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Athlone is a place known for its hub-hub of traffic and cultural diversity. Its rich cultural and political history, which dates back as far as the 1930s, can now be found on the suburb's very own website, www.athlone.co.za
The website is maintained by a couple in the area, Selwyn and Margaux Bergman, with the help of their friend Kurt Carstens.
Mrs. Bergman, a heritage practitioner, is responsible for heritage research and the writing of articles based on people's memoirs. The memoirs section will be launched shortly.
Bergman says that she "draws strength" from her passion for history while working on the website. "I feel there is so much to tell people about this culturally diverse place. Since we started I've adopted a sense of wanting to know more," she said. "We want this website to become like a virtual museum."
"It should be driven by the force that enables people to become sensitised to memory," Bergman added.
Mr Bergman manages the technical planning and maintenance of the site.
"I hope the website will give people the feeling that they can be proud of Athlone," he said. He added that they hoped the feeling of pride in Athlone would extend to businesses, schools and faith groups in the area.
The website has already captured the attention of a man in Canada whose father lived in Athlone before moving there. "His father has since died and its amazing that one of the last treasures that his father had was a picture of him with my own grandfather in Jonathan street, Hazendal," Bergman said.
The community is invited to make suggestions for website content and schools are encouraged to add their details to the website's free listing section.
"The website has been designed in a modular way so it will be easy to add things on. We want the website to be truly representative of the community," Mr Bergman said.
The Bergmans said that they were trying to tread as carefully as possible with the content they put on the website, "because it is people's memories we are working with".
Letters and memoirs can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to PO Box 98, Athlone, 7760.
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