Preserving heritage: Bridging Ages launches at Gamalakhe FET College

2011-10-18 00:00

BRIDGING Ages KZN was successfully launched on Thursday evening at Gamalakhe FET College with the support of Port Shepstone Twinning Association and KwaZulu-Natal’s Department of Arts and Culture.

Smangele Memela told a touching story of Tin Town, or Gamalakhe, as it is known today, and encouraged reconciliation across all racial groups to foster social cohesion through teachings of history.

“I salute Nelson Mandela for telling us to forgive but not to forget. I was 12 years old when we lived at Albersville and were forcibly removed by the government of the past.

“Trucks came and people were told to take their belongings to the trucks as they were being removed to Tin Town. Tin Town was later called Gamalakhe. Now I want Tin Town to be developed. To me Tin Town is a heritage site.”

She said the area had no water or electricity, schools or churches, but was occupied by the Mavundla clan and their cattle.

Transport was a challenge as they had two to three buses moving only at certain times.

“We shared water taps. No Tin Town, no Gamalakhe township. I don’t want to talk about the graves that were left there. My grandfather’s grave is there in Albersville.”

Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation general manager Dolly Khumalo presented a report to Bridging Ages International president Ebbe Westergren of Sweden

Hibiscus Coast mayor Cynthia Mqwebu delivered a welcome speech at the launch, wishing Bridging Ages KZN success in its programmes.

Westergren said the organisation started in Sweden in 2000 is and now exists in 20 other countries.

Bridging Ages South Africa operates in five provinces and runs training and education programmes to preserve heritage.

Gulshera Khan of Bridging Ages KZN said they are running three training programmes at FET.

“Time-travel training courses have been organised by KZN Museum Services, Bridging Ages KZN, Port Shepstone Twinning Association and Kalmar country museum in Sweden to establish functioning time-travel groups and to develop skilled leaders and promote sustained time travels in KZN.”

• witness@feveronline.co.za

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