Upgraded Egerton memorial to be unveiled

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pretoria - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will unveil the upgraded Egerton Bus Boycott Massacre Memorial Site in Mdantsane,  as part of national Heritage Day celebrations, tomorrow.

In South Africa, Heritage Day is celebrated on September 24 and this year’s national Heritage Day will be celebrated in Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape, under the theme ‘Reclaiming, Restoring and Celebrating our Living Heritage’.

In 1983, Mdantsane and East London communities embarked on a boycott to protest an unannounced five cent increase in bus fares. The boycott against the bus service started in July 1983 and culminated in what was later called the Egerton massacre on August 4, which claimed 11 lives, with a further 36 commuters injured.

The massacre took place at Egerton Railway Station outside Mdantsane, when Ciskei homeland government police officials, known as the green berets, shot and beat residents.

The residents later abandoned buses for taxis and trains as their preferred day-to-day mode of transport to ferry them between their Mdantsane homes and workplaces in East London.

A commemoration of the massacre is to be held on tomorrow. The two-month project to upgrade the original memorial was an initiative between Buffalo City, the Office of the Premier and the provincial Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture.

Motlanthe, who will deliver a keynote address at the main event, will later lay a wreath to pay respect to the victims of the fateful massacre of 1983 after unveiling the upgraded massacre memorial site.

Tomorrow, all South Africans will celebrate their rich cultural heritage with the view to pride themselves as a rainbow nation. - SAnews.gov.za


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