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Residents urged not to forget sacrifice for liberation

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The Northern Cape MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture, Desery Fienies, has called on residents of the Province to honour and preserve the memory of those who sacrificed their lives for the freedom that people enjoy today.

MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture, Desery Fienies. Picture: Supplied

THE NORTHERN Cape MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture, Desery Fienies, has called on residents of the Province to honour and not forget the sacrifices of the individuals who paid with their lives for the liberation people enjoy today.

Fienies was addressing attendees at the commemoration of the Mayibuye Uprising at Abantu Hall in Galeshewe on Tuesday.

She said there are many untold stories about the fallen heroes of the country.

“The story of the struggle for freedom in South Africa is rich and varied. Many stories about our struggle have been told. However, even more accounts about the bravery of our gallant fighters still remain untold,” said Fienies.

“The story of the Mayibuye Uprising is one such untold story. In 1952, black South Africans, slaves in the land of their birth, rose up to peacefully throw off their shackles, with fatal results. The Mayibuye Uprising occurred not as an isolated event, but as a result of the culmination of oppressive activities against the African people of South Africa, through the legislated encroachment upon the property rights and citizenship of Africans by the colonial or Union authorities.

“The Mayibuye Uprising was part of the national defiance campaign of black Africans suffering under the hands of the then apartheid government. Doctor Arthur Letele organised a group of volunteers to defy the segregation laws by sitting on the ‘Europeans only’ benches at the Kimberley Station. They were arrested and fined or faced 10 days’ imprisonment. They all opted for the latter. This defiance led to a massacre that took place in Galeshewe years before the Sharpeville massacre.”

Fienies said the people of the Province are indebted to those who bravely laid down their lives during the struggle for liberation.

“One of the ways we will be paying our debt is by ensuring that we fulfil our role in the implementation of the Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route. This is a national memory project aimed at commemorating, celebrating, educating, promoting, preserving, conserving and providing a durable testament of South Africa’s road to independence.

“The project will start with the completion of the Mayibuye Uprising feasibility study and thereafter the implementation of the approved study. It will draw on heritage as testimony and depiction of South Africa’s journey from the first contact with colonists to the attainment of democracy through a series of connected multi-dimensional sites at the local, provincial, national and international level. This project is also an indication to reaffirm the significance of liberation heritage as part of the cultural heritage of South Africa.”

Fienies urged Northern Cape residents and the provincial government to promote the history of the Province.

“The people of the Northern Cape are called into action 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.

“The Galeshewe Heritage Precinct is littered with a rich history of the liberation struggle that the people of Galeshewe and the Province can be proud of. This is an area that was a central point of political activity during the 1940s up until 1980s. It is an area which we dare not forget if we want to pay tribute to the heroes and heroines who fought for our freedom, which we enjoy today,” Fienies concluded.

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