More statues to honour anti-apartheid activists

2014-06-25 00:00

ANOTHER set of 10 statues to honour anti-apartheid activists and other prominent people will be erected by the KwaZulu-Natal government.

The plan for the statues follows reports that some of the 12 statues previously commissioned by the provincial government two years ago have been erected although all of them will only be officially unveiled later this year.

Among those to be honoured with statues are anti-apartheid activists Fatima Meer, Ismael Meer and Phyllis Naidoo, as well as former Mkhonto Wesizwe cadres Shadrack Maphumulo, Judson Khuzwayo and Steven Dlamini.

Other statues will be for Dr John Nembula, the first black medical doctor in Southern Africa, Dr Benedict Wallet Vilakazi, academic Solomon Linda, composer of the Imbube song, and Anglican Bishop Alpheus Zulu.

Also to be erected are 13 tombstones and memorials for traditional leaders such as Prince Shingana kaMpande and Queen Ngqumbazi.

Provincial government spokesperson Ndabezinhle Sibiya said the statues and memorials were a work in progress and an announcement on them would be made soon by Premier Senzo Mchunu.

He said Mchunu would give an update on the statues and tombstones when he delivers his State of the Province speech.

But opposition parties have expressed concerns about the programme on the statues and memorials amid an observation that those honoured were mainly linked to the ANC with the exception of traditional leaders.

DA leader Sizwe Mchunu said the heritage of the province was broad and multi-faceted. “It [KZN’s heritage] is diverse by its very nature. I am not convinced our province is on top of its game in terms of addressing issues of heritage,” Mchunu said. He also said of concern was that public representatives were not engaged in watching over the erection of the statues, and that it was not known how much was spent on them and where the budget came from.

The IFP’s Blessed Gwala said the statues were a one-party arrangement at the expense of taxpayers’ money. “We will protest and mobilise people against this because it [heritage] must involve every citizen of the country,” Gwala said.

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