Today, Acting Premier Sihle Zikalala will preside over activities aimed at celebrating the life of Dorothy Nomzansi Nyembe. A wreath-laying ceremony will take place at her grave in Wentworth Cemetery followed by the unveiling of her statue in Umlazi E-Section, with Zikalala wrapping up this historic day with a keynote address in honour of this pathfinder of our freedom.
We want to thank the family for working with the provincial government and the ruling party (which Mama Dorothy belonged to) to make this day possible.
Importantly, we know that planning for this day has not been easy. As family members had to reach into the depth of their memories and tell stories that lie buried in their minds about the pain that uMama Dorothy Nyembe experienced.
Mam Nyembe spent more than 15 years in prison and was constantly harassed and tortured by the apartheid regime for her activities linked to the fight for freedom and democracy.
A pertinent question needs to be asked: how did we manage to allow for memories of such deep pain and trauma to be so quickly erased from memories of people who have endured suffering for so many centuries? How safe is the future of our freedom and democracy if contributions and sacrifices of its heroes are allowed to evaporate off the face of our public discourse?
The message to be delivered by the Zikalala is loud a clear. Government will continue to honour those who sacrificed their lives for this freedom. We will not be deterred by some people in certain quarters who are quick to criticize our efforts.
Statues like that of Mama Dorothy Nyembe, monuments and museums are constructed to preserve and restore our history, especially those of heroes and heroines who have been largely neglected by past government who feared the inspirational value of such statues and memorials for the oppressed communities.
Undermining our history will be in a way the continuation of the denial of the dignity of indigenous people and trampling on the pride, heritage and symbols that define the indigenous people. It is this pride and heritage that is being restored and preserved for future generations.
There are many authors, political analysts and historians who have chronicled the life of this Mother of the Nation. Their accounts of Mama’s life evokes both emotions and a deep sense of gratitude for it is through her dedication that we attained freedom in 1994.
Issued by the Office of the Premier
Ndabezinhle Sibiya: Spokesperson for the Premier
082 375 4742