Last January I visited the Long March to Freedom National Heritage Monument in Fountains Valley, Pretoria. I was enchanted by this glorious phalanx of 100 bronze South African freedom fighters, all marching in the same direction.
But the Long March to Freedom was hidden in Fountains Valley. No one would ever come upon it without actively looking.
A year later, the monument has moved to a much better location at Maropeng in the Cradle of Humankind. Maropeng is one of Gauteng province’s top tourist attractions, and the Long March to Freedom is prominently placed right at the entrance. Now thousands of people will get to see the monument every month, which is exactly the attention it deserves.
I took a trip out to Maropeng a couple of weeks ago. Not all the sculptures had been moved yet, but there were enough. The army of heroes marched across the open grassland, on this site where humankind was born, in their quest for freedom.
The Long March to Freedom Art Walk
Maropeng is about an hour north of central Joburg and I encourage everyone to get out there ASAP to see the Long March to Freedom. (Right now the sculptures are scheduled to stay there for six months but hopefully that period will be extended.) In the meantime, I’m organizing a little Long March to Freedom art walk in Joburg.
On Friday, 8 February, I’m organizing a visit to Nkhensani’s studio at 10:00 a.m. Nkhensani will talk a bit about his art and his participation in the Long March to Freedom project. Then we’ll take a five-minute walk to the Workhorse Bronze Foundry, where many of the Long March to Freedom sculptures were cast.
I visited the Foundry briefly a couple of years ago. It’s a beautiful place to take photos and learn about the bronze casting process.
(Sorry this walk has to be on a weekday — I know it’s not convenient for the nine-to-fivers among you. But the Foundry is closed on weekends.)
The art walk will be limited to 15 participants. To sign up, please send a message through my Contact Me page. (No social media comments or direct messages, please.) I’ll take the first 15 responders.
Also, there will be a contest for the best Instagram photo of the day and the winner gets an Instax mini 9 camera.