Immortalising our leaders

2014-06-18 00:00

SOME of the 12 statues of struggle heroes that were commissioned by the KwaZulu-Natal government two years ago will finally be erected beginning this week ahead of their official unveiling in September.

Former premier Zweli Mkhize announced the erection of the statues of liberation struggle heroes during his state of the province address in 2012.

At the time Mkhize said the bronze statue of former ANC president John Langalibalele Dube and the tombstone of Umkhonto Wesizwe cadre Portia ­Ndwandwe were ready for unveiling, but that has yet to take place.

At least two statues, that of Margaret Mncadi and Archbishop Denis Hurley, were completed and unveiled in Ixopo and Inchanga in November 2013 and February 2014 respectively.

Provincial government spokesperson Ndabezinhle Sibiya said yesterday the statues were ready for installation and that their unveiling was subject to confirmation of dates in September to coincide with Heritage Month.

Sibiya also said the statues would be used to foster social cohesion and nation-building in the province as well as promoting tourism and heritage.

“Part of the plan is to use them at tourism sites,” he said. “We want to use the statues as part of heritage tourism as we know that tourists visit heritage sites in KwaZulu-Natal. This will contribute to the boom in tourism.”

Sibiya also said the completed statues were safely kept at a warehouse and waiting for proper handover for installation in different parts of the province.

Vusi Mchunu, chief executive officer of House of Memory, project managers for five of the statues, said the statue of lawyer and prominent UDF member Victoria Mxenge would be installed at the spot where she was killed in front of her house by apartheid agents at V-Section in Umlazi.

Mchunu also said the statue of ANC’s fourth president Josia Tshangana Gumede, who lived and worked in Pietermaritzburg, would be installed at the Peace Garden next to the town’s city hall.

He said the statue of ANC founding leader Pixley ka-Isaka Seme would be erected at his family home in Inanda, where he grew up. The statue will be unveiled along with a memorial plaque already erected in his honour.

Mchunu said a decision has yet to be made on the location of the statue of lawyer and anti-apartheid activist Griffiths Mxenge who was killed on or near a soccer field in Umlazi by apartheid agents.

“There are still talks between the stakeholders. The statue will be installed once an agreement is reached.”

Other ANC-aligned liberation heroes to be honoured with statues include ­Dorothy Nyembe, Florence Mkhize, ­Moses Mabhida, Harry Gwala and ­Monty Naicker.

• mayibongwe.maqhina@witness.co.za

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