Monuments to honour African activists on cards

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A monument in honour of activists who lost their lives during various stages of the fight for liberation in Africa could be built in the near future.

There are proposals that the monuments be situated in Tanzania, a country that was central in helping various liberation movements on the continent and became home to some of them.

This proposal could be part of the recommendation that come out of a bilateral meeting currently taking place between South Africa and Tanzania in Dodoma, the seat of the Tanzanian government.

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa is scheduled to arrive in Tanzania on Sunday ahead of a Ministerial Bilateral between himself and Ministers of Arts and Heritage in Tanzania. The bilateral meeting is aimed at discussing the status of the implementation of the Roads to Independence in Africa: The African Liberation Heritage Programme.

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) took a decision to appoint Tanzania to host the “Roads to Independence in Africa” project in collaboration with the African Union.

The project first focuses on Tanzania and the Southern African region, whose liberation movements were based in Tanzania. These countries are Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The South African chapter of the project, called the Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route, is a national memory project aimed at commemorating and celebrating South Africa’s road to independence. Cabinet established an Inter-Ministerial Committee to oversee this project and provide political leadership.

In Tanzania, the regional operation plan for the project covers a period of five years from 2017 to 2022.

During the meeting, scheduled for Monday in Dodoma, Minister Mthethwa and his Tanzanian counterparts are expected to discuss how each individual country has succeeded in putting in place structures for the implementation of the Roads to Independence project, which aims to document the history of the struggle for liberation on the continent.

Labour Department Director General Mziwonke Dlabantu, who is one the delegates at the meeting in Tanzania said the importance of projects like this cannot be overemphasised.

“As we are all free and got away from the times when we were oppressed. Many people, particularly the young ones forget where we come from. This project will play a significant role in telling the story of the road to liberation on the continent,” Dlabantu said.

Earlier on Sunday, Directors General from South Africa held a meeting with their Tanzanian counterparts to prepare issues that would form part of the ministerial bilateral between Minister Mthethwa and his Tanzanian counterparts.

The meeting between the Ministers is expected to endorse the proposals made by the DGs which include areas of cooperation between Tanzania and South Africa in heritage, culture and education.

The two countries would also assess their individual progress in implementing the Roads to Liberation in Africa national chapters for presentation to other SADC countries.

Tanzania played a very important role in the fight against apartheid in South Africa and many of South Africa’s activists were based in Tanzania. The first National Consultative Conference of the now governing party, the ANC, was held in Morogoro, Tanzania, from 25 April to 1 May 1969.

The country also opened itself as a base for many liberation movements, including the Pan African Congress, Mozambique’s FRELIMO and Angola’s People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA).

Tanzania was also a base for what was known as the African Liberation Committee, which was established by the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU). This structure was dissolved when South Africa gained it’s democracy in 1994. –



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