Statues mark events in liberation struggle

2010-05-10 00:00

PEOPLE from different countries of the world, who supported the struggle for liberation in South Africa, will get a chance to know more about the struggle if areas rich in the history of South Africa’s liberation are preserved and developed as tourist attraction areas.

This view was echoed by Kwa­Zulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize during the unveiling of statues of former president Nelson Mandela and the first president of the ANC, Dr John Langalibalele “Mafukuzela” Dube, at Ohlange north of Durban, yesterday.

Mandela’s statue marks the fact that he voted at Ohlange during the first democratic elections in 1994, while Dube’s honours him as the first president of the ANC and founder of the Ohlange Institute.

From now on, when tourists visit the Dube home, they will be “greeted” by Dube’s statue on the veranda of his house, which was declared a national heritage site in 1995.

At the chapel where Dube used to preach, the tall figure of Madiba will watch over them as they read the story of why Madiba decided to cast his first vote at the Ohlange Institute.

The function also marked the official launch of the Inanda Heritage route under the new slogan “Woza eNanda”. This route is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the country, housing the richest history of South Africa’s liberation struggle.

Mkhize said the Inanda area is rich in struggle history as it is home to internationally recognised South African icons such as Dube, Mahatma Gandhi, Nazareth Baptist Church founder Prophet Isaiah Shembe and ANC founder Pixley ka Isaka Seme.

The popular Inanda Seminary high school for girls, which has in past years produced prominent women leaders, is also situated in the area and so too is the Ohlange Institute, founded by Dube in the early 1900s.

Mkhize said yesterday’s event forms part of rewriting the liberation struggle through the eyes of the oppressed.

“Many people from different countries played an important part in our liberation. If we develop, as tourist destinations, areas that are of significance in our liberation struggle, those people will get a chance to know more about our struggle, our culture and many more things. People are inspired by the resilience of our people. Coming here takes you through the first steps of our struggle,” Mkhize said.

The statues and the development of the Inanda Heritage route has been undertaken by the provincial Economic Development and Tourism Department, in conjunction with the eThekwini Municipality.

This project is meant to highlight the importance of township tourism so that it ultimately plays a critical role in boosting tourism in KwaZulu-Natal.

Mkhize was assisted in the unveiling of the statues by Tourism and Economic Development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu and Dube’s only surviving daughter, Lulu Dube.

Meanwhile, foreign journalists and tourists at the Tourism Indaba summit being held in Durban, were treated to ifutho (boiled fresh mielies and braaied meat).

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