Plea for protection of historic sites

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pretoria - National Heritage Council CEO Sonwabile Mancotywa has called on community members to desist from vandalising sites of historic significance.

Speaking at a memorial of six South Africans who were killed in Lesotho between 1982 and 1986, Mancotywa noted that many sites with historical significance have been vandalised.

"Fifty years from now, these sites of significance must remain intact through active protection by government and communities," Mancotywa said.

The lives of six fallen heroes Mzwanele Fazzie, Lepota Marai, Sipho Notana, Mzukisi Skweyiya, Cassius Barnabas and Boniswa Ncukana were remembered during a public mass memorial service held on Monday at Sisa Dukashe Stadium in the Eastern Cape during the commemoration of Human Rights Day.

Their remains were repatriated from Lesotho earlier this month and will be reburied in their respective hometowns.

Mancotywa said the event was to commemorate the lives that were lost in search of human rights in South Africa and celebrate the rights of democracy that the country is now enjoying.

"It was because of their affiliation to the broad liberation front that they perished. They envisaged a future free from racism, oppression, repression and economic exploitation ... Today, their vision of a liberated South Africa has been achieved with all the attendant challenges of transforming a complex political and economic system," Mancotywa said. 

He also stressed the importance of acknowledging the role played by democracy in making the memorial service possible.

"The memorial service is a symbolic reminder to South Africans that the scars of the past human rights violation are still haunting communities in the country. It is also a reminder that we should respect the challenges of modern society and human rights.

"As the NHC, we strive to accord respect and affirmation to freedom fighters that died in the liberation struggle. Many individuals from the East London, Mdantsane and King Williamstown areas played a meaning full role culminating in this memorial service, this distinct space of South Africa that gave us these gallant fighters," said Mancotywa.