Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

As the world commemorated the 10th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s death, attention turned to other key figures like Robert Sobukwe, Philip Kgosana, and the historic Langa township in South Africa’s freedom struggle. Established in 1923, Langa is one of the oldest planned black townships, named after Chief Langalibalele, banished to Robben Island in 1873 for resisting the Natal government.

On the 60th anniversary of Mandela and Sobukwe’s incarceration on Robben Island, the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) and the Langa Centenary Team organized a media walkabout to explore these heritage areas in Langa. Led by local leaders and historians, the tour visited significant sites, including Langalibalele Road, Old Flats, and the Art Centre, each holding a rich history of struggle and resilience.

Born during an era of segregation, Langa emerged from the Urban Areas Act, isolating the Black African community from Cape Town. Initially a labor reservoir, Langa now symbolizes resilience and community spirit, standing strong against oppressive policies for a century.

Nomthuzi Jacobs, founder of the Guga S’thebe Theatre in Langa, highlighted the historical significance of the area, especially Bhunga Avenue, where Sobukwe engaged with laborers. Guga S’thebe, a cultural hub, celebrates black artistic talent and serves as a heritage center.

The walkabout also visited the old pass law office and the Old Flats, where pivotal discussions occurred. Chief Eric Galada, a traditional leader, recounted historical events, including the fiery 1960 pass law march. The flat, where Sobukwe, Kgosana, and Mandela met in secret, reflects cramped conditions and the bravery of those challenging apartheid.

As Langa reaches its centenary, the walkabout serves as a unique opportunity to document its living history, reflecting on progress and challenges. The legacy of Mandela, Sobukwe, and the Langa community inspires future generations to pursue justice, equality, and unity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *