On 9 March 2017, the Ludeke Church near Mbizana in the Eastern Cape Province was the focal point of the site assessments that were conducted by the National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHC) and South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) accompanied by the Mbizana Local Municipality.
The purpose of the visit to mainly the two sites; Mbongweni, where the First Lady of the democratic South Africa, Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was born and Ludeke Church where she tied the knot with the late President Nelson Mandela, was to assess the state of the properties with a view to restore them as heritage sites.
“This legacy project will not only uplift the icon but also the community of Mbizana in its cultural tourism and economic development”, says Adv. Mancotywa. “Mama Winnie is extremely concerned about the state of conservation of places that contain the history of O R Tambo and herself as well as other historic liberation events such as the Ngquza Rebellion”, added Mancotywa.
The NHC further added that it’s important that the country’s liberation heritage be documented whilst stalwarts such her are still alive, so that the history is as authentic and personal as possible. The church was found in a state that is not fit for occupation but can be restored to be a prime heritage site. The Madikizela 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. The implementation of the structure programme is expected to be revealed in August 2017.
A technical team to work on the project has been established and will comprise of the Mbizana Local Municipality, Alfred Nzo District Municipality, NHC and SAHRA. The delegation will bring in more relevant stakeholders that will contribute to the infrastructure and development of the surroundings of these sites.