Mapping the struggle

2012-08-25 16:48

South Africa’s liberation struggle is in the process of being mapped across all nine provinces – and even other countries – to create a heritage route.

It will tell the comprehensive story of the country’s freedom struggle between 1912 and 1994.

“This is a memory project,” said Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa, the chief executive of the National Heritage Council.

“It will ensure there is sufficient historic evidence to remind future generations of the value of preserving our hard-fought democracy.”

According to Mancotywa, the council had asked each province to provide at least three sites that best represented their liberation history.

In Gauteng, the sites are Liliesleaf Farm, Sharpeville and Solomon Mahlangu House in Mamelodi.

“The plan is to develop the sites into heritage tourism centres that contribute to the local economies.”

An accompanying website – – will go live in October.

The plan is to create a central archive and, ultimately, to ask South Africans to contribute their liberation stories in a Wiki-based approach.

But the project isn’t limited to our borders.

African countries that housed and trained South African liberation cadres will also form part of the mapping process.

This is in line with the African Union’s African Liberation Heritage Programme, which is coordinated from Tanzania.

Next week, for example, President Jacob Zuma will visit struggle sites in Botswana, where he will lay a wreath at the Extension 14 cemetery in Gaborone, which houses the graves of individuals killed during the apartheid government’s raid in 1985.

He will also visit Kazungula, where freedom fighters swam across the river to enter Zambia or Zimbabwe, often en route to

Ultimately, the council’s project will map the continent – and its archives will stretch as far as Russia, where a cemetery in Moscow houses struggle heroes who died in exile. says Mancotywa.

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