Icon’s grave falls apart

2016-12-08 06:01
Nomi Tamana, Mzimkhulu Tamana and Buyiswa Tamana, at the gravesite of their great grandmother Dora Tamana at the Gugulethu Cemetery.                                                                                             PHOTO: Mbongiseni MASEKO

Nomi Tamana, Mzimkhulu Tamana and Buyiswa Tamana, at the gravesite of their great grandmother Dora Tamana at the Gugulethu Cemetery. PHOTO: Mbongiseni MASEKO

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The family of late Struggle icon Dora Tamana is up in arms over an unfulfilled promise which they allege was made by the ANC to give a facelift to her tombstone.

Tamana, from Gugulethu, died in 1983 at the age of 82 years and was buried at the local Cemetery.

An activist in both the ANC Women’s League and the South African Communist Party, she was respected for defying many of the repressive laws enacted by the nationalist government.

According to her great-granddaughter, Nomi Tamana, the family were informed by a high ranking member of the ANC, who is also a deputy minister, that the gravestone would be revamped to reflect the status of the icon and her contribution to the Struggle.

The name of the official is known to City Vision. “She(the official) visited our family in September(2015) and promised that granny’s grave would be rebuilt. She said the grave was not in good condition and promised to come back and rebuild it, but we have not heard from her again after that. Indeed the grave is in a bad state. You cannot tell that it is a grave of someone who dedicated her life fighting for freedom,” Nomi said.

She said the family was also not happy the their grandmother’s name was used in some project without consulting the family.

“There is a crèche named after her in Khayelitsha, but the family was not involved. ANC leaders do not even come and check on our wellbeing. We are unemployed and we need jobs instead of food so that we can sustain ourselves. Why are they using her name while we do not benefit as her family,” Nomi said.

Another landmark is the Dora Tamana Street, formerly NY89 where her house is located, and a branch named after her in Ward 38, including a community park in Retreat.

Nomi also revealed that they had been promised assistance with the repatrioation of the bones of their late uncle, Bethwell Tamana, who died in exile in Lusaka in 989, at the age of 53 years.

Dora Tamana came from a family of Struggle heroes herself. Her father and two of his brothers were among the 163 people who died under a hail of bullets in what is historically known as the Bulhoek Massacre of 1922.(go to: www.sahistory.org.za/topic/history-bulhoek-massacre)

She was 22 years old at the time.

Yonela Diko, the ANC Provincial Spokesperson said he was aware of the claims from the family. “The standard procedure of the ANC is to approach the family members of our late members in things that we do in their names. It would be improper of the ANC if the did not fulfill their promises.

“There has been an oversight. We are going to correct this. I am still waiting for a response from high up.”

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