Bhamabatha statue still veiled in mystery

2016-04-06 06:00
Umvoti Municipality Heritage and Memorial Park.

Umvoti Municipality Heritage and Memorial Park.

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STILL swathed in layers of plastic, the statue of Bhambatha stands supreme in what is evidently, according to a big sign on the wall, the "Umvoti Municipality Heritage and Memorial Park".

Across the park the statue of King Shaka meditates in solemn silence behind the "Iron Curtain". For the past five years secrecy has surrounded the ungainly iron barrier blocking off the town offices.

On just three occasions, when a boisterous wind has blown down a section of the barrier, have the internal activities been revealed and photographed.

In the last photograph published in the Greytown Gazette in July last year the grounds were dry and dusty, the grass dying and dead aloes in 10 very expensive ceramic pots. Shortly after the publication of that article it was announced that President Jacob Zuma would unveil the statue on 22 September, 2015. King Goodwill Zwelethini would head the many honoured guests and a military parade was planned through the town.

However, at the last minute the unveiling was postponed due to reasons beyond the control of the Department of Arts and Culture and the Presidency. Mention was made of domestic issues which needed to be resolved prior to the unveiling.

According to a spokesman for the Zondi family, no further date has been decided upon as to when the statue will be unveiled. A month ago, this photograph published today was taken when a section of the "Iron Curtain" blew down. And what a contrast - the instant expensive grass is green, the equally expensive ceramic pots have disappeared, but aloes have been planted strategically and a plinth has been erected.

One side states: "OM Cardinal doctrines of the main religions of the world", a second side headed "Om Sri Swami Siyananda" - the other two were not visible.

There are plaques on the elaborate wall curving around the park, but unfortunately, the photographer was unable to pick up the wording.

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