New memorial, renovations, festivals: Mayor unveils plans to celebrate Langa's 100th anniversary

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Geordin Hill-Lewis
Geordin Hill-Lewis
PHOTO: Jaco Marais
  • The City of Cape Town has shared its plans to celebrate Langa's 100th anniversary.
  • It includes the restoration of historical buildings.
  • The City is also proposing the creation of a new memorial.

Restorations, a new memorial and an open-air festival are just some of the plans to celebrate Langa's 100th anniversary this year.

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis announced the plan at Guga S'Thebe Cultural Centre in Langa on Tuesday.

One of the projects under consideration, depending on a public participation process, is the establishment of a new "Langa Heroes Memorial" along King Langalibalele Road. The memorial would include the names, and possibly the handprints, of "Langa heroes", he said.

"Hollywood has its Walk of Fame. Langa could have its road of heroes," said Hill-Lewis.

The mayor said Human Rights Day on Tuesday was a significant commemoration for the community.

"While most people associate 21 March with Sharpeville in 1960, the same day is etched into Langa's history too, as thousands of Langa residents gathered that day – without their passbooks – to march to the Langa police station, about 200 metres down the road. At least three people died – some eyewitnesses put the figure higher – and many more were injured as police opened fire on protesters here in Langa. A horrible, terrible tragedy," he said.

Hill-Lewis reflected on famous Langa residents, such as Brenda Fassie, sports stars Temba Bavuma, Thami Tsolekile and Thabo Mngomeni, and playwright and theatre director Fatts Dike.

READ | Human Rights Day: After 29 years education access is better – but the quality not so much

The City has already undertaken repairs and maintenance work on the old historic Pass Office building, as well as at the Langa Memorial Site.

The City was also completing a study on the potential conversion of the old Single Men's Quarters into a multi-purpose space, said Hill-Lewis.

"This is a major project with forthcoming community consultations on the best uses for this site," said Hill-Lewis.

"I want to be very clear that we want to involve the Langa community in decisions by the City on future projects, including elements of our centenary celebration plans for Langa. So, over the next three months we will conduct a public participation process to ensure the needs and wishes of residents are taken into consideration," added Hill-Lewis.

The City is also planning a series of community events to mark Langa's centenary, including a sports festival and a three-day open-air festival. These plans are intended to complement community initiatives to commemorate the anniversary.

"This year, we celebrate 100 years of Langa, of people's stories, history, culture and heritage. Langa has been a crucial part of Cape Town's fabric for a full century, and I have no doubt that the next 100 years will deliver an even more impressive list of achievements and contributions from this community," said Hill-Lewis.

"As the City, we want to ensure that Langa is primed to make the most of its business and tourism opportunities to enable more jobs and opportunities for more people."

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