The South African National Heritage Council (NHC) identified the development and management of the legacy of the liberation struggle as an important aspect of heritage preservation in the country, and initiated the Liberation Heritage Route (LHR) project as one of the initiatives in this regard.
This was in consequence of the adoption of Resolution 33C/29 by the Commission for Culture (Commission IV) of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) at the 33rd General Conference in October 2005. Liberation struggle heritage was thereby recognised as being of universal value and significance. This resolution was premised on:
- recognizing African liberation heritage as a common heritage of shared global values (human rights, freedom, democracy, etc.);
- promoting dialogue amongst nations and cultures;
- developing and promoting a culture of peace;
- contributing to the memory of the world; and
- generating data and databases that raise awareness on the African liberation heritage.
The Liberation Heritage Route, according to Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa of the NHC: “…will be an embodiment of our collective experiences, our ideals, values and principles which unified a people who were subjected to national oppression through a repressive system. We seek to honour the freedom fighters that swelled the ranks of the liberation movement, the progressive movement, the clandestine structures, the guerrilla (military) formations [and] those who carried high the banner through unprecedented international solidarity.”
It is about the recognition of people, communities, events, places, icons, and recording of epoch-making stories which had a significant impact on the South African struggle for liberation…
This includes identifying and recording the life histories of the large number of unsung heroes and heroines of the struggle. The identification of these heroes and heroines, as well as the recording and preservation of their life histories are significant for a number of reasons, including:
- honoring the contribution, they made
- the contribution their life stories can make to the memory of the world;
- the additional data arising from their life stories that adds to the narrative of the liberation struggle; and
- the creation of a new database that raises awareness on the African liberation heritage.
This project seeks to identify and develop precincts on the sites of historical and heritage significance. The LHR reflects the supreme sacrifice for the freedom of South Africa.
It is about the recognition of people, communities, events, places, icons, and recording of epoch-making stories which had a significant impact on the South African struggle for liberation, with special interest being paid to those who at some point or another resided or passed through the Joe Gqabi Region on their way to exile.
Location: Joe Gqabi District, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Nearest Towns/Cities: Aliwal North, Sterkspruit, Mt Fletcher
Project Stage: Project Investigation / Start of Project
Documents available: Concept Document, Terms of Reference
Government Support: ZAR500 000
Type of Private Sector involvement required: Public-Private-Partnership (PPP), Service Providers, Advisors
Investment required: ZAR1000 000.00
Next Steps: The next step is the procurement of a service provider to curate the programme.
A drive needs to be launched so as to introduce the project to the communities of Joe Gqabi, via town to town meetings. The agency will appoint a lead researcher and local facilitators for each local municipality, these are the people who will collect the stories and identify the sites with the help of the communities of the local municipality.
Research and investigation of all identified sites, which ones are going to be included in the final route to be established – methodology for prioritisation to be adopted, based on significance.
It is at this stage that the final product will be packaged at can be one, or all, of the following:
- A book
- A documentary
- The erection of Memorial Sites
Ultimately all three Local Municipalities will have their own Liberation Route; these will be tied in as much as possible with tourism-related actives e.g.: Horse Riding, Mountain Climbing, etc.
Primary Drivers and Investment Proposition
The importance of the liberation heritage route is not only for historic purposes, but also in crafting a national identity that is informed by the experiences of participants in the epic journey that led South Africa to where it is as a nation.
- To honour and commemorate the life and death of heroes identified through the project.
- To use the Liberation Heritage sites to showcase the rich history of the region.
- To reflect the rich cultural diversity in the district.
- To open opportunities for budding heritage and tourism practitioners to reach new heights.
- To put Joe Gqabi District on the heritage map to promote tourism.
- To break down racial divide by involving all racial groups in this project.
- To conduct proper research on the heroes and heroines of the struggle in the Joe Gqabi region.
- To present the final Liberation Heritage Route booklet.
Contact Joe Gqabi Economic Development Agency (JoGEDA)
Interested parties are encouraged to contact the agency with a brief introduction and reference Liberation Heritage Routes.