It is important that the youth of South Africa know that the fruits of freedom did not come easy. A that a hefty price had to be paid by those who fought against the liberation struggle. It is for this reason that National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHC) partnered with the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) in educating the youth about our liberation heritage to encourage understanding, nation building, economic development and inclusive citizenship.
On 3 April, the NHC in partnership with the NYDA, announced that the Mamelodi homestead of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu is graded category one after inspection by the NHC’s sister organisation – South African Heritage Resource Agency (SAHRA). The category one grading of Kalushi homestead means that the site is intended to be declared as a National Heritage Site. This is in accordance with the National Heritage Resources Act of 1999. It is now a protected space of heritage significance. From this point onwards, work on the property will be done and a 60 days consultation processes will follow.
“We must use liberation heritage to encourage understanding, nation building, economic development and inclusive citizenship. Resistance and Liberation Heritage reminds future generations not to repeat the mistakes of the past and to strive for a better Africa and a better world” said Adv. Sonwabile Mancotywa CEO of the NHC.
The Department of Correctional Services granted access to the Mahlangu family, Department of Arts and Culture, NYDA and the NHC to the currently under construction gallows of Kgoši Mampuru prison. The NHC and the NYDA dedicated the 05 April, the day before the 40th commemoration of the hanging of Kalushi, by walking the 52 steps that the young lion took just before he was hanged on 06 April 1976. Beneficiaries of the Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu Scholarship Fund were joined by the NHC Council, staff members and members of the media. The tour continued to the Freedom Park heritage site and museum.
On a door that leads to the entrance of the gallows these are the words of Mahlangu, “My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom. Tell my people I love them. They must continue to fight.”
“As the NYDA, we are pleased with the strides made thus far with the NHC, and we believe that we would have realised Solomon’s dream of developing the community of Mamelodi and improving the lives of the youth through his liberation heritage,” said Sifiso Mtshweni, Chairperson of the NYDA.
The day was sealed with a gala dinner where the fifth anniversary of the Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu Scholarship Fund was celebrated in honour of Solomon at the Freedom Park.
“We are pleased with NYDA’s efforts in preserving Kalushi’s legacy through the fund and reminding the youth of this country that the freedom we are all enjoying today was not born with ease” added Mancotywa.
The NHC has realised that the history of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu is not well documented for preservation and public consumption. Through the Resistance & Liberation Heritage Route Programme, the NHC will augment the efforts to rewrite the history of Mahlangu so that it is preserved for future leaders of this continent.