Church Square and the Slave Lodge

The Slave Lodge entrance. Photo courtesy Mervyn Hector

Church Square and Slave Lodge, at the top corner of Adderley Street, bear witness to the turbulent past of the Cape of Good Hope.

Located at the entrance of the Gothic-style Groote Kerk, Cape Town’s historical Church Square was the place where slaves would wait under a “slave tree” while their owners attended church.

In 1920 a statue of the parliamentarian Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr was erected in Church Square in recognition of his efforts to have Dutch recognised as a language (on the same footing with English) in the Constitution of 1910.

Despite its historical significance, Church Square was a car park from the 1970s to the 1990s. However in 2004 it was converted into a multi-functional “green” space.

The former Slave Lodge, +27 (0)21 460 8242, is a prominent building on Church Square and is open to the public (from Monday to Friday) for a minimal fee. It is one of the cluster of museums that make up the Iziko Museums of Cape Town. The Slave Lodge was previously known as the Cultural History Museum.

The Slave Lodge was built in 1679 on behalf of the Dutch East India Company. It housed thousands of slaves during its time, when slavery meant big business for the Cape Colony.

In its day the lodge also gained the reputation of being the Cape Colony’s biggest brothel. In 1810, after the British had taken over (and had auctioned off all the slaves), the building became the Supreme Court (until 1914). Slave Lodge was then used as government offices until 1966, when it became a museum.

Today, the old Slave Lodge is a monument that pays tribute to the past. There are fascinating historical displays on the Cape as well as a collection of antiquities and artefacts from around the world. The “186 Years of Slavery” exhibition is a highlight.

Slavery was officially abolished in the Cape in 1838.

Did you know?

Slavery was officially abolished in the Cape in 1838.

  • Phone: +27 (0)21 460 8242

The Perfect Proposal

The Perfect Proposal is an events company specialising in Marriage Proposals, Wedding planning and romantic events, such as Anniversaries, renewal of vows and date nights.

Hope on Hopkins Distillery

Hope on Hopkins Distillery is a small artisanal distillery in Salt River, Cape Town.  Set up by two ex-lawyers who followed their hearts and turned their hands to distilling, they handcraft three gins and a small batch vodka, using natural carefully sourced ingredients

Martin Melck House

Martin Melck House is one of the oldest colonial homes in South Africa named after its first owner. Its history is intimately entwined with that of Cape Town itself.

Museum of Gems & Jewellery


This unique museum project takes visitors on a journey from when diamonds first began to form three billion years ago and their 150 km journey to the surface, following the unique path of South African diamonds from their origin in extinct volcanoes to the deposits along our coastline.  Learn about unique and rare gemstones, and see how jewellery has changed through thousands of years.  The story about South Africa’s mineral wealth is told, not only for diamonds, but also for our Platinum and Gold deposits.

Buyel'Embo Village

This cultural village aims to remind us of our origin and serves as the reservoir for African knowledge pertaining to nature and traditions, giving us an opportunity to celebrate who we are through music (wonderful sounds from live bands) or from its’ distinct fineness of cuisine, topped up with African (local) arts and crafts.


Be the first to review this provider.

Add your review

This is to determine that you are human and not a spam bot