Plans for new Langa Massacre memorial

Two schoolboys read the inscription on the Langa Massacre Memorial site ahead of the 30th anniversary commemorations. Picture by: Fredlin Adriaan
Two schoolboys read the inscription on the Langa Massacre Memorial site ahead of the 30th anniversary commemorations. Picture by: Fredlin Adriaan

Uitenhage to hold 30th anniversary commemorations

WITH the milestone 30th anniversary of the Uitenhage Langa Massacre commemorations approaching, the Uitenhage Massacre Foundation has announced plans for the erection of a new R89-million memorial building incorporating an amphitheatre, a conference room and a heroes’ wall.

The R6.8-million heroes monument in Maduna Road is now just a shadow of its former self with the dilapidated multi-million rand Heritage Park having been vandalised numerous times.

There is no fencing, windows are broken and the toilets are no longer in good working condition.

Uitenhage Massacre Foundation chairman Nicholas Malgas said to lend the monument the dignity, recognition and respect deserving of the Langa victims and survivors, along with Langa memorial beneficiaries and the entire community of Uitenhage, the monument had to be replaced.

“We need R89-million from the government to build a precinct with an amphitheatre, conference room and heroes’ wall, and also to conduct the reburials.”

Malgas said government should also provide land identified by the Uitenhage Massacre Foundation for a sustainable project for the victims and beneficiaries to end the years of problems the affected families had endured.

To stop the vandalism, Malgas said there should be 24-hour security every day as had been in place previously.

He said a “liberation route” should be put in place that would also acknowledge other historical icons in Uitenhage, namely Enoch Sontonga and Zola Nqini, statues of whom will be erected at the Drostdy and Market Square respectively.

The Langa Massacre occurred on March 21 1985. At least 21 people died and many were wounded when police fired on mourners marching to a funeral.

On March 18, 200 pupils from around Uitenhage will gather at the Allanridge Hall in KwaLanga for commemorations while there will also be a library week launched at Market Square.

The following day there will be a gala dinner at the VW Pavilion where business people will contribute to create a bursary scheme for survivors and beneficiaries.

On March 20 there will be a memorial lecture at Babs Madlakane Hall with Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa as the keynote speaker.

On March 21 there will be commemorations at KwaNobuhle cemeteries, the Langa Memorial site and ultimately at the Rosedale sports ground where President Jacob Zuma will be the keynote speaker.

On March 22 there will be a 30km run from Uitenhage to Despatch and back.

EP Rugby along with Safa-NMB will also hold sports events at the Rosedale sports ground.

-Yoliswa Sobuwa

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