Wall of Remembrance and Heroes’ Acre unveiled

2016-10-12 06:00
Deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani (left), Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture committee member Siyasanga Sijadu and Human Settlements committee member Nqaba Bhanga at the Wall of Remembrance.                                          Photo: SUPPLIED

Deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani (left), Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture committee member Siyasanga Sijadu and Human Settlements committee member Nqaba Bhanga at the Wall of Remembrance. Photo: SUPPLIED

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WHILE most senior members of the ANC were conspicuous by their absence, save for a few notable faces including struggle icon and businessman Khusta Jack and ANC stalwart Mike Xego, during the official unveiling of a Wall of Remembrance and Heroes’ Acre in Zwide Cemetery last Wednesday, Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip used the event to call for reconciliation and a need for redress in the metro.

The Zwide Heroes’ Acre is a final resting place for freedom fighters and political icons like Oom Ray Mhlaba and Ma Dideka Mhlaba, his wife, Oom Govan Mbeki, Florence Matomela, the Pebco Three, the Cosas Two, and the exhumed and reburied remains of ANC cadres like Mnoneleli Kana, Thabang Bookholane and Thamsanqa Poto, among others.

A memorial to Sizwe Kondile is also at the site. He was shot, burnt and his remains dumped in a river.

These heroes of the struggle had made an immense contribution in ensuring that we achieved a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa, the mayor said.

Trollip said the unveiling fulfilled the aspirations of the majority of our community.

It also served as a reminder of the past that “we need to capture, remember and celebrate, particularly those aspects of our history that were deliberately neglected, ridiculed and presented in a manner that sought to entrench the anti-human ideology of apartheid.”

In paying this tribute, he said: “We are rebuilding the pieces of the history of our nation.

“Our humble gesture today forms part of giving full recognition and acknowledgement to these heroes for their dedication to freedom, their sacrifice, and even the supreme sacrifice, to bring about freedom in our country.”

He urged residents to respect a legacy that united all of us irrespective of colour, creed or religion and brought us together as the rainbow nation.

A visibly moved Pat Kondile, a cousin of Sizwe Kondile, said: “As a family we appreciate what has been done.

“To us as families this is not just a small thing.

“It is very important for the legacy and history of our brothers, fathers, sisters and mothers whom we did not have enough time to spend with because of their undying spirit to fight for freedom for all.”

Trollip said more names still needed to be put on the wall of heroes from all political backgrounds who had put their lives on the line for us to enjoy the freedom we enjoyed today.

“We must embrace the legacy of the people buried here and use it as a catalyst to unite the people of this city and South Africa as a whole.

“That is what they fought and died for,” Trollip said.

He said the Heroes’ Acre needed to be a sacred place that was taken care of and respected by all communities.

He also called on all residents to look after it and make sure that it was always clean and respected.

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