Veterans gather at summit to tell about the past

2013-11-01 00:00

“AS long as you have history in your heads, we will be knocking at your doors.”

That was the message from programme director Thokozani MaMkhize Ndlovu to those attending the Struggle Veterans Summit in Durban yesterday.

Around 100 veterans are attending the two-day summit at Coastlands Hotel in central Durban, which is being held with the aim of creating a platform for them to share their experiences, as well as the contribution they made to the country’s liberation struggle and to record their personal accounts for future generations.

“It’s important to speak about the past in preparing the future,” said guest speaker, the poet and writer Professor Wally Serote, former chair of the parliamentary select committee for arts and culture and currently CEO of Freedom Park in Pretoria.

The veterans were divided into groups of 10 who then appointed a chairperson and a scribe.

“Speaking to people here, I realised there’s a lot of things people are holding inside, that they are afraid to talk about,” Serote told the veterans. “Please take the opportunity today to talk about these things. If we carry secrets in our hearts, this is the time to off-load them.

“We have an opportunity today to correct the distortions of our history. This is an opportunity to make recommendations of how to move from the past into the present and into the future.”

Provincial Arts and Culture MEC Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha said: “We will be visiting all parts of the province to relook at our history. We want people to tell us the stories about the past. What they tell us can assist in building a better nation.”

Sibhidla-Saphetha said 110 students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Durban University of Technology will be going out with recorders to speak to people from all sectors of society.

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