Photo Credit: Eyethu Cinema| Facebook
Eyethu Cinema: One Of South Africa’s First Black Cinemas Will Soon Be Demolished
Eyethu Cinema is one of South Africa’s first Black cinemas, but its fate is in the air.
Located in Soweto, Eyethu Cinema was known to be the prime destination for entertainment for Black people during the 1970 and 1980s. This was during a time known as apartheid – a system of institutionalized racial segregation in the country when Black people were not allowed in the same spaces as white residents.
According to a tweet of the Kasi Economy Group, the cinema is expected to be torn down to build a shopping mall, setting off mixed reactions from locals.
One of South Africa’s first black owned cinemas, Eyethu Cinema, situated in Soweto will be demolished to make way for a shopping mall. pic.twitter.com/RfYyU7sxBz— Kasi Economy Group (@KasiEconomy) October 24, 2021
“Destroying our Black history, why. That’s not cool, demolish Hillbrow first,” one Twitter user stated.
“Doesn’t Soweto have enough shopping centers?” another Twitter asked.
But some people were in support of the possibility of new construction.
“Yes. It’s best to repurpose it for something more meaningful for the people of Soweto. They can still even build a cinema inside that mall,” a Twitter user replied.
But according to a statement from The Gauteng Department of Arts and Culture, the overseeing agency for historical landmarks in the region, the cinema will not be demolished at this time.
The statement reads:
“The Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture, and Recreation has noted social media reports on the imminent demolition of the iconic Eyethu Cinema in Mofolo, Soweto.
“According to the Heritage Act, approval by a heritage authority is required for the demolition, improvement or otherwise of a structure that has any heritage significance including the ones over 60 years that will be impacted upon by development.
“The department would, therefore, like to officially state that no approval has been granted to have Eyethu Cinema demolished.”
The Gauteng Department of Arts and Culture has just released a statement stating that even though the application for demolition was received, the matter was still under review in terms of Section 38 of the National Heritage Resources Act 25 of 1999. https://t.co/qq8FXk9p5I pic.twitter.com/4HTJgBCYKn— Kasi Economy Group (@KasiEconomy) October 25, 2021
However, the department did acknowledge that an application for demolition was received, but assured residents that no decision will be made without “extensive consultation and engagement with the public.”