Msunduzi News (English)

Gwala’s name and contributi­on shall live on

- By Anathi Mtaka

FRIDAY June 20 this year marked the 25th anniversar­y since the struggle stalwart, Mr Harry Gwala, departed from this earth. He would have turned 100 years old this month (July) if he had not died in 1995.

While he is no more, he lives on in uMgungundl­ovu, in Msunduzi where the City’s pride, the Harry Gwala Stadium bears his name. The soccer field known all over the country with even matches of the ABSA Premiershi­p having been hosted there on numerous occasions.

As one moves deeper into the Midlands there is also a Harry Gwala District which is home to the family of local municipali­ties including Creighton’s Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, uBuhlebezw­e in Ixopo, uMzimkhulu as well as the Greater Kokstad.

But that is not where ends as the MEC for Health, Mrs Nomagungu Simelane-Zulu, recently announced that one of the most renowned health facilities in KwaZuluNat­al, the Edendale Hospital, will soon be renamed to also carry the name of the Lion of the Midlands. The renaming of the hospital is the decision of the provincial government to honour the struggle hero popularly known as Mdala. This is a fitting tribute to Gwala who also worked at the Edendale Hospital.

MEC Simelane-Zulu made the announceme­nt when she presented the

KZN Department of Health’s budget vote recently.

“In honouring the legacy of Mdala, we have made a decision to rename Edendale Hospital after him. This is informed by the fact that that this hospital has its own rich history in the struggle for liberation.

“We have engaged the Gwala family in this regard and they have agreed to lend us the name of this struggle icon”.

She said the department has already started engagement­s with uMgungundl­ovu District and Msunduzi on the matter. “We will be continuing with these talks, as times allows us. In line with this decision, the department has also decided to revamp the hospital, while also working to improve staff attitudes and overall client experience in order to ensure that this facility is a reflection of the true statue of the man,” said Simelane-Zulu.

Mrs Lindiwe Gwala-Gwambi, who is the daughter of Harry Gwala, said her family is honoured that her father’s legacy will continue to live on.

She said her father was not only being honoured because he was a struggle hero but also because of his involvemen­t in the recruiting of doctors and other hospital staff to join the ruling party during its days as a liberation movement. “My father worked at the hospital as a clerk but he was dismissed because of his activism as he was recruiting other employees to join the party. We believe that that the hospital really deserves to be named after him,” said GwalaGwamb­i. She added that the process of renaming the hospital after Mdala started a long time ago and as a family they are happy to see that the plans are inching closer to finality.

“The process started when Dr Sibongisen­i Dhlomo was still the KZN MEC for Health but there were some challenges along the way so the plans had to be put on hold.”

Meanwhile the MEC for Education in Gauteng Mr Panyanza Lesufi, urged people to follow the lessons and wisdom imparted by Harry Gwala. He said this during his visit to Dambuza where the Harry Gwala Foundation, which he leads, donated groceries to 150 needy families. This was part of the organisati­on’s planned activities in the lead up commemorat­ion the Harry Gwala centenary as he would have celebrated his 100th birthday on July 30.

He said Harry Gwala’s name will always live on because of the role that he played in this country’s liberation.

“His wisdom and sharp mind is needed right now to give us guidance,” said Lesufi.

Mrs Ntombi Mthembu of the Harry Gwala Foundation said the donation of groceries was one of the activities the organisati­on is planning to get people to unite and make a difference. She said Dambuza was the third area they visited as they had also been to Soweto and Tshwane.

“We hope that through this we can help change the lives of people in the name of Harry Gwala,” she said.

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