ANC leader’s statue for city park

2013-04-19 00:00

THE ANC’s fourth president, Josiah Tshangana Gumede, who lived and worked and was buried in Pietermaritzburg, will soon be looking down on the city from a plinth in the Peace Garden next to the city hall.

The Msunduzi executive committee yesterday agreed to a request from Premier Zweli Mkhize’s office for a statue of Gumede to be erected in the garden. Gumede will be in the company of Queen Victoria, whose statue stands at the nearby KZN Legislature, and Sir Theophilus Shepstone, the Natal colonial government’s Administrator for Native Affairs, whose statue is in the Tatham Art Gallery grounds, across from the Peace Gardens.

Gumede’s statue will be paid for by the provincial government, but details of its cost were not available yesterday.

Mkhize’s spokesperson, Ndabe Sibiya, said the details would be provided shortly before Freedom Day, April 27, when the premier would make an announcement about a number of statues to be erected in the province. This was in keeping with an announcement in his state of the province address in 2012, when he said that statues of ANC leaders from the province and other heroes of the struggle would become permanent features of the KZN landscape.

Some of the statues announced at the time were those of Archbishop Denis Hurley, Harry Gwala and Monty Naicker.

Mkhize had also spoken of plans for a multimillion-rand upgrade to Pietermaritzburg Station, where Mahatma Gandhi was thrown off a train.

Opposition parties objected at the time. KZN Democratic Alliance leader Sizwe Mchunu said all the statues were unnecessary. He felt the money would be better channelled into health and education.

However, Mkhize was undeterred, responding that these were heritage projects. He reminded the house that a statue of Queen Victoria remained outside the legislature. “We did not pull it down,” he said.

Sibiya said the province would hold its Freedom Day celebrations at the Royal Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg this year, as a way of marking the city’s 175th anniversary.


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