Keeping PMB’s heritage alive

2015-09-09 06:00
PHOTO: nicole john

The statue of Mahatma Ghandi was erected in Church Street more than 20 years ago.

PHOTO: nicole john The statue of Mahatma Ghandi was erected in Church Street more than 20 years ago.

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SEPTEMBER marks celebrations of heritage and Mahatma Ghandi will always hold a great piece of Pietermaritzburg’s history, which is one of the reasons his statue was erected in Church Street more than 20 years ago.

Aroo Naidoo, chairman of the Ghandi Memorial Committee in Pietermaritzburg, said that the statue was erected to mark the 100th anniversary of the incident that took place on 7 June, 1893.

The statue was unveiled on Sunday 6 June, 1993 by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Also at the function was Nelson Mandela, which was his first official public attendance after his release from prison.

Naidoo said the statue was handed over to the municipality after the unveiling and it was assumed that the municipality would take responsibility for the upkeep of it.

“This was not happening and was been brought to the attention of the municipality on numerous occasions, but without response. On a few occasions, especially on the birthday of Gandhi, the committee engages in cleaning the area around the statue and lays a wreath,” he said.

The area around the statue requires attention and a business plan has been sent to the municipality, said Naidoo.

“We are currently engaged in a revised maintenance plan for the area around the statue, which, when completed, will be submitted to the municipality.”

Over the years, and with the increase of vandalism in the city, the glasses on the statue were removed.

Nqobile Madonda, acting municipal marketing and communications manager said the statue is the property of the Ghandi Memorial Committee and the maintenance thereof is the responsibility of the committee.

“Only if a statue is handed over to us or is erected by us, is it our responsibility to maintain it,” she said

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