Wedding venue responds to Denise Zimba's ‘slave quarters' outcry

19 November 2018 - 12:58 By Kyle Zeeman
Denise Zimba has called out a wedding venue for using what she calls 'old slave quarters' as its guest house.
Denise Zimba has called out a wedding venue for using what she calls 'old slave quarters' as its guest house.
Image: Instagram/ Denise Zimba

TV personality Denise Zimba has slammed a Cape Town wedding venue for promoting that it had redeveloped its “original slave quarters” into a guesthouse.

Denise, who is a co-host on Wedding Bashers, was scouting for venues recently when she came across Nooitgedacht Estate. On its website, it promotes a guest house that has been renovated and was previously slave quarters.

"On the day of your wedding at Nooitgedacht, you and your party will have exclusive use of the estate – including our wedding accommodation in the Manor House, as well as three meticulously decorated and serviced guest house suites situated in the farm’s historic slave quarters (if required)," a portion of the website reads.

Denise said as a black woman living in Cape Town she took offence.

"Looking at wedding venues and, as a black woman living in Cape Town, this just reminds me that we have a long way to go. For one to even get married at this venue and allow such, says a lot about your character. Who authorised this to begin with ?"

Responding to a request for comment from TshisaLIVE, the estate's owners defended the advertisement as a "statement of historical fact".

"The Nooitgedacht Estate and its custodians, the Wirth Family, would like to state (for the record) that a reference to former slave quarters that appears on a page on our website (describing wedding venue accommodation) is simply a statement of historical fact.

They apologised for any offense caused and said the estate's mandate, vision and mission was "completely inclusivity".

"We apologise if the information has caused offense to an individual member of the public. This was never intended. The Nooitgedacht Estate is rich in history and dates back to the 1700’s and our guests often show great interest in and curiosity about the diverse heritage of this unique and fascinating piece of land. This is why we document the farm and estate’s past on our website. 

"Part of our mandate, mission and vision at Nooitgedacht estate is complete inclusivity. A reference to a darker side of this farm’s history could also be viewed as a way of recognising how far we have come and how much has changed. We cannot change history. We can only create a new future."

Although the website now excludes the word "slave" in references to the guest house, the estate's owners said it was important to be honest and authentic about South Africa's colonial history.

"Throughout South Africa, and all over the world, the history of slavery is talked about and acknowledged – as it should be. We believe that addressing and acknowledging the realities of our colonial past is more honest and authentic than omitting the information."