‘Powerful’ display at local museum

2018-03-29 06:01
Young and old came to watch the Siyanyanzela Exhibition at Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum on Tuesday 21 March. PHOTOS: MZWANELE MKALIPI

Young and old came to watch the Siyanyanzela Exhibition at Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum on Tuesday 21 March. PHOTOS: MZWANELE MKALIPI

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“To witness such an incident in a democratic country was a shock. We only witness such things in movies. It was an eye opener for me.”

Those were words of Masa Soko, manager at Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum during the opening of the exhibition about Siyanyanzela Informal Settlement in Lwandle on Tuesday 21 March.

The exhibition centres around the forced removal of Siyanyanzela (We are doing it by force) residents after the invasion vacant land belonging to Sanral in June 2014.

In the incident it saw 849 people displaced and forced some to squat in Nomzamo Community Hall, while others sought refuge with family.

“As a museum, we ought to investigate the whole incident; we need to find out exactly what happened. When we went there on that fateful day, it was a very cold winter day. We spoke to residents to find out what was taking place and we decided to take that information for this exhibition,” she said.

“The exhibition is simple for everyone to understand. We chose to launch the exhibition today, as the country is commemorating Human Rights Day. On the day of this eviction, so many people’s rights were violated.”

Soko told City Vision they spoke to witnesses, interviewed people and did research for them to be able to put together the exhibition.

“As part of the exhibition, we have two photographs of the actual incident taking place and others were taken after the eviction. I must say, we were impressed with the turnout today, which showed that people care about what is happening in our community. They don’t worry about fun only, but also about actual events that took place – like this eviction,” she added.

Professor Leslie Witz from University of the Western Cape’s History Department described the exhibition and play on the happening as “amazing”.

“The play was fantastic and amazing at the same time, even though we could not hear every word, but we could connect. The exhibition photos also show both divisions of these communities and the forced removals – it was powerful,” said Witz.

The exhibition’s opening also saw poets, like Lwazi Mbira. local musician Zolani Mfihlo and a play from Kuyakhanya Production, which enthralled those in attendance.

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