Restoration honour for Winnie

The National Heritage Council (NHC) is planning to restore two properties in the Eastern Cape in honour of liberation icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Two sites have been identified, the first being the Embongweni heritage site at Madikizela-Mandela’s homestead in Mbongweni Village in Mbizana, and the Ludeke Methodist Church where she and ex-husband Nelson Mandela tied the knot in 1958.

NHC chief executive Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa said the purpose of their visit was to assess the state of the properties with a view to restoring them.

“This project will not only uplift the icon but also the community of Mbizana in its cultural tourism and economic development,” Mancotywa said.

For the assessment, the NHC was accompanied by a delegation that included the South African Heritage Resource Agency, Eastern Cape Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Mbizana local municipality, OR Tambo district municipality and the National Lotteries Commission.

The NHC believes it is important that the country’s liberation heritage be documented while stalwarts such Madikizela-Mandela are still alive, so that the history is as authentic and personal as possible.

“Mama Winnie is extremely concerned about the state of conservation of places that contain the history of OR Tambo and herself as well as other historic liberation events such as the Ngquza Rebellion,” Mancotywa said.

He said the church in Ludeke Holt was not fit for occupation but could be restored to be a prime heritage site.

“The homestead in Mbongweni where Mama Winnie was born has a great potential of hosting her legacy and all possibilities of grading it as a heritage site will also be investigated,” he said.

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