Bhambatha statue still swathed in mystery

2017-02-15 06:01
Still swathed in layers of plastic sheeting , the statue of Bhambatha stands supreme and unveiled in the Umvoti Municipality Heritage and Memorial Park in the grounds of the Town Office. Across the park the statue King Shaka contemplates and monitors the visitors to the Memorial Park. Six years ago an ungainly “Iron Curtain” was erected around the Town Office garden with much mysterious activity taking place behind. Eventually in 2015 it was announced that this was a statue of Umvoti hero , Chief Bhambatha , and it would be unveiled by President Jacob Zuma on Heritage Day with accompanying celebrations. But at the last minute, the unveiling was cancelled , even though the celebrations took place. Now , February 2017 - 111 years after Bhambatha led his rebellion against the Poll Tax – recognition is still veiled in plastic.

Still swathed in layers of plastic sheeting , the statue of Bhambatha stands supreme and unveiled in the Umvoti Municipality Heritage and Memorial Park in the grounds of the Town Office. Across the park the statue King Shaka contemplates and monitors the visitors to the Memorial Park. Six years ago an ungainly “Iron Curtain” was erected around the Town Office garden with much mysterious activity taking place behind. Eventually in 2015 it was announced that this was a statue of Umvoti hero , Chief Bhambatha , and it would be unveiled by President Jacob Zuma on Heritage Day with accompanying celebrations. But at the last minute, the unveiling was cancelled , even though the celebrations took place. Now , February 2017 - 111 years after Bhambatha led his rebellion against the Poll Tax – recognition is still veiled in plastic.

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BHAMBATHA STATUE STILL VEILED IN MYSTERY

Over six years ago a mysterious “Iron Curtain” was erected round the front garden of Umvoti Municipal offices – speculation as to what was happening behind this barrier continued but no one could give a definitve answer as to what was happening. It was reported, without confirmation, that the Department of Art and CuLture was sponsoring and financing the project, together with some assistance from Umvoti Municipalitywith

On three separate occasions in the six years when strong winds lifted a section of the barrier, the Greytown Gazette photographers managed to sneak a picture – a statue of Umvoti hero, Bhambatha was being erected in the Umvoti Municpality Heritage and Memorial Park.

When it was finished, for protection, it was encased in layers and layers of plastic sheeting bound tightly to prevent it coming loose.

Bhambatha is Regarded as one of the country’s first freedom fighters, who in 1906 blazed a trail for the liberation struggle in refusing , as head of the Zondi clan , to implement the new poll tax introduced by the colonial government

And then the Iron Curtain” finally was pulled down and it was announced, to celebrate September as Heritage month, that on 22nd September 2015, President Jacob Zuma would be in Greytown to unveil the statue.In addition King Goodwill Zweletheni would head the many honoured and important guests who would attend .These celebrations were held – but the statue remained wrapped in in its plastic coating.

At the last minute the unveiling was postponed- due to reasons beyond the control of the responsible Government department, Department of Arts and Culture and the Presidency according to the official statement.
And as can be seen from the photograph taken last weekend – the statue retains its well preserved aura of mystery

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