WELCOME Ekukhanyiselweni Christian School!!!

A group of students from Ekukhanyiselweni Christian School learning about the ancient art form of bronze sculptures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We received our first big school tour on Friday from the Ekukhanyiselweni Christian School in Tembisa, who were blown away by their unusual visit to this unique outdoor history class.

History teacher Daniel Joseph took his class to visit the Long March to Freedom as part of one of their history assignments. The 23 students were each given one of the almost 100 sculptures on site to research and spent a long time getting to know the sculptures and their role in South Africa’s history.

One of the students from Ekukhanyselweni Christian School studying information on struggle icon Walter Sisulu, who walk proudly next to wife Albertina Sisulu

The Long March was littered with learners sitting or standing next to info panels that gave a brief biography of the many liberation heroes of South Africa’s 350-year struggle to democracy.

Among the favourites were Shaka, King of the Zulus, Solomon Mahlangu, martyr from the 1976 Soweto Uprisings, and South Africa’s first democratically elected president Nelson Mandela.

With tour guides Alfred Mahapa and Tumo Bopape, the students walked through a procession of some of the country’s most inspiring icons in this unique heritage park.

History class will never be the same again for these young visitors…

All schools are welcome to visit the Long March to Freedom which is open from Mondays to Sundays. For more visitor information, visit our website. Get in touch for a guided school visit.

Site guide Reverend Alfred Mahapa giving his own history lesson

 

You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock!

Today we commemorate one of the most influential events in South Africa’s history. On 9 August 1956, 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the carrying of passes by women—which severely restricted the movement of women across the country—as well as a host of other repressive legislation.

The march was led by four extraordinary women: Lilian Ngoyi, President of the Federation of South African Women (FedSAW), Helen Joseph, a founding member of FedSAW, Rahima Moosa, organiser of the Congress of the People, and Sophia Williams De-Bruyn, founder member of the South African Congress of Trade Unions.

The four leaders united behind them thousands of women who descended on Pretoria from all over South Africa to present petitions against the carrying of passes by women to then prime minister, Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom . Strydom was not present at the Union Buildings to accept the petitions, which included approximately 100 000 signatures, so they were handed over to the prime minister’s secretary.

When the four women returned from the offices, they entered the Union Buildings amphitheatre where thousands of protesters were waiting under umbrellas to hear the outcome of the handover. In a show of strength and solidarity against the prime minister’s absense, the women stood in silence for 30 minutes and then sang the newly created freedom song Wathint’ abafazi, Strijdom!, which later became a powerful song and slogan that translates into You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock!

The 1956 march is noted as one of the largest and most influential demonstrations of the Apartheid era. Most women travelled through the night to take part in the march and many risked losing their jobs by joining it. Incidents of intimidation were reported on the day, with Apartheid police stopping trains and buses en route to the Union Buildings. Despite all attempts to silence the women, the turnout on the day far exceeded the expectations of the organisers.

African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) member Albertina Sisulu was one of the co-organisers of the march while Amina Cachalia, first treasurer of FedSAW, raised transport funds for the march through cake sales and other activities. Bertha Gxowa, another FedSAW founder member travelled with Helen Joseph in her small Volkswagen around the country in the weeks leading up to the march to collect the petitions that eventually would make it to the Union Buildings.

Although there were numerous popular women figures throughout the planning of this march, there were many others, including Annie Peters, Caroline Motsoaledi, Fatima Meer, Fatima Seedat, Florence Mophosho and Letitia Sibeko, who played a significant role. They were involved in the extensive planning of the demonstration and encouraged women from all walks of life to sign the petition and take time off to support the march.

The 9 August is an historic event that represents the courage and strength of South African women, and is an example of the power of unity across all racial backgrounds in a racist society. It depicts how women challenged the laws of the Apartheid state, and beyond that, challenged prevailing gender stereotypes that up until then judged women as a support act to the many causes being fought.

This Women’s Day, we honour three of the four leaders of the 1956 Women’s March: Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph and Rahima Moosa, all to be found in the #LongMarchtoFreedom.

The Long March to Freedom at Fountains Valley is open on all public holidays. Tour guides are on site from 11:00 to 16:00.

 

References

http://www.sahistory.org.za/dated-event/south-africa-celebrates-first-national-womens-day

http://www.cosatu.org.za/show.php?ID=7624

http://overcomingapartheid.msu.edu/multimedia.php?id=65-259-C

http://www.sahistory.org.za/topic/1956-womens-march-pretoria-9-august

https://mg.co.za/article/2016-08-25-60-iconic-women-the-people-behind-the-1956-womens-march-to-pretoria

The Young Patriots Induction Programme visit the Long March to Freedom procession

The Fountains Valley Resort was filled with excitement, singing and dancing on 25 July 2017 as the Department of Arts & Culture brought their Young Patriots Induction Programme to the Long March to Freedom in Fountains Valley and made it the first stop on their tour of Gauteng’s top heritage sites.

The Young Patriots Induction Programme is a new and inspirational initiative run by the Department of Arts & Culture. This programme welcomes youth from all provinces to work together to learn more about the country’s heritage by visiting various heritage sites in each province. And what better way to start this initiative than to visit one of the country’s newest and most exciting heritage sites?

As it was the first event of this programme the Department of Arts & Culture brought a group of three hundred people to visit two influential sites situated in Tshwane. They were the Long March to Freedom procession and Freedom Park, both within a few kilometres of one another. The procession currently hosts 100 bronze life-size figures representing generations of freedom fighters who were significant in South Africa’s struggle for democracy. Our passionate tour guides on site took visitors on a whirlwind tour of this fascinating and troubled history, beginning in the mid-1650s with the first chiefs and ending in 1994 at the dawn of democracy with Nelson Mandela, Oliver and Adelaide Tambo and Walter and Albertina Sisulu.

The young patriots were first welcomed to the Long March to Freedom by the National Heritage Monument (NHM) site guides Phuthego Shivambo, Tumo Bopape, Mario Costa Joao, Alfred Mahapa and Momo Tsatsi. These guides divided the crowd into four groups and gave them a tour of each sculpture. Although there are 100 figures it was evident which ones stood out for the visitors. NHM site manager Aya Gidi noticed how the young patriots were drawn to iconic figures such as Solomon Mahlangu, Chris Hani as well as Adelaide and Oliver Tambo. These figures were usually surrounded by vibrant songs and dancing youths who wanted to pay tribute to these powerful freedom fighters.

Although the tour only lasted two hours, the visit to the site was deemed a success as visitors were inspired to engage with South Africa’s history in a completely different and novel way. The visitors were not afraid to share their opinion and asked the site guides various questions about the history of South African politics and the liberation struggle. Others were deeply affected by the procession as it brought back memories and allowed them to share their stories and views of the liberation struggle.

The visit to The Long March to Freedom procession was a joyous event for The Young Patriots Induction Programme as well as the site guides. It was here that the guides were able to inform and inspire the youth to learn more about their heritage. Although it was the first stop in their heritage site visits, the Long March to Freedom tour was definitely an exciting experience for the youth as it encouraged them to appreciate heritage sites and also to honour those who risked their lives for a free and fair South Africa.

Some of the ambassadors of the Young Patriots Induction Programme posing with the statues, symbolically shaking hands as a sign of our reconciliation.

 

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350 Years in 3.5 Minutes

A breathtaking sweep of South Africa’s 350-year struggle history in 3.5 minutes, featuring bronze statues made for the National Heritage Monument, the world’s largest sculptural park and one of South Africa’s top tourist destinations.