9.4%
 • IsiXhosa 2.0%
 • Other 5.2%
Postal code (street) 7806[2]
PO box 7848
Area code 021

Constantia is a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, situated about 15 kilometres south of the centre of Cape Town. The Constantia Valley lies to the east of and at the foot of the Constantiaberg mountain. Constantia Nek is a low pass linking to Hout Bay in the west.

History[edit]

Constantia is one of the oldest suburbs of Cape Town and is famed for its wine. The estate of Groot Constantia (Great Constantia) was established in 1684 by the Dutch Colonial Governor of Cape Town, Simon van der Stel. Other notable wine farms in the area include the oldest estate, Steenberg (Mountain of Stone), established in 1682, Buitenverwachting (Beyond Expectations), Klein Constantia (Small Constantia) and Constantia Uitsig (View of Constantia). Before the twentieth century, the region was noted for its exports of Vin De Constance a sweet dessert wine. Many years ago the trade was crippled by the arrival in the Cape of a parasite that attacked the vines.

In 1661, during the Dutch conquest of Sumatra, Sheik Abdurachman Matebe Shah and his companion Sheikh Mahmoud were banished to Constantia by the Dutch. Sheik Abdurachman is regarded as one of the three people that first brought Islam to South Africa. The kramat at Klein Constantia is built on the site that Sheik Abdurachman is thought to have died in 1681 or 1682.

About 220 slaves worked over a period of 150 years on the land planted with vineyards, fruit and olive trees at the time of Van der Stel.[3] A labour shortage after emancipation indicates that slaves moved away from the farms where they worked, but possibly stayed in the area.[4] From the mid-1800s to the 1960s, Constantia remained a rural area of wine estates and white privilege in which African and coloured residents constituted the majority. They were farmers, farm workers, domestics and fruit and flower sellers and lived in the areas of Strawberry Lane, Sillery Road, Spaanschemat River Road and Ladies Mile Road.[3] In 1961 Constantia was zoned as a White Group Area under the Group Areas Act.[5] In the late 1960s inhabitants classified as coloured or African were forcibly removed to areas in the Cape Flats like Mitchell's Plain, Manenberg and Lotus River. On Heritage Day 2009, a plaque remembering the Strawberry Lane community was unveiled by Cape Town's mayor Dan Plato.[6]

Mark Thatcher, the son of Margaret Thatcher,[7] and Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, the brother of Princess Diana, both lived in Constantia. Mark's house is now owned by the Sahara Group. The historic Tarrystone House, once owned by Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer is currently on the market for R80 million.[8]

Wine[edit]

The area is a major tourist hub outside of the central city area. Apart from its own wine route with centuries-old estates it has a number of fine restaurants with an international flavour such as Pastis (French), La Colombe (French) – ranked among the Top 50 in the world, Constantia Uitsig, Mama Roma (Italian), Simons and more. Many of the homesteads along the wine route display Baroque and Cape Dutch architectural styles.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Sum of the Main Places Constantia Heights, Alphen, Bel Ombre, Witteboomen, Glen Alpine, Eagles Nest, Constantia, Silverhurst, Rust-En-Vrede, Barbarossa, Deurdrif, The Vines(Constatia), Belle Constantia, Graylands, Constantia Village, Constantia Vale, Sillery, Huis-In-Bos, Hope of Constantia, Nova Constantia, Airlie, Fir Grove and Sweet Valley from Census 2011.
  2. ^ "Cape Postal Codes of South Africa". Post. Retrieved 30 July 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Simone Haysom, Constantia to Grassy Park: blamelessness and belonging, in Historical Approaches, vol. 5, 2007, p. 64.
  4. ^ Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, Forced removals: A case study on Constantia, p. 26.
  5. ^ Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, Forced removals: A case study on Constantia, p. 13.
  6. ^ Natasha Prince, Plaque unveiled on Heritage Day, Cape Argus, 25 September 2009.
  7. ^ "Thatcher fined over 'coup plot'". BBC News. 13 January 2005. 
  8. ^ http://www.seeff.com/newsletters/may_2012/tarrystone_house.htm.  Missing or empty |title= (help)