Township churches as heritage: The case of Langa, Cape Town

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This study investigates the perceived heritage significance of township churches. This is done by means of a case study which focuses on early churches in Langa, particularly the Wesleyan Methodist and the African Methodist Episcopal churches. The hypothesis is that heritage values are attached to certain churches of Langa and that these are regarded as heritage resources as a result of a particular character or built form. In support of this hypothesis, the intellectual realm of churches and heritage values was explored and the historical and spatial context which informed the development of the churches, investigated. A strong emphasis was placed on ascertaining the heritage values of the Langa community in a series of interviews. To understand the values attached to churches, views have been solicited from community members residing in the neighbourhood of the identified churches, members of the clergy and congregants and a number of 'experts’ - people who have been involved in the study of heritage in Langa, either from an academic or community perspective. Sixteen interviews, which took the form of focused, semistructured discussions, were conducted.