History and heritage

South Africa pays tribute to historic heroes

16 September 2015

The National Heritage Monument, made up of life-sized bronze statues of precolonial, colonial and anti-apartheid struggle heroes and heroines, at the Groenkloof Nature Reserve in Pretoria, was unveiled on 15 September.

There are already more than 50 statues at the monument, but it will eventually house 400. Known as the Long Walk to Freedom, it reflects the country's journey from the precolonial era to the early wars of dispossession, as well as encompassing the entire liberation struggle.

Some of the statues already erected include the likes of Walter and Albertina Sisulu, Yusuf Dadoo, Charlotte Maxeke, Solomon Tshekiso Plaatje, Alexander Simons, and King Mzilikazi Khumalo.

Walter and Albertina SisuluCast in bronze, struggle icons Walter and Albertina Sisulu will forever hold hands at the National Heritage Monument. (Image: Mayor of Tshwane, Facebook)

Oliver TamboA statue of Oliver Tambo, president of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1967 to 1991, is one of the first at the National Heritage Monument. (Image: Mayor of Tshwane, Facebook)

national heroesThe National Heritage Monument is made up of life-sized bronze statues of precolonial, colonial and anti-apartheid struggle heroes and heroines. (Image: Mayor of Tshwane, Facebook)

"It will be a complex chronicle of our long walk to freedom," said Gauteng Premier David Makhura. "It will tell the story that many men and women paid a supreme sacrifice to bring freedom in our land. It will tell the story that our freedom was not free."

A must see for tourists

"We want this to be a tourism attraction. We want it, in its completeness, to offer a number of things like hospitality and arts and crafts," Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said on SABC news.

"It's going to be a major tourist attraction but also an area where a nation would be able to reflect so that we are able to plan for our future," said Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Full history

Mthethwa said the South African story had been one-dimensional. This was being corrected through the heritage monument, which was giving a full picture of the country's history.

"We are writing our own story and it is important that we do that because we have to tell the world how we reached 27 April 1994," Mthethwa said. It was also important to know our history, whether it was good or bad.


Following the theft of two statues, Ramokgopa told the SABC a tracing chip would be placed in each statue, and they would be mounted more securely into the ground.

Source: SAnews.gov

heritage monument  south africa, history, heritage, groenkloof nature reserve, long walk to freedom, steve bikoA life-size bronze sculpture of the founder of the Black Consciousness movement, Steve Biko, is included in the National Heritage Monument, unveiled on 15 September 2015, in Pretoria. (Image: Mayor of Tshwane, Facebook)

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