Coffee-table book to share, preserve Salt River’s stories

Coffee-table book to share, preserve Salt River’s stories

Current and former residents have been asked to submit their stories. PHOTO: ANWAR OMAR

Current and former residents have been asked to submit their stories. PHOTO: ANWAR OMAR

In a bid to capture and preserve the history of Salt River, the Salt River Heritage Society (SRHS) is calling on residents to share their fond memories of the suburb which will be documented in a book.

Shabodien Roomanay, founder and vice chair of the SRHS, says when they established the society more than two years ago, one of the key projects was to establish an archive of the area and to have a coffee-table book printed wherein people’s stories would be recorded.

He says, as former and current residents, they have a responsibility to record the history of the suburb for the future generation.

“We want to document and preserve the histories of the community and residents who have in the past resided here and the many residents who still reside in the suburb. Also, to record the educational institutions of the area, religious bodies, musical groups and sports organisations that operated in the area.”

He says they want to record the contributions made by sports clubs, schools, religious organisations and how they contributed towards the history and heritage of the area.

“Also those who participated from a political point of view. Dullah Omar was our first Minister of Justice at the dawn of (South Africa’s) democracy and he attended school in Salt River. Judge Siraj Desai grew up in Salt River. So that is the kind of history that we want to capture and the kind of information that will go into this book.”

Lutfi Omar, secretary of the society, says: “The objective is to add information and insight to the collective memory of the Salt River community by providing a unique, primary historical information resource for future researchers.”

Roomanay says they are hoping to collect as many stories as possible and they have, therefore, not set a deadline date for submissions.

“We are hoping that people living in Cape Town or those now living abroad who are originally from the area will contact us and tell us their story about where they came from and how they grew up in the area.”

According to Roomanay, they are looking for photos and stories to create a “high-quality product” that will be held in libraries all over the world as a contribution of a small community that emerged from a suburb called Salt River.

“We are hopeful that people will give us the information and we will sift through it all. We are not saying that every bit of information that will be provided will be inclu­ded in the book, but certainly that which we think is relevant and adds to the value of the book will be included.”

He says to publish a book like this can be costly and they are appealing for donations.

Roomanay says families or individuals can make a minimum donation of R1 000.

“We include their names on a list of acknowledgements at the back of the book as people having contributed towards the production of the book. If you are a family of five or six, spread that among yourselves and that will help us produce what we think is going to be a classy product. Every individual who contributes R1 000 will get a free copy of the book,” concludes Roomanay.

  • To donate or to submit your stories, send an email to

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