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Graves of fallen heroes revamped

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The commemoration also saw the launch of the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe exhibition in the building that used to be his office during the apartheid era

THE GRAVES of the 13 fallen heroes who died during a protest against unjust apartheid laws in Galeshewe in 1952 were revamped in commemoration of the 67th anniversary of the Mayibuye Uprising on the weekend.

The Northern Cape Department of Sport, Arts and Culture also hosted a wreath laying ceremony at the Abantu-Batho Hall on Friday after Premier Zamani Saul delivered the keynote address.

Saul was flanked by the MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture, Bernice Sinxeve, and other members of the provincial cabinet, members of the ANC Veterans League, Sol Plaatje executive mayor Patric Mabilo and some of the family members of the victims.

Saul highlighted that the ceremony, including the revamping of the graves, was a way to ensure that the dignity of the fallen heroes, who contributed immensely towards the freedom and liberation of the country, is preserved.

He elaborated on how the Mayibuye Uprising, which took place at the Number Two Location in Galeshewe, was the culmination of a defiance campaign which started in 1952 to protest against unjust laws used by the apartheid regime to oppress black people in South Africa.

“On the November 7, 1952, protesters led by Dr Arthur Alias Letele demonstrated against apartheid laws by occupying racially segregated public spaces in Kimberley. They blocked whites-only entrances to the main post office and defiantly sat on whites-only benches at the railway station,” said Saul.

“The arrest of Dr Letele and seven other leaders is what fuelled further resentment and led to uprisings in Galeshewe where both public and private properties were destroyed.

“When the protesters were marching towards town, they were stopped by the police who indiscriminately and randomly opened fire on them. Thirteen people were killed and seven injured.”

The commemoration also saw the launch of the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe exhibition in the building that used to be his office during the apartheid era.

Sobukwe was a lawyer and used the building, situated in the same yard of the Mayibuye precinct, as his law firm.

The building, which has also been revamped by the provincial government several times, has been burgled and vandalised on a number of occasions.

The building has been divided into two rooms and part of the office, which has been fully stocked with historical books and information, will now serve as a community library.

Full-time personnel, employed by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, are expected to be stationed at the building to prevent further vandalism.