Winnie’s legacy in limbo

CityPress - - Front Page - LUBA­BALO NGCUKANA luba­balo.ngcukana@city­press.co.za

Two legacy projects in the East­ern Cape for strug­gle icon Winnie Madik­izela-Man­dela re­main in limbo – just like the pro­posed Brand­fort Mu­seum in Free State.

Last year City Press re­ported plans to build a mu­seum in her birth­place Mb­hong­weni vil­lage and to re­fur­bish the Ludeke Methodist Church where she and Nel­son Man­dela were mar­ried.

The two sites were iden­ti­fied by the Na­tional Her­itage Coun­cil (NHC) as key “as­sets” on the OR Tambo lib­er­a­tion route.

But this week there was still no clar­ity about when work would be­gin. The NHC says it has as­sessed and graded the sites but is still wait­ing for money from the depart­ment of arts and cul­ture.

In March last year NHC chief ex­ec­u­tive Son­wa­bile Man­co­tywa said the coun­cil planned to re­store the sites and launch them in Septem­ber 2017 to co­in­cide with Madik­izela-Man­dela’s birth­day cel­e­bra­tions. There were also dis­cus­sions with the Wal­ter Sisulu Uni­ver­sity to be­stow an hon­orary doc­tor­ate on Madik­izela-Man­dela for her work in the strug­gle and for be­ing the first qual­i­fied black so­cial worker.

But in Mb­hong­weni vil­lage only a small, empty ron­davel rep­re­sents what was sup­posed to be a her­itage site.

This week Man­co­tywa said in­fra­struc­ture was not the NHC’s man­date and it de­pended on fund­ing from the depart­ment. East­ern Cape arts and cul­ture spokesper­son Andile Nduna said there was no fund­ing for the projects at the mo­ment.

Man­co­tywa said R1.8 bil­lion was needed to re­store 400 lib­er­a­tion route her­itage sites across the coun­try which are in a state of dis­re­pair.

“We are ac­tu­ally look­ing now at the dead­line of Au­gust to en­sure that the dec­la­ra­tion process is fin­ished. We are on track to en­sure that those stages of as­sess­ment and site grad­ing and dec­la­ra­tion are fin­ished,” Man­co­tywa said.

He said if he were the East­ern Cape premier he would make this a pri­or­ity be­cause of the growth and de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­nity it poses.

“So I don’t un­der­stand, for in­stance, when a Free State mu­nic­i­pal­ity says it can’t do any­thing about Brand­fort, be­cause this is a strate­gic as­set of the prov­ince,” he said. Man­co­tywa said the NHC’s role was to “pre­serve her­itage au­then­tic­ity” and part of its plan in Mb­hong­weni was to build an in­ter­pre­ta­tion cen­tre and mu­seum. At the church in Ludeke a con­fer­ence cen­tre and wed­ding venue were planned.

“We hope these will stim­u­late the ru­ral econ­omy,” he said.

In his ad­dress at Madik­ize­la­Man­dela’s of­fi­cial pro­vin­cial me­mo­rial in Mbizana on Tues­day, her nephew, Them­bal­ani Madik­izela, said the fam­ily was anx­ious that these de­vel­op­ments would still take place af­ter her death.

Man­co­tywa said Madik­ize­la­Man­dela was go­ing to be hon­oured at a grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony at Wal­ter Sisulu Uni­ver­sity next month.

“I had al­ready dis­cussed that with her. I was meant to ac­com­pany her in May. She had al­ready ac­cepted. I hope the uni­ver­sity will still do that posthu­mously,” he said.

Wal­ter Sisulu Uni­ver­sity spokesper­son Yonelwa Tuk­wayo con­firmed this. “The shock­ing news comes just a month be­fore the uni­ver­sity grad­u­a­tion cer­e­monies when she was to be con­ferred an hon­orary doc­toral de­gree in so­cial sci­ence.

“The uni­ver­sity will con­fer the hon­orary so­cial sci­ence de­gree posthu­mously later in the year to al­low the fam­ily time to grieve,” she said.

HIS­TOR­I­CAL A small empty ron­davel serves as Madik­izela-Man­dela’s her­itage site

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