SA's liberation heritage in the spotlight
10 September 2012
South Africa's Heritage Month celebrations will focus this year on the role of the country's rich and diverse liberation heritage in fostering social cohesion, economic development and inclusive citizenship.
The month will also be dedicated to honouring those who dedicated their lives to ensuring that the country achieved freedom and democracy, Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile said on Monday.
"Our liberation heritage was forged in the theatre of struggle that shaped the new South Africa, and can be used to contribute to the revival of social and political consciousness across the country," Mashatile said in a statement.
"We call upon all South Africans ... to promote a national identity that is self-conscious of its liberation heritage, which will in turn serve to promote unity in diversity among all sectors of South African society."
Liberation Heritage Route
Late last year, the Department of Arts and Culture began working on the National Liberation Heritage Route project, an ambitious, infrastructure-intensive heritage programme aimed at boosting tourism and creating jobs while honouring the country's liberation struggle heroes and heroines.
Reporting on the progress of the various Route projects on Monday, the department said the Steven Bantu Biko memorial and heritage centre, located at Ginsberg outside King Williams' Town in the Eastern Cape, where the Black Consciousness pioneer was born in 1946, had been completed and would be unveiled in October.
The centre, which includes a museum, library, training rooms and cultural performance and retail spaces, will also create economic opportunities for the local community.
Also in the Eastern Cape, work has begun on a new statue, garden of remembrance, interpretative centre, and youth leadership and innovation school at the former home of Oliver Tambo.
A monument will also be constructed on Inquza Hill, where the 1960 Pondoland revolt and massacre of 11 Pondo tribesmen by police took place.
In KwaZulu-Natal, phase two of the Ncome Museum, which tells the story of the 1838 Battle of Blood River from an African perspective, will be unveiled in November, including a multi-purpose conference venue, library, workroom, curio shop and reconciliation bridge.
Also in KwaZulu-Natal, the department is busy developing the JL Dube Legacy Project, following a ceremony in February to mark the restoration of John Dube's grave site and the unveiling of a Dube statue at the launch of the Dube Tradeport at King Shaka International Airport in March.
The development of the Dube grave site will include the construction of an interpretative centre and a Tower of Hope.
Further afield, a Matola Raid memorial, museum and interpretation centre currently under construction in Matola in neighbouring Mozambique, where liberation activists were massacred in a 1981 raid by the South African Air Force, is due to be officially opened in February 2013.
SANews.gov.za, with additional reporting by SAinfo