Madiba’s cell in Gugs

2018-05-24 06:00
Staffers from Usiba Loluntu, Robben Island Museum, local leaders as well as residents took time to pose next to the replica cell of Nelson Mandela in Gugulethu on Monday. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

Staffers from Usiba Loluntu, Robben Island Museum, local leaders as well as residents took time to pose next to the replica cell of Nelson Mandela in Gugulethu on Monday. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

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This week, Gugulethu residents will get a taste of what a Robben Island Prisoncell felt like as a replica of Madiba’s cell will be on display at the Khwezi Centre in NY2.

This is part of an outreach programme by the Robben Island Museum, in partnership with local NGO, Usiba Loluntu.

According to the Museum’s programmes officer Nomvuyo Mayongo, they have decided to take the cell to the people, as many locals don’t have access to Robben Island.

“The island was initially used because it was remote ... 11KM away from the city centre, and therefore not easily accessible to the community.

We started conducting outreach projects as early as 2002, speaking to children, the youth and members of various communities around the country,” she said.

Mayongo said they hope the cell will be a form of motivation for the locals, as it symbolises triumph over adversity.

“We have also invited former prisoners to speak to the community so that they can see it as a symbol of the troubles that they should overcome.

... Despite being imprisoned, struggle heroes went on to win the fight for freedom in the country,” she said.

The programme began on Monday and will run until next Tuesday, and Usiba Loluntu are hoping that people will come in droves to learn about the history of the Struggle.

Usiba Loluntu’s Banele Ngcetshe said that they will be accommodating school kids, NGOs as well as the public.

The organisation was formed in 2016 and assists school children with academic support, teaches computer programming and assists with counselling for troubled youth.

Among the speakers at the event was Ntozelizwe Talakumeni who served 4 years in the prison after being convicted of treason in 1986.

Talakumeni said that he was sad that local freedom fighters were not celebrated, but he is happy the freedom the he and others fought for was realised.

“This is an important programme so that people can learn that among them, there are people that also fought for freedom.

There is a lack of information and there needs to be more programs that educate the young about our history,” he said.

Gugulethu Development Forum chairman Samora Nomphunga shared the same sentiment as Talakumeni that the history of Gugulethu must be documented so that due respect be given to local struggle heroes.

“The Robben Island Museum has brought the replica of late struggle icon Nelson Mandela to Gugulethu for future generations to know,” he said.

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